Kyoto Travel Blog

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After a pleasant lie-in, we headed out into Kyoto to explore the area we had heard such great reviews of. We figured trying to take the subway again was probably not worth it, so walked over to the bus stop where we took advantage of the convenient drinks vending machine, as it was quite a warm day.

The frequent bus service meant we were not waiting for long before the bus arrived. When you enter the bus, you take a ticket from the dispenser near the door and keep hold of it until you alight at your stop. There are announcements made telling you which stop is coming up, so as long as you know where you are going, it is a very easy system.

When you alight, you put the money in the box next to the driver and it will give you change (although it is best to have the exact fare - 220 Japanese Yen for adults, 110 for kids).

We alighted in Gion, the infamous geisha district, where we walked the other night. The area looked very different during the day;more commercial and touristy and not the quaint cultural area we felt we had discovered that evening.

Just next to the bus stop was a vendor selling tasty looking Japanese hot snacks called takoyaki. They looked like small sphere shaped yorkshire puddings or un-sugared doughnuts. I popped one in my mouth expecting a delicious filling only to be surprised by what I can only describe as feeling like I had just bitten into a bulging grub full of pus, which exploded into my mouth. Worse still was the chewy piece of squid in the middle. Fabien found them delicious, so I gladly handed them over to him.

We wandered through the Gion district in search of the beautiful ancient Kyoto we had imagined. It took a while to find it, but suddenly we found ourselves wandering down old streets with wooden houses featuring paper sliding doors and wooden beam embellishments. To make the Kyoto experience complete, I spotted a geisha in the distance. We hurried over to her and I asked if I may take a photograph, to which she graciously agreed. I thanked her and we continued on for a drink break by a bridge over a small stream.

After our hydration stop we continued on towards the Kamo-gawa, the Kamo River. There were families picnicing, children paddling and trying to catch fish and couples relaxing in the sun. It was a lovely warm day, so we decided to walk across the stepping stones (shaped like boats!) in the river so I could cool my feet down.
The water felt so soft and cool against my weary feet and it was nice to just sit and relax in Japan! We crossed the river and sat on a bench next to a woman being taught how to play the guitar. I noticed many birds of prey darting in and out from a bridge a bit further down from where we sat. I wandered down and took some photographs. I think they were kites or hawks, but I'm notsure, whatever they were they were fast, fearless and very large. When they started swooping down a bit close I edged away again.

We continued onwards and found ourselves in another old district, which was pleasant. We came across a highly amusing squirrel type mannequin with huge... erm... nuts, which seems to feature quite prominently in Kyoto, although I'm still not sure what it represents.

As we explored further we noticed at the top of a hill was a beautiful looking temple.
We decided to make that our goal, so wandering through a pretty residential area, we slowly made our way there. It was just as impressive up close as it was from a distance, and it was pleasant to find another conveniently located drinks vending machine! We grabbed some chocolate milk and a coke and sat in the decorative Buddhist graveyard admiring the views over the mountains and the architecture of the temple. The sun was beginning to set, so we made our way to the nearest bus stop and hopped on the next bus. It was a pleasant journey home and we made our way straight to the sento for another bath before our journey the next day to Kamishiro in the Japanese Alps.

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Why isnt my boat moving?
Why isn't my boat moving?
photo by: ys484