2012 - 2013

Day 5

Arriving in Kyoto

After very little sleep we met in the lobby and checked out of our hotel. We asked the hotel staff to hold our luggage while we went to Shinsaibashi to find some breakfast. We ended up in yet another cafe that stunk of cigarettes, but they did have a breakfast menu. There was a few mix ups with breakfast, but overall it was ok. We did a little bit of shopping before heading back to our hotel to pick up our luggage. From there Robert navigated us to Kyoto via train. The whole trip probably took about an hour.

Once we got to Kyoto the first thing that stands out is just how much more space there is. Compared to Osaka, it felt like we were in a rural suburb! Walking down the smaller streets was even more interesting. Some of the houses had the stereotypical Japanese roof line that you see in the ninja movies - it looked very cool, can’t wait to see more of the traditional side of Japan!

When we arrived at the hotel, it looked quite plain from the outside, but inside was really nice! The first thing that stood out was over to the right was a restaurant/bar with a view of a small waterfall as part of the hotel! Unfortunately the fancy places also come with fancy prices. The buffet breakfast wasn’t included again, but if we wanted to pay for it, it would cost about $45! There is a few options for dinner in the hotel too, a dinner buffet which costs $65 (or $45 after the new year celebrations finish on the 3rd) and a nice looking steak house, which costs $100-$150 per person.
We decided to try to find somewhere else to eat!

Walking around the streets of Kyoto is nothing like Osaka, at least where our hotel is. It’s a lot quieter and there aren’t many people walking around in comparison. This time of the year is very quiet in Kyoto. There is a large focus on family time and prayer. While this is a nice change, it did make it hard to find somewhere to eat because most places are closed.

We eventually came across a 24 hour fast food place, but not the western variety, a proper Japanese fast food place. They have a small diner with a machine where you pick your meal and pay, but it was all in Japanese. Luckily the staff spotted that and handed us a laminated sheet of paper that had English instructions on it.

On one side it had a few meals with English descriptions and on the other side some text apologising for not speaking English very well and asking us to take a seat and pick form the English paper menu instead of using the machine. When we ordered, the waiter then put our order into the machine for us.
The food was out in a couple of minutes and it was pretty good and unlike our hotel, this tasty meal only cost about $4!

We left there and picked up some junk food from a nearby 7-11, before heading back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, we got speaking to the hotel staff who spoke very good English! It turns out that most of Kyoto is closed until the day we leave, then things start opening again. We sort of knew this would happen, but the hotel staff gave us a map and showed us where we could find restaurants, shops, temples, gardens and even where to go for a chance to see the training geisha girls, known as “Maiko”.

It was a long day, so we just spent the rest of the night relaxing at the hotel. I caught up on blogs, and we even watched a couple of episodes of The IT Crowd!