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Day 3 Japan - Kyoto

JAPAN | Friday, 8 November 2019 | Views [49]

Today began with a not too early start and the standard breakfast buffet to fuel us for what we thought would be a fairly cruisey day. Little did we know! Keiko and Hiro met us and we loaded our luggage and ourselves on to the bus. A short ride took us to Shin Osaka Station to take the bullet train (Shinkansen) to Kyoto. The train reaches speeds of up to 320km per hour and had us in Kyoto station very efficiently in 15 minutes. Brilliant way to travel! Kyoto station is a remarkable and very large modern structure with a very large staircase (Rod climbed while the rest of us opted for the easier escalator ride) reaching to an open-air terrace where the city could be viewed from on high.

We left the train station and our bus wound its way through the busy city streets towards the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama. We saw the Togetsu Bridge before making our way along a very busy street dedicated mostly to feeding tourists their local delicacies, yatsuhashi – a sweet made from glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet red beans or fruit, or im-kenpi – long thin strips of sweet potato, deep fried and coated in sugar syrup. Both deliciously sweet, sweet sweets.

A busy day in this little town would be excruciatingly crowded as, at times, the throng of people heading towards the Bamboo Forest was, today, more than enough of a crowd for us to be amongst. As we drew nearer to the stands of bamboo you could sense the relative quiet and coolness of the space, even with the crowds. I could only imagine just how much peace you would feel if you could sit alone for a while.

Rod and Sara are keeping track of our daily steps with their gadgets and have advised that we’re definitely getting our 10000+ each day. So, we continued to add them on as we walked to explore the area around the bamboo forest, with the intention of finding some lunch. It’s not really all about the food! But when we did find somewhere to eat it did become all about the food, and it was delicious; simple and delicious.

Moving along after lunch our next stop on tour was Shijin Textile Centre. An opportunity to view and buy silk items including beautiful kimonos, and many other souvenirs. Our driver, Hiro then wound his way through narrow streets and up and down hills until we came to our hotel for 2 nights, the Righa Royal. Once we were checked in there was no time to waste; a quick freshen up and out into night time Kyoto to find our (Sara’s 😊) dinner preference of gyoza. Underground beneath shopping centres and train stations you’ll find a variety of food stalls/restaurants, and under Kyoto Tower we found the perfect choices. Gyoza in Japan seem to be only made with pork so the meat eaters were in for a treat, washed down with local beer. And I was fortunate to find a real treasure, and unusual from what we’ve experienced so far, a veagan (yes, this is how they spell it 😉) ramen shop. Our dessert treat was a shared plate of pancakes. We’ll need more than 10000 steps to work that lot off!

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