Japan – Day 5 (Kyoto)

Woke up nice and early to check out the temples and shrines. With a hot day ahead (32C), it was best to start early while it was cooler. We did a typical trail path from our hotel to the Kiyomizu Temple which is he biggest temple (actually its many temples) here in Kyoto and a popular tourist destination. Following a stone path, there was countless numbers of temples/shrines past. The path continues to wind past local shops, finishing at the main shopping strip. There was an endless number of shops selling food, souveniors, and various other items.

Caught a bus to the Imperial Castle and walked around there for an hour. Quite a spectacular building if you haven’t been in a castle before. Just like the movies, but better!

We then caught another bus to the Golden Temple (Kinkakuji Temple). This temple is literally made of gold. You can’t actually go into the temple, but there a masses of people taking pictures nonetheless.

The choice for food so far has revolved around Kyoto Station. Took the plunge tonight to head to Gion. Spotted a couple of Geisha’s along the way as well. Went to an all you can eat Sukiyuki (similar to an asian steam boat) and got completely stuffed on wagu beef. What a lot of meat eaten…

Will check out Kyoto a bit more tomorrow and then move onto Osaka!

PS. Get the day pass for the buses from the tourist info centre in the station (costs 500yen and allows you to use most of the buses). Otherwise it will be 220yen per bus ride – regardless of distance. Be good if they used numbers for bus stops, but each stop has a name instead, so watch out for it!

Kiyomizu Temple from LookoutKodaji TempleNinomaru Palace in Castle ComplexGolden Temple (Kinkakuji Temple)

Japan – Day 4 (Kyoto)

Stayed overnight in Hakone. Beautiful place (had to mention that again)! Bought some souvenirs, went for a quick stroll, and then got a ride from the hotel to Odawara station to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto. At the station you see some of the bullet trains shoot through at reduced speed, and damn are they going fast. Quite a sight!

He ride to Kyoto took 2 hours, and was included in the Japanese Railpass (good value – you must purchase it before arriving in Japan). Kyoto station is amazingly big… shop after shop, and restaurant after restaurant. Finding the hotel in Kyoto was interesting, not many people here know English. We eventually found it though, but it was very hot day to be roaming the streets.

Many shops and restaurants in the station itself! More interested in the restaurants though. Fashion here won’t quite fit into Australian fashion/culture if I bring it back! Went for a stroll through Kyoto station and found some places to eat. Tomorrow we’ll be checking out the temples and castles around here.

Attached a pics of a GPS reading whilst onboard the bullet train! All the trains are various speeds!

 PS. Unusual things spotted so far. Bus drivers turn off their engines at traffic lights to lower carbon emissions? Something to do with the Kyoto Protocol maybe? Council workers here use cool LED looking boards with animated people to signal lane merges!

Shinkansen GPS SpeedOutside our hotel room in Hakone