Have you ever visited a place where you would like to live in? That’s how Kyoto for me. I spent three short days there and wish i could stay there for much longer. I went as far as googling living cost there, not an easy task, almost everything is written in Japanese. As for a job? i guess a writer can live anywhere right? anyways i have to postpone this dream and brush up on writing skill first.
Time to see Kyoto. Dragging our kitchen sink luggages at Tokyo train stations during busy period was not a pleasant experience. Yin yelled a small victory once we reached the right platform *long sigh* We took Shinkansen, the legendary Japanese bullet train, booked our seat a day earlier and didn’t need to pay anything since it’s covered by our JR Pass. The train ride was smooth with a lovely view. I have taken train rides since i was young and i have always enjoyed it.
“Anything is possible on a train; a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night’s sleep, and stranger’s monologues framed like Russian short stories. Anything is possible, even the urge to get off.” – The Great Railway Bazaar.
Train ride is fun! It’s definitely one of the thing i love most about Japan. Japan has top notch trains (and unique ones), they are clean, fast and on schedule. I loved the view from it and got excited whenever the lady with food cart passed by our cart. Three hours and several rice cakes later we reached. Kyoto is a historical city located in a valley, the roads are perfectly lined and the streets follows grid patterns, it is very nice to look at.
We left our bags in the hotel and headed out for lunch. Okonomiyaki, savory Japanese pancake ,for me it taste similar to pizza, at another cozy little restaurant called Warai-Warai. The waitress aunty was quite impressive with her hospitality skill and basic knowledge in conversational english, i like her. The food looked interesting and we played around with Katsuobushi before we devoured it.
Once we were done with our delightful lunch, we planned to go back to hotel because Yin was tired and wanted to rest for a while. Poor her, she had been carrying a huge camera since morning from Tokyo and now on streets of Kyoto. She wanted to memorised our trip as many fun moments as possible (Thanks Yin 🙂) but just before turning around, we saw a marketplace called Nishiki and decided to explore it for a little while, but little while it wasn’t.
This place is a shopping haven, we went to too many stores screaming the variations of “cute..”, “look !!”, “waaah…” like young girls.
There was a Kawaii little store (i can’t type the name, please see the below picture) where I bought souvenirs for colleagues and a rabbit kami for mom. it is suppose the bring good luck and good luck for her means good luck for all of us. Vi and I also got hanging kitten home decor which is now hanging on my room window beside the dream catcher i got from Malaka years ago.
When you visit Kyoto, do go to Nishiki Market. This place has everything to shop for. Souvenirs, photo-box, Japanese equivalent of Western slurpee, tour services, cartoon character socks, hippie store and high-end goods on the other side of the road. It takes around 5 minutes walk from Gion-Shijo station.
Later at night we fulfilled Yin’s obsession with Geisha. We explored Gion area, the famous
Geisha Geiko district (a taxi driver taught us: Geisha in Tokyo; Geiko in Kyoto). Oh yes !! We spotted a few of them walking briskly , yet still gracefully , and going inside those wooden houses at Hanami-koji street. A fascinating view and experience. After sometimes we got hungry, since no more Geisha passed by, we went for dinner at a restaurant that sells unagi don exclusively. The girls couldn’t believe that it was my first unagi and it was, again, delicious. Yum yum..
We stayed at Kyoto-Shijo hotel located at a friendly little neighbourhood. It has a family mart nearby, Lawson, where we bought our breakfast, fun food items and midnight snacks from. It’s also a walking distance to the train station but then again i think all places in Japan major cities are always within walking distance from a particular place. The hotel itself is decent but i would not recommend it because it has no wifi inside the building; instead you have to walk out for like three minutes from the building to get a wifi connection. It would be a decent choice if you are a traveler who doesn’t care much about virtual connection but for us? we need our triple W dosage every day. Vi even went down at night in her PJs to access internet from a small desktop computer with an unusual keyboard which they put in the lobby for a limited 10mins per usage. What?? 10mins is not even enough to login into your email and scroll down your facebook at the same time.
My first impression of Kyoto is a vintage town with many things to explore. Minutes before we went into deep sleep i told my besties, “i like Kyoto better” and little did i know how truer that statement felt the next day.
Ps. I found a tour pamphlet in our hotel: Johnnie Walker Walking Tour. A 5 hours walking tour around Kyoto covering many places for USD$20. A tour by a local with 50years experience? i find it very interesting, unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to do it, but maybe you can and later tell me all about it?