I pack up my things as I’ll be sleeping in Kyoto tonight. This wasn’t the plan at all. What I want to do is hop around to smaller places like Nara and then go for a week or two in Kyoto. But Nara is all booked unless I want to spend $200+ which I do not. So, Kyoto it is… Not that it’s much better. Slim pickings all around for cheap accommodations.
Before all that, JR has a ticket promotion for Osaka to Himeji so that’s the plan for today. Also maybe a quick stop in Kobe for dinner? More pressing is what to do about breakfast. Convenience stores are an acceptable option. I like that. I have to remind myself this when I choose something with seafood. I usually go for the rice balls.
I have breakfast in hand and go towards a JR station where I can buy the promotional ticket. There’s paperwork… I guess it’s only for foreigners? Hop on the train and enjoy the lovely ride… Once I get to Himeji, I stuff my backpack into one of the last available lockers. Just the right size.
I walk down the street to Himeji Castle. I’m ready to cross the street until I notice a bunch of tents on the other side, away from the castle. Despite the main draw right there, I go check out what happening over there. I mean, it might be shutdown by the time I get out.
It is the worst thing imaginable and by worst I mean great for me but not my wallet or backpack. It’s a ceramic festival! OMG. It’s on my shopping list but I want to buy delicate things at the end not the beginning! Ugh. There’s nothing else I can do so I walk around making note of ones I like. I’m looking for a sake set for my brother and a tea set for myself. There’s a lot of nice things. I could have bought more but alas no home of my own or how to get it all back to the States. So I stick with those two items and there are ones that I like but cost hundreds of dollars. That’s not my budget. Eventually I do find more affordable options. They really do have quite a range so everyone can buy something.
Now, I’m ready to see Himeji Castle! It’s one of the twelve original castles and they recently finished renovations in March. Like the Osaka Castle, the reviews are so-so. I figured there’s no point coming all this way just to stare at it from the outside. The castle is larger than Osaka and it’s mostly empty but still lovely. It helps a lot that only a few people were visiting. I was such a dork, enjoying myself.
And that’s the castle! I walk back and grab my backpack from the locker. I’m feeling pretty tired and hungry. Plus, I have to make it in time to check in in Kyoto. I eat the last of my snacks and hop on the train. Although, it is a good time to sleep I feel compelled to stay awake. In a couple of months there won’t be any new views at all.
The train reaches Kobe but it’s a different station than I thought it would be. I’m at the other side of town and although there’s probably a subway I didn’t feel like anymore adventures today. There will be other times to visit Kobe and eat steak. (Spoiler alert: I never make it to Kobe but eat meat elsewhere.)
I’m here in Kyoto! I purposely chose a hostel near the train station, anticipating a late arrival. But I’m not that late. I walk a couple blocks to the hostel and check in. Ah, it’s so nice! The hostel is larger than the one in Osaka but the beds are more private and comfortable. There’s even a fluffy duvet! Can’t wait to sleep tonight!
Now that is taken care of, I look for somewhere to eat! Online I spotted a place at the train station so I walk back and go to the higher floors where the restaurants are. I ordered tonkatsu which is the main item served here. I’ve had it before but it’s still so, so good! The waiter explained the sauces and sides. She came over with some sesame seeds for me to grind and I’m an idiot… what am I doing? Oh…. It’s trying to do simple things while traveling that humble you.