A Travellerspoint blog

Japan

Kyoto-Walking with folks and hot chocolate with pups

Yesterday, got up early as usual. The plan was to go to a nearby town where there are deer running around, and more temples. In the common area of the hostel, though, I ran into someone who I talked to at the hostel in Tokyo, and a girl from Argentina-they wanted to go to the Imperial Palace. I have never been there,and it would be nice to be with others. So I tagged along with them for the 50 (or so) minute walk. It was nice to walk as well. I have been taking public transportation everywhere and haven't walked that much.

After the walk past houses and building, we arrived at the Imperial Palace, which was the capital of Japan until it was moved to Tokyo in 1869. We saw large temple-like structures, and entrances for the Emperor and Empress, and different gardens and houses on the property. We viewed a house that the Empress went to when there was an earthquake.

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After the tour, we decided to walk to the Philosophers Path, which I saw a few days ago. I decided to walk with them, when it started raining, where we stopped for lunch at a good place with lots of food, and many people eating who appeared to be locals.

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Once we arrived at the path, I decided to walk away, since I was there before. I took a bus to the area where the market was, and finally found the market (I looked for it for the past few days). The market had lots of different foods for sale. I bought some potato on a stick with syrup, and had some noodles. i also noticed there was a puppy cafe, where for around $8.00 (including a non-alcoholic drink), you can sit with the puppies. Now back in Tokyo, there was the maid-cafe, where you would be served by maids. I didn't do this, and regretted it ever since leaving Tokyo-so i decided to try the puppy cafe.

It was fun. The dogs we're a lot of fun. One was licking my foot, which was bitten by mosquitoes from the walking the day before at the shrine, and that was quite soothing. I enjoyed a hot-chocolate while being licked my the pooch.

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After 1/2 an hour, the time was up (we we're given 1/2 hour time slots-and that was enough), i wanted to use the bathroom-I found Wendys and bought a beer so i could use the bathroom. (Wendys serves beer in Japan). i then wandered around some more, and walked back to the area the hostel was. Once again, a few days before, I would have taken the train or bus, but now had confidence in walking. I looked at a used camera store for lenses, but didn't see any, and went to train station for some conveyor-belt sushi, and then walked home.

Posted by DavidPearlman 14:49 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Kyoto-An Orange Walking Day

Yesterday, i took a morning walking tour which was very nice. i learned about the Geisha's and how they we're trained. i then went and saw area where they lived. i learned they put on shows for people who want to pay $8000 per person for a performance. The tour saw a beautiful pagodas and more shrines, and I found a great place for tea ice cream, thanks to the free walking tour.

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i then wanted to go to a temple called Fushimi inari, a great temple with many orange arches up the hill. (thousands). I took a long walk and saw many.

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Then I went back to the original area where the morning tour was for dinner. I had some ramen, and some desert I found out. i thought I got lost on the trains back to the hostel, but I found out I was only minutes away.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:43 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Kyoto-Templin in the Rain

Yesterday, I woke up to my first full day in Kyoto, and it was gloomy and rainy. I walked over to the train station, where i was able to catch bus 100-which was going to take me to the Philosophers Path, which is a path that goes between certain temples and shrines here in Kyoto (once again there are 1200 of them).

First I went to a Zen temple called Ginkakuji, which has a sand garden, and beautiful buildings which go around this land and the garden. It was relatively small, and it was hard to get around as there we're lots of school children there. I stayed awhile and walked around, but walked around back to through the crowds, through the rain to the path. I walked along the path, which in pictures was filled with Cherry Blossoms, but in this case was just rain, and leaves on the ground.

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i walked past another small temple, which looks like it was the same sect as the temple i saw the other day. I looked around and took a nap at one temple. It was quite relaxing watching the leaves while it was raining.

i walked past a small shrine, and another temple called the Elkondo Temple, which is another sect of Japanese Buddhism. It was another beautiful temple. i walked around, and looked the pagoda and other banners.

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i walked further along and found the Nanzen Ji Temple, which is a huge famous Zen Temple. Here I saw the garden, and a huge Roman Aquaduct-I don't know why it is there. it is beautiful

It may sound like I found this boring, but the walk was quite peaceful, particularly in the rain. These temples emanated peace.

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At the end, it was roughly around 6:00, and I took a walk to the metro-which I took to a different part of town, where there was supposedly a street selling food with vendors. I couldn't find this street, but I found another restaurant, where I had fried tofu. I walked around a while longer-and found a bus back to Central station, which was near the hostel. i looked for an electronic's store there, that i found in a guide. i couldn't find it,it was raining out the whole day, and i just wanted to go to bed.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:21 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Kyoto, Japan-Sleep, Enlightenment and Cleavage

Yesterday after leaving McDonalds, I went to look for the hostel. I had written directions which I had printed out, but I couldn't find them. Perhaps the person at Mcdonalds had thrown them away. I was sitting there for around 2 hours-and heard the same three songs played (Want Adds from Jackson Five, A Barry White song, and something else).

