Kyoto Day 1

Continued from Osaka Day 3 Part 2.

Today is traveling day. We’ve packed and unpacked so many times now, physically, it’s very routine. Mentally, traveling days are still difficult and unsettling. There’s the stress of getting from the hotel to transportation, in this case train, and then finding the right train, etc. Then when we arrive at the next city, we will also need to find our hotel, so on and so forth.

Still getting homesick. In fact, even though we are enjoying Japan very much, we’ve started a countdown for days until we get back to Austin. It’ll be nice to be home after so many weeks on the road.


They sell these half way boiled eggs that are so popular here in Japan at the 7 Eleven. I picked one up the other day. Since we are leaving our hotel today, I figured it would be a good idea to eat this for breakfast.


Of course Japan, of course. Instructions on how to crack open the egg.


Oh, it’s marinated in salt, tasty.


My beautiful wife.


Arrived at Osaka train station from the subway.


We are heading to Kyoto, which is less than 30 minutes away by local train. Love short traveling days.


The local train that we get on are full of Salarymen commuters….and the guy across from us who looked at my camera as I took the photo. No dude, I don’t care if you are in my photo or not.

Blue tiled roofs are very common here in Japan. We both really like how they look.


Meiji confection company has a whole side of the building made to resemble a chocolate bar.


Between Osaka and Kyoto, there is no break in economic development in the scenery.


We’ve arrived!! That was easy.


Great, stairs. I love stairs, especially with my full pack on me.


Right when we emerged from underground, we saw Kyoto Tower right in front of us.


And literally right next to Kyoto Tower is our hotel. Grateful that we can just walk from Kyoto main station right across the street to our hotel.


Kyoto Station, it’s a beast of a station. But not all of it is for trains, there’s a hotel and a shopping mall also attached to it.


Arrived…except check in isn’t until 3pm, so we’ve got 3 hours to kill.


We dropped off our main packs and now we are in the underground mall that connects from the front of hotel into Kyoto Station. We are looking for lunch.


This will do.


Yum yum yum!!! All you can drink miso soup and rice too!


A little bit after we sat down for lunch, this couple sat down in front of us. They sat diagonally from each other which was odd, but soon it became apparent why they did that. Cold War 2 is happening right now, and it’s between Europe and Asia. They spent the entire meal not making eye contact and not uttering a single word to one another. Wow!! Seriously…? We decided that it would be funny for us to be overtly affectionate towards one another in front of them…we are terrible people.


RL finally finds what she’s been looking for since day 1 in Asia, a shop that only sells fancy chopsticks. RL has been dying to buy some chop sticks and it isn’t until this shop did she find suitable candidates. Some of the chopsticks are really expensive, upwards of $100 for a pair!! We did not get those.


Well, still got lots of time to kill. I guess we’ll walk around and see what’s around our hotel. It’s really hot here in Kyoto, in the high 80s. I miss the cooler weather that we had in Osaka.


How cute, a tiny can of beer!!! But really…why would anyone drink a tiny ass can of beer?


This is right by our hotel. It’s supposed to be Higashi Honganji Temple, but instead it seems to be a couple of large metal buildings.


The large buildings are temporary structures to house the temples while they are doing renovation work on the roof.


Amazing how they erected this giant structure just so they could do roof repairs. Only in Japan.


Looking towards the “temporary” structure. That looks more like a permanent structure to me!


Yet another renovation work going on. Poop.


Cool rain drain.

Just walking around in this heat is making me really grumpy. We’ve been in Kyoto for less than 2 hours and we are already feeling unsettled. I kind of miss Osaka.

Looking for a cafe to sit and chill at while we do some planning.

Ordered our drinks and then asked for the wifi code only to be told this cafe doesn’t have internet. Doh! Seriously, this must be one of three coffee shops in Japan that doesn’t have wifi. Oh, and the other two closed their doors 10 years ago.


At the cafe, we realized that without internet, we’d have a hard time figuring things out for Kyoto. What we needed was a bus map, and since we are right across from the bus station….


