Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wednesday September 29th

Time to move on to Kyoto!

Remember those "female cars" in the subway/trains? When going with the subway this morning I suddenly realized I was on one. I was in a hurry when I jumped on it so I didn't notice it. Embarrassing to say the least. So I jumped off at the next stop and changed car. *blushes*

Anyway, at the train station I took the Hikari to Kyoto

and carrying all this luggage onboard made me realize I have made a mistake when planing this trip (I will put that on the "didn't have time to prepare-list"); it would be better to stay in once place (like Osaka) and go on day-trips to the nearby cities (Kyoto is only 13 mins with train) instead of have to bring all your luggage with you all the time. I will try to make Kyoto my base of operation instead of changing city all the time. More on that when I know myself.

Anyway, Kyoto; the old capital of Japan. Where to go first?
Well, the hotel is always a good start; Hotel Oaks Kyotoshijo (room 718):
It seems good enough.

But where to now?
I decided to start with Nijo castle, an old palace that used to be the residence for the Tokugawa shoguns when they were in town.

The main entrance:
and the entrance to the building where the Tokugawas stayed and used as an office:

To be able to go inside and do the tour you had to remove your shoes. I liked that. :)
An interesting detail was that all the floor was of "Nightingale design" - it squeaked as you walk on it. This was to prevent anyone sneaking in during the night.

The castle garden was really nice as well:

After this I went to Kinkakuji, where they have a golden temple which is suppose to be very beautiful - and it was:
The building is painted with a gold/yellow paint and looks really different. The whole park in which it reside is also a remarkable sight. It seems like they have put in a lot of effort to make this place as peaceful and beautiful as possible.

A side note here is that the battery in my camera died, but I have one more. lets just hope it will be enough for the rest of the trip. I haven't come halfway yet!

I had time for one more thing to see today so I went to the Imperial Palace/Garden. It was a nice big park where people was jogging, walking the dog and doing normal park stuff, but unless you took a special tour you couldn't really see anything other than grass, trees and pebbles.
However I did went to the information disk and asked if this is where the emperor lived (this town & palace felt like it should be his permanent residence), but no - he lived in Tokyo - and funny enough, when he was in Kyoto, he didn't live in the Imperial palace, he stayed in another palace in the park.

Picture-vise this mean that he doesn't stay here:
He stays here:

I walk home from the park and stopped for some food at the Beer restaurant Lion. I had some stewed ox tongue (which was good) and drank some beer; to all, I can recommend the Yebisu Half&Half - that's half their lager and half their "Yebisu Black".
A funny detail at this restaurant was that each table had a button you could press when you were ready to order - or you wanted their attention. Not a bad thing to have! :)

A note I made today was how the buses work here (it's probably the same all over Japan, but this is the first time I ever gone by bus since I got here);
You enter the bus at the rear door end and exit from the front. And you pay the fare when exiting. Never think I have ever seen this system before...

OK, I am off to fix with my hotel reservations for the rest of my Japan train trip.
See you tomorrow!

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