I was totally lost when I left. I remembered something about a Lawson's drug store and turning-I found it but still couldn't find the hostel. I found a hotel and asked in there for directions, and they gave it to me-I was in the totally wrong area. I went in the opposite directions, and using the print out the lady at the hotel gave me, I found the hostel.

I brought my stuff in, and they lady at the hostel let me take a shower, which was important since, i hadn't showered in 24 hours-i had slept on the bus. It was too early to check in though, so I left my bags there and walked back to the train station where there was a tourist information office, and received some brochures of the area.

I read through them while having a second breakfast/lunch of ramen noodles, and had more ramen later on-this time spicy and really good. I read about an overwhelming number of things to do in Kyoto (including 1200 temples). I found one temple wasn't far from the train station, and that is where I went.

The temple was huge. While I have since many many many many temples since I started travelling in Asia-the longer I stayed the more I liked this temple. The temple was called Higashi Honganji, or “Eastern Temple of the First Vow” is one of two head temples of the Jodo Shinsh. The founder of this sect of Buddhism was tired of traditional Buddhism-where only those who did certain things, such as being a vegetarian, would ever reach enlightenment. With help of his guru, he promoted the word of a new type of Buddhism where anyone can reach enlightenment by saying a few different words-and that would give the people hope.(He felt that folks fished and hunted to feed their own family-and they deserve enlightenment as well). At the temple, while there was literature, it was a cartoon video on the temple displayed on a large-screen tv that outlined all of this. I watched the cartoon twice. While at the temple, I found a nice place outside a temple to use my camera bag as a pillow, and take a long long nap, which was quite refreshing and needed since I received so little sleep the day before.

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After the temple, i took a 4 minute walk to a garden called the The Shosei-en Garden, which was near the temple. This was a beautiful garden consisting of different sets of flowers, tea houses, Buddhist statues and a very picturesque pond.

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After the pond, i went back to the hostel to check in. i took the last bed in my 8-person dorm, which was an upper bunk, and went to sleep (it was only about 5:00). i was sort of pissed-because someone else took the last lower bunk bed-and it was evident he only checked in a few minutes before 'i did-as his backpack was on the bed. The only advantage of the upper bunk bed was the girl in the bunk below me had stood up beside the bed, and from where I was I could see her cleavage. Besides being was younger, she had orange-bluish hair and tattoos-so she wasn't my type-but that was something.

After taking the nap and the view, I took a walk to get some dinner. I had some tuna and rice at some type of local place.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:10 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo to Kyoto-The Blind Bus Ride

Last night, I checked out of the hostel, and took the 1 hour metro ride, of which I had to change trains, to the expressway bus station in Tokyo.

After about a 40 minute away, the bus came for the approximately 9 hour ride to Kyoto. I, along with several others, got on the bus, which had nice seats that reclined almost all the way back, pillows, and blankets. There we're video screens with headphones. It was made for overnight travel.

What was most noteworthy is a heavy duty curtain lining the inside of the bus was closing off the windows (including separating the passengers from the driver's compartment), so once the bus started moving, it felt like I was in a long, black tube. i thought about getting off the bus-I sort of iike looking out the window, and it felt sort of claustrophobic. But I hung on and went on my phone-there was wifi on the bus-and it actually was quite fast.

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After 1/2 an hour or so in the tube the bus made another stop. The compartment curtain was raised between us and the driver, and I could see we we're still in a city. I asked someone getting on the bus where we we're-he said we we're in Tokyo-so we haven't left the city.

The curtain then went back up, and the bus went on the highway. I dozed on the off. MY camera bag was on the seat in front of me. After a while, the battery ran out on my phone-so there went the wifi. (my laptop was in my baggage under the bus). I did check out the video screen and tried a few movies. One was a French film with Japanese subtitles, another was a German film with Japanese subtitles. Finally, I found a British film called "Baby Brother"-it looked like it was about an orphaned teen watching his infant brother. I fell asleep and started it over again-and also feel asleep.

Twice, the long back tube stopped at rest stops, where I could stretch my legs. Upon getting off the bus, the driver people getting off tags with the license plate #, so I could return to the right bus (there we're many many busses at each stop).

I generally just fell asleep. it was actually quite comfortable, In the morning, the bus stopped in sunny Kyoto. (at 6:30 am). I got off the bus. I had no idea where I was. But I saw a railroad bridge. and hoped they led to the train station, which they did. Directions to the hostel we're from the train station-so that was a good start. While it was too early to go to the hostel. One Mcplace was open where I could have breakfast and recharge my phone and charge my computer-so I went there.
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Posted by DavidPearlman 16:31 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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