Hello from Kyoto! It’s not even 9pm on Friday – day five – and yet I write to you from our hotel room. This week has been very busy, and today involved a lot of walking. Early dinner and then bed is all we were good for.
So on Thursday, we caught this bad boy to Kyoto. It went very very fast.
Beats the crap sandwich you’d get on a Virgin Train.
Our hotel here is in Gion, round the corner from the Yasaka-Jinja shrine, so after checking in, we went to take a look.
We’re in a great spot for being able to walk almost everywhere in Downtown Kyoto, and the Gion neighbourhood itself is pretty cool. If Tokyo was like New York, Kyoto reminds me a bit of Boston. Perhaps a few more lanterns in the mix….
Tangent: we’ve seen two strange urban wildlife scenes here. These deer walking up the main river between Gion and Downtown Kyoto…
And this guy. A GIANT RAT! Matthew looked it up, and it was a coypu. Shudder. He was perhaps two meters away from people, eating the grass without a care in the world.
We had yakitori for dinner, but no photos I’m afraid. Too greedy to even pause.
On our first full day in Kyoto – Friday – we decided to go to Fushimi-Inari-Taisha. It’s absolutely amazing and covers a huge amount of ground. We mished it up to the very top, which took perhaps an hour round trip.
You’ve all seen photos – and far better ones than I can take. Here’s some proof we were there though. Don’t worry, I was still wearing my geography teacher shoes.
I took a rest day from running, and thank God. My legs have taken quite a pounding today; there were almost as many stairs as there were torii.
Here’s the view from about halfway up. It was quite a climb.
After that, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to a cat cafe. I LOVE CATS!!! We literally paid to spend time with cats, and I am just fine with that.
This is one of the more bonkers things I have ever seen.
If you’re not a fan of cats, you might want to scroll down a bit….
Sticking with the more unusual elements of Japanese culture, next up was tofu ice cream. Don’t be fooled by its normal appearance; it tasted of tofu and wasn’t my favourite thing (despite tofu being one of my favourite things).
But it was ice cream, and I ate it all.
We also got these little ball things which were DELICIOUS. They were sweet, but filled with something more savoury.
Back in Downtown Kyoto, we headed for an early sushi dinner. We went to a place recommended in Lonely Planet, and it was great – both for food and atmosphere. We sat at the bar, as you’d expect, and watched the sushi chefs. They were friendly, and explained (without using much English) how to eat various things. Whilst not doing that, they shouted almost constantly to each other and customers – welcoming them, thanking them etc.
Here’s our guy making up our dinner.
Didn’t he do well?
Come on, it doesn’t get much better than this, does it?
And with that ends a great day five. Tomorrow will be an early start to fit everything in – starting with a run hopefully along the river.
I hope your weekends have started off well.