Kyoto, Japan
from the foreign female perspective
Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We were up at an insane hour once again, packed, and were on the train to Tokyo Station in order to catch our Nozomi Shinkansen to Kyoto. We all passed out for the two and a half hours it took to get there.

We dropped off our luggage at J-Hoppers, a surprisingly cool place, grabbed a few maps, and set off to see the city. We walked back to the station, mailed a few postcards, looked at the terribly outdated Kyoto Tower, the boys got McDonalds, then we set off for 三十三間堂 on foot.

This place was absolutely amazing. For 600 yen, you are granted access to a huge hall that houses endless lines of flawlessly arranged golden Buddha statues, 1000 in all, 500 on either side of a massively impressive Buddha in the center of the hall. There are also 28 Kamakura-period guardian wooden statues displayed in front of the golden Buddhas, and all of them are claimed to be National Treasures.

We spent about an hour walking past the awe-inspiring collection, wandered around the grounds a bit, hit up the gift shop, and moved on to the Kyoto National Museum, which Aaron insisted we peruse a bit because it was a free admission Saturday (he’s Dutch and proud of it). The Museum was severely lacking when compared to the Tokyo version, so we did a quick run-through, during which Kyle found a middle-aged woman who would not stop grinning and looking over her shoulder at him and Aaron.

From the Museum we continued walking for ages, following the tour set up in Aaron’s Frommer's Japan Guidebook. We finally arrived at Kiyomizudera, paid the entrance fee, and were chased around by a man we fondly called Captain Tanaka for about twenty minutes until the place closed.

The walk continued, and we found ourselves walking through little shopping streets and picking up souvenirs. Aaron and Kyle bought matching wristbands despite their better judgment. Kyle got white, Aaron got black, but each displays the kanji , which is the first character in the compound 忍者 (ninja, as in the Turtles).

We then fell upon a huge statue called Ryouzen Kannon honoring world peace, which we could honor for the price of 300 yen.

We finally made it through Maruyama Kouen and found the Gion night life district, but instead of geisha we only found a sign proclaiming “HOMO.”

After walking more than 5 miles (maybe 10?) I insisted we take the bus back to the hotel. We got quite lost and couldn’t figure out where we were on the map, so I asked a kindly rickshaw runner man how to get back to the Kyoto JR Station. He very nicely told us to hop on the next 206 bus, which went where we were trying to go, and that was that.

We stopped by the convenience store on the way back and picked up some snacks, then read in bed until we were sleepy enough to call it a night. I think most of us managed to sleep soundly until the plastic bag symphony began the following morning, complete with zipper interludes and door-slamming solos.

Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6