Saturday, 15 November 2014

Kyoto, Japan

On Day 4, we caught the Shinkansen to Kyoto, this is one of Japan bullet trains. So efficient! The trains are huge, almost like a plane inside! In 2 hours we were there. Initial thought was that it was bigger than expected but not in a bad way. A short walk from the station we found our Ryokan- a Japanese style guesthouse. Warm welcome and happy to help with anything we needed or wanted to know about. We had a nice little Japanese style room, complete with tatami mats, small table and a futon neatly folded up against the wall and a Western style bathroom. Kyoto is a slice of old Japan with its small side streets lit up with lanterns and temples large and small every where you turn. It is quaint and traditional but definitely not stuck in time warp. Great views from the top of Kyoto Tower, gave me chance to use my new lens for my camera! That evening we had some seriously tasty Ramen in a shabby looking shack type restaurant filled to the brim with locals. It cost us all of 5 pounds for a huge bowl of noodles, salty beef and a soy sauce- by far the best meal in Japan. The next day we were up at 5.30am to catch the sunrise at the Kiyomizudera Temple. After a 20 minute climb up the winding streets we made it. It was so tranquil at that time in the morning, i'm glad we made the effort! Especially as by 7am hordes of school children swarmed the viewing deck! From there we headed for Gion (the district known for spotting Geisha) we followed a walking tour from our guidebook which was suprisingly good. The morning sun came through which made the Autumn foliage lovely and bright. We wandered around the streets of Gion for about and hour and a half- it is just so pretty and quiet (at that time of day!) Fushimi Inari Shrine- An iconic symbol of Kyotoit is famous for its thousands of orange Torii gates. We completed the 4km walk through the gates snaking up and around to the top of sacred Mount Inari.
For dinner that night we had Okonomiyaki as reccommended by Manami. A large grilled pancake/ flat omelette with vegetables mixed in it and soy sauce. The one i had also had crispy pork on top - it was delicious! It was placed on a hot plate on the table in front of you and sizzled away. Inexpensive as well. Also hard to eat with chopsticks! We grabbed a beer and headed back to the guesthouse- feeling our early start!
Back to Tokyo tomorrow...

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