Looking for the bus info desk inside Kyoto Station.


All the way from New Orleans.


Got it!!


What a beast of a building. While here, we also made some shinkansen train reservations for our ride to Tokyo a few days from today.


Finally able to check into our hotel, this is our $80/night view. But hey, at least it has a window!


Our typical small Japanese room. It is a little bigger than our room in Osaka though.


After we had checked in, we also found out that our checkout time is 10am instead of the more typical 11am. Shit! This means that the shinkansen tickets that we just reserved are now too late. Fortunately, our rail pass allows us to make unlimited free reservations, but it’s still a pain to have to go back and do the exchange.

Kyoto is not jiving well with us. All we want to do is stay in the hotel room and not go out. There are a lot of tourists here, Chinese, Taiwanese, and some Westerners. Staying by the main rail station, it doesn’t have the calm and courtesy that we are so used to in Japan. We don’t like it here. I think even the service industry workers are jaded from having to do deal with so many tourists.


Finally, after a couple of hours of not feeling Kyoto, we finally managed to drag out bodies out of our hotel room and see one shrine tonight. Kyoto has some of the best temples and shrines of Japan, it’s really a shame to not at least see something today…well, not counting the temple under renovation.


A short ride, only 3 stops.


Here!


Fushimi Inari Shrine.


Known for having thousands and thousands of torii gates.


Sake.


In a predicament. I am hungry, but I am fat.


The torii gates that run all along the trails on the mountain behind the shrine.


On the backside of the torii gates are the names of the people or organizations that donated money to have a torii gate built.


Even though it’s later in the day, there are still many other tourists here. We found a cross over just a short way up from the base of the mountain that led to another nearby trail. Let’s see if there are fewer tourists here.


Yeah!! Worked out as we had hoped.


Very few people on this part of the trail.


Mini torii gates, how cute.


It’s starting to get dark and we are in the middle of the mountain. This is the first place in Japan where we have encountered mosquitoes, and they are quite thick over here.


But, how cool is this! A bamboo forest!


Look at how big these bamboos are!

OK, there are too many mosquitoes and it’s quickly getting dark. We need to head back down the mountain. I mean, we are really only like 10 minutes from the base…


Love moss!


Moss!!!


The fox statues that are often found in Inari shrines.


It’s been a while since we’ve left China, but it’s still shocking sometimes to see blue skies.


This was odd, a dentist’s office right along the path that leads up to the shrine.


Small station, easy to figure out. We came in on one side, we go back on the other side.


I can sit here, right?


Everyone gets off at Kyoto Station. There are so many people that we are walking half speed.


We are hungry and we are looking for dinner. Walked by this place that had some sort of green beer!!! Must try before leaving Kyoto.


We decide to give this a try. Hub is a chain of British pubs here in Japan.


We order food, and it turns out to be the smallest portion we’ve ever encountered. It’s more like a snack portion…


RL’s fish and chips takes forever to come out as well. She was ravenous by the time her food came out. Not a fan of Hub the pub.


Since we didn’t get a full meal at the pub, we are looking for something else to eat. We are not a fan of Kyoto. I think they get so many tourists here that they can get away serving shitty food that tourists will put up with. We miss Osaka and their foodie culture.


We are still grumpy, and after that small portion incident, we are fuming and walking around all the food courts around Kyoto station trying to find something to eat. Ugh!! I felt like everywhere else in Japan, we could do no wrong with food, but not here in Kyoto.


I guess this will do…


Really?? Are those all choices?? As it turned out, only certain soups and curries are served each day.


It was alright…honestly, didn’t quite hit the spot for me.


How many girls do you see? Once I sat down, I realized that this was a chick’s restaurant. There was one other guy eating here, and he was with his girl. I don’t get it…what’s up with girls and soup? More single guys should eat here!!


Kyoto Station at night. Damn you Kyoto!!!! I am still hungry!!!


This will finally curb my lust for food. Dropped by a convenience store and got a couple of these delicious fried chicken drumsticks. Can’t go wrong with this.

To be continued at Kyoto Day 2 Part 1.

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