30 April 2009

Kyoto Day 1

So yesterday we got up as early as our bodies would allow given the freezing condition of our room in Takayama. Got to the JR station just in time for our 6:50 train to Kyoto. The transfer in Nagoya was painless and we actually had very little time to wander around.

We got to Kyoto around noonish and booked it for our hostel. Our luck once again had us coming out on the wrong side of the station and having to walk way out of the way to get back to where we should have come out (with backpacks not fun) finally got to our place and the room wasn't ready so we took off in search of food and some sights.

We headed back to the station for some grub as the Kyoto station is 12 stories of department store, station and food court. Charlton got some Dashimaki Tamago, which are like little egg balls cooked in special pans. I tried my luck at a noodle shop where I had to use a vending machine to place my order. The food was really good, and both our places seemed really popular (always a plus). Then we headed off to the Info Center in the mall and picked up some walking tour information and get some much needed internet time. Then before we left we headed to Mr. Donut for a snack.

We picked up a Subway pass having no idea the coverage in Kyoto. We assumed the city was like Tokyo that you never had to go far unitl a subway. We bought our passes and skipped the bus connection service and headed off. We figured we could wing it and hit the 1st walking tour in our handout. We visited the Heian shrine and then went to the Kyoto Folk Crafts center (basically a giant duty free shop disguised as a museum...no wonder it was free) then we headed up the philosopher's walk and walked along the stream under sakura blossoms. We got to the end of the walk at Ginkaku-ji (Temple of the Silver Pavilion). We decided to skip the admittance since it was going to be 5 bucks a piece and the whole thing was being renonvated anyway. We then decided it was time to head back so we could rest and get some dinner. Good plan right?! Well without having bus coverage we had to walk pracitcally across all of Kyoto to get back to the subway. Our walk through town was longer than the philosopher's walk! Finally got back to the hostel HOURS later, and had to carry our lovely backpacks up the stairs (ugh!) to our room. Hooray for wi-fi, private bathroom and a bed!

We didn't stay stationary for long and used the hotel recommendations for cheap eats to find a little noodle/curry place just down the street. Got to use the vending machines again and had our curry, which after all the walking was like the best meal ever. We then headed to the grocery store for dessert and came back here to watch some slingboxed shows. We both passed out with the lights on and only woke up when the other hostelers were getting loud. Lucky for Charlton he had packed ear plugs. I was woken up quite a bit last night having to listen to their drunken banter. Oh well, beats freezing in Takayama on a tatami mat.

It's about time for us to start getting ready for day two. We are going to make sure we get bus coverage today and try to hit the rest of the major sites. We have an Imperial Palace tour scheduled for tomorrow so other than that today is our last day of touring here, hope the feet can handle it.

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