We managed to navigate our way through the amazing train system (thanks mainly to Bronwyn and Chris). We arrived in Tokyo with enough time to book our JR tickets for the rest of the trip, which was one big job out of the way. If you are planning on coming to Japan, plan your trip out and know what days you want to travel before arriving at the JR Office.
We farewelled my sister and her husband, for now and all three of us headed off to Kyoto. Dallas is travelling with us on a few sections of the trip so that he can see more of this beautiful country too.
We found our platform for our Shinkansen (bullet train) and boarded without any problem. We are each travelling with a large suitcase each and it easily fits on the overhead luggage racks. We opted to travel with a green pass and have all of our seats reserved. The trains are so clean, spacious and luxurious.
As we gathered speed leaving Tokyo, I found it hard to watch out of the window as we were going so fast. We did manage to see Mt Fuji as we raced past it.
Dallas realised, once we were on the Shinkansen that he had left his backpack on the local train in Tokyo. He emailed the lost and found office and we also contacted my sister. Bronwyn and Chris went back to Tokyo, then were sent to the end of the line, where they located the bag. Thank goodness. One thing that we have noticed about Japan is that everyone is so respectful.
We arrived into Kyoto and our travel guru had found us a hotel across the road from the station, which proved to be very handy in terms of getting around Kyoto. We arrived at 1:45pm and checked into our hotel. Dallas opted to leave his big bag in our room and just take a small bag to the hostel with him.
We decided to walk down to his hostel, after a visit to Bic Camera as Dallas needed to replace his charger, which was in his forgotten backpack. We headed down one of the main roads away from the station. The cherry blossoms were stunning. As we were walking we saw this amazing Temple – the Higashi-Honganji Temple. We went in to explore. It was stunning. The workmanship in the structure and the decorations used is just amazing. When you take into account the age of it, that makes it mind-blowing.
We continued walking into Kyoto as Dallas’ hostel is near the Nishiki Food Market. We found it, he checked in and we headed through the markets. Unfortunately, by this time, most stall holders were closing. We did manage to find somewhere open that served coffee, so Phil and Dallas sat down and had a coffee in the markets. We found a beautiful canal with gorgeous cherry blossoms, so naturally we had to stop, take in the scenery, and take some photos.
We crossed the Kamogawa River and explored some areas of Gion. We wandered around looking at different sites and then stumbled across Yasaka-Jinja Shrine. I’ve seen it described as an explosion of light and sound and it was certainly that. It was so busy, even at this time of evening. It was around 8:00pm. Dallas was tempted by the food stalls, however we had decided to find somewhere to eat for dinner instead.
We left Yasaka Shrine behind and headed back into the Main Street of Gion – Shijo-Dori Street. Bronwyn had recommended that I try an omelette with different ingredients, so we saw Issen Yoshuko, with a long line, and decided to try that. (Our tour guide recommended the restauarant on our tour as well, so we had made a good choice.)
They only have one item on the menu, which was their omelette / pancake, so the choice for dinner was easy – and tasty.
We walked back to Dallas’ hostel and then hailed a cab back to our hotel. We had a great day exploring Kyoto on foot. This city is so beautiful and amazing. There are a lot of people at the moment, due largely to the sakura (cherry blossoms), it is still so beautiful.