Whew! I didn’t realize the blog was down until just yesterday! I didn’t have internet access for a few days so I had no idea. Sorry!
Here’s my attempt at trying to catch up some more – I have steady internet now so I’m going to try and write up a bunch of posts and spread out the publishing. Everything’s kind of a blur but I’ll try my best to remember!
January 22nd (Thursday) we took the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto, about a 2.5 hour trip. It was a little rough on me, so I basically slept a bit and didn’t do much else. We checked into our hostel (K’s House) which was clean and fine, but the shared bathroom situation kinda sucked. The room was a pretty teeny box, not much room for our packs really! But the bed was comfortable, it was quite cheap, and they had a decent breakfast buffet.
Armed with a Lonely Planet guide rented from the hostel, we managed to find a really awesome vegetarian restaurant close by, Machapuchare. It’s a Nepalese-Japanese restaurant, basically in a family home. Excellent food – we had the obanzai set, which is basically a set meal of various vegetablely goodness, soup, and rice.
It was raining, but after dinner we wandered around some laneways and pedestrian streets. Very pretty with lots of lanterns and things, and as we later discovered, walking around them is one of the only things to do in Kyoto at night!
The next morning we headed out sort of along a walking tour from Lonely Planet, along some pretty winding streets heading upwards to a bunch of different temples. Pretty little shops, but pretty touristy of course.
We visited a lot of temples in Kyoto (there are so many to see!) so they all kind of blend together, but this one is the highest one in Kyoto (I think!).
This is a pedestrian-only laneway which is so pretty. Of course I can’t remember what it’s called or anything, but it’s in Lonely Planet!
For food we ended up at the Nishiki food market, which is a covered arcade of stalls selling fresh fish, meat, produce, and other various wet and dry goods. Took us awhile to find something, but we did end up with some decent udon and tofu. Thank goodness for plastic food so we could tell if they had anything vegetarian!
Saturday was our last day in Kyoto, and we started out by taking the subway down to Fushimi Inari-Taisha, which is a huge shrine. The grounds are famously known for the thousands of torii, big orange-red gates which line the various trails up the mountain. The trails go on for about 4km, but we just walked maybe 1 before turning back.
The gates are plain on one side and have writing carved on the other. And the colour is super tough to photograph!
Next on our last push of sightseeing in Kyoto was Chion-in Temple, which in my mind is characterized by a steep staircase to get to the temple building! It was really cool because we got to go into the temple where the monks were praying.
That last night we moved from the hostel to a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn.
It was super cute, spotless and comfy! Who knew sleeping on the floor could be so comfortable? Clearly, the Japanese.
Whew. The next day we traveled back to Tokyo and had a crazy packed day there, which I’ll save for the next post!