Day 10 - Monday 6 April - Kyoto

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Had a relatively crap night's sleep. Kept waking up with sore throat but not wanting to cough and wake up Stu.

Headed out of the hotel a bit after nine and jumped on a shinkansen to Kyoto (it's a fifteen minute trip - it's much easier to get to Kyoto than the other side of Osaka!).

Interior of the shinkansen to Kyoto - looks like an aeroplane!
Interior of the shinkansen to Kyoto - looks like an aeroplane!

First stop was a two-station JR ride to Inari to see Fushimi Inari. Hundreds of torii all lined up to form a long archway up the side of the hill. It was very cool. And quite photogenic, although the lighting conditions made photography a little tricky.

Gate near entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine
Gate near entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine 

Garden near Fushimi Inari Shrine
Garden near Fushimi Inari Shrine 

Freaky stone dog thing at Fushimi Inari Shrine
Freaky stone dog thing at Fushimi Inari Shrine
Photo by Stu 

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine 

Stu taking photos in Fushimi Inari Shrine
Stu taking photos in Fushimi Inari Shrine 

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Photo by Andrew


The next stop was meant to be Nijo castle. So we got the JR train back to Kyoto and changed trains to the other JR line to Nijo. Except we forgot to get the daily bus pass tickets from Kyoto first :(  So we wasted about ten minutes debating whether we should go back and get them or just carry on and pay each ticket manually. The passes were 500yen, and we had planned to take four bus trips of 220yen each. Not exactly a whole not more, but just more difficult in terms of getting the right change. So after getting grumpy with each other we ended up going back to Kyoto to get the passes. By the time we got back to Nijo an hour had been wasted, which we couldn't really spare with so much planned for the day :(:(

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower. Would have been nice to go up if we'd had time 

Cool mosaic near Nijo station
Cool mosaic near Nijo station

So we went and looked at Nijo Castle, which was 600yen entry, but not castle-like at all. In fact it was just a few wooden buildings. Which were pretty enough and all but don't know that I would have put it in the itinerary if I'd actually bothered to do any real research on it *sigh*.

Ninomaru of Nijo Castle
Ninomaru of Nijo Castle 

Girls at Nijo Castle
Girls at Nijo Castle
Photo by Stu 

Moat and gardens of Nijo Castle
Moat and gardens of Nijo Castle

Next stop was Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion), which required our first crammed bus ride of the day. The pavilion itself was so shiny though! Very pretty, we enjoyed it a lot.

Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion
Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion 

Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion
Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion 

Golden bird atop the Golden Pavilion
Golden bird atop the Golden Pavilion
Photo by Natto


At this point it was well after 3pm and all we'd had for lunch was an ice cream each. So we decided to skip trying to see the Imperial Palace and go straight to Gion. So what followed next was a thoroughly horrendous bus ride from one end of Kyoto to the other. Not that I can complain - near the beginning two people next to us got off which meant Stu and I got a seat. The Nats had to suffer the bottom sardine-can level and people trying to push past. Natto swore she'd never get on another Kyoto bus and was wanting to walk back to Kyoto station later - it was that bad!

By the time we got to Gion it was around five o'clock, so first order of business was dinner. Wandered around for a bit before finding an ok looking place in a back alley. They had an english menu and a toilet, so we went in :) It turned out to be a tappan-yaki restaurant so we got a bunch of dishes and some beer. It was all awesome :) Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Yasaka Shrine in Gion
Yasaka Shrine in Gion 

Teppanyaki restaurant at the back of Gion Corner
Teppanyaki restaurant at the back of Gion Corner 

Food in the Teppanyaki restaurant
Food in the Teppanyaki restaurant

After dinner we went wandering again, but it was getting dark, so not easy for photos. We tried to find the actual location of Gion Corner because Natto wanted to see one of the shows they do. But she didn't actually know where it was and instructions given by several different people didn't seem to get us any closer :( So in the end she gave up. But in our wanderings we did see several geisha. They were so pretty (in a done-up sort of a way), but I felt so sorry for them because they had to run the gauntlet of the tourist papparazzi just to go about their daily lives.

Gion Corner
Gion Corner. The tragedy of this is we actually went looking for
it later on, and we'd walked right past it but didn't realise!! 

Geisha in Gion
Geisha in Gion
Photo by Natto 

Yasaka Shrine in Gion
Yasaka Shrine in Gion
Photo by Stu


So Natto gave up on the show idea, so we hopped on a couple of buses back to the station and then back to Osaka.

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

Astro Boy!
Astro Boy!

Was going to go to bed early, but had to stay up late doing the washing. Not sure will have internet access again before the end of the trip, so this may be last blog entry for a while..

Steps walked today: 9472
Photos taken by me: 211
Photos taken by Stu:

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