AsiaJapanKyoto

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto Travel Blog

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Shinkansen

We woke up not too early and packed our bags for our trip to Kyoto, which we had high hopes for as it is always highly recommended. It was a hot day which is never good for moving around, as the giant bags on our backs hardly makes things any cooler. After much perspiration and effort we got to the station and used our rail passes to purchase our tickets. I do not think it is possible to get tired of using bullet trains, whether it is the speed or comfort or the amazing scenery of Japan as you fly by, it was never a chore.

We arrived in Kyoto around two hours later which is pretty much the total of any Shinkansen journey, from the window it seemed quite pleasant, noticing a large pagoda on the way in.

We got off and used a local  (Japanese characters) map to get our bearings, we had directions written down and plenty of enthusiasm but it didn’t take long before we ended up asking at the tourist information for directions.

The lady was extremely helpful but apparently eager to practice her English and after the 43rd time she explained how to get there we finally broke free and were on our way. We spotted an amazing looking cakery which I will present a picture of right…. NOW.

It was only about a fifteen minute walk and only required two changes of direction we arrived near our hostel which was conveniently right outside the pagoda we spotted earlier. The hostel was awkwardly located in a tiny alley just off the main street. From the outside it did not look to be any bigger than a doorway.

We entered through a small sliding door into the worlds smallest foyer, it consisted of a room about 3m by 3m split in two by a coffee table which the sleeping receptionist was squeezed into. After he awoke he checked us in and showed us to our dorm which was the neighbouring door. Thankfully the room was much larger than the entrace but unfortunately just as concentrated, it had four bunk beds one sink and a toilet the size of a garbage can, except the garbage can probably smelt better. Nevertheless we were temporarily home.

After settling in, kind of, we decided to go out and get some traditional Japanese food and find our way in to the main part of town. We headed for the subway eager to give it our first go, first though was food. True to ourselves and consistent as ever we stopped off in McDonalds.

Toji Temple
With bellies full we ventured out again and found the subway, at the ticket machine I learnt technology did not have to be very advanced to baffle me. Having no idea how to purchase a ticket while being presented with a machine from the 1970’s we simply selected the expensive ticket assuming it would take us to our stop. We got on the train and headed to our interchange stop, we got off went through the ticket barrier where we did not get our ticket back. We thought that you pay for a single journey to the point where you change then pay again but we’d actually just missed the interchange station. Many stops too early and far too frugal to buy another ticket we got out of the subway and decided to walk it. We were in the business section of Kyoto which was incredibly modern and incredibly monotonous.
Gion
About ten blocks later seeing the same buildings repeat themselves over and over we checked our location on the map, rather dimly we had not ventured very far but not perturbed by this we trooped on to find ourselves at the Imperial Palace, which was mostly a large gravelled area used mainly for walking pets. We looked at the palace and were mildly impressed before heading back to find something else to look at. We did find a nice little pond/garden area on the way out with a sleeping cat on it. After twenty minutes of Lexi petting it and taking photos of fish and terapins we headed on.

We ended up in the older district of Kyoto, (known as Gion, the geisha district) at a temple. By this time it was getting dark and the temple lanterns were all beginning to light up which was amazing.

Just one example of the AMAZING cakes found in Japan
We looked around as the temple bells chimed. It was all very magestic and Japanesey. It was dark by the time we left and too tired from all the walking we caught the local bus home which stopped right near our Hostel. Buses are cheap and easy to use as they announce each approaching bus stop; no more subway for us!

We discovered once we were home that the hostel has no bathroom for showering and we would have to use a local sento (Japanese public bath house). It was not fun to find out you were paying £15 per person per night to sleep in a dorm with no air conditioning, internet or shower. Their consolation prize was a discount coupon… for the sento.

We were hungry once again but by now it was late so we went to my favourite shop in Japan, Lawsons, basically it is a 24/7 newsagent. I got to buy my favourite Japanese snack so far… the microwave burrito. We also got some drinks and headed home for the night. We were too late to use the sento and would not be able to use it till tomorrow night as we had to get up early to go to Himeji. So in our hot sticky dorm room we slept.

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Shinkansen
Shinkansen
Toji Temple
Toji Temple
Gion
Gion
Just one example of the AMAZING ca…
Just one example of the AMAZING c…
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Kitty!
Kitty!
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Gion
Kyoto Hostels review
A little improvement could go such a long way
By far the cheapest hostel we came across in Japan; only 2000 JPY per night per bed. It was a little difficult to find, but was within walking dist… read entire review
Kyoto
photo by: ys484