I wake up wondering what to do today. More importantly, where to sleep tonight.
While brushing my teeth, I meet one of my roommates. She’s from California and studying in Japan for a year. She tells me about some places to see and sends me a pdf of suggested walks for Kyoto and Nara. I’m surprised how many I missed the first time. She invites me to tag along but need to wrap things up here. Too bad I wasn’t staying longer!
I start my laundry and pick up breakfast/lunch at the corner store– Chicken nuggets and fried rice ball with tea. Highly nutritious.
Tonight’s hostel is in an uptown neighborhood that dies out when the sun goes down. I’ve visited the shrine, Heian, in that area the first time visiting. I don’t have any better options. There’s a couple even farther from the city center. I already know this will become my new routine. I sort out the hostels for a couple days, a different one every night. Ugh. Unfortunately the one I’m at is all booked!
I store my backpack at the hostel. I’ll be back after dinner to pick it up and check in at the new hostel. That’s my plan.
I walk toward Sanjusangendo Temple. I forget that Kyoto is a city. I mean, one can hardly forget that but I just remember the small alleys, shrines and bamboo… the modern parts just faded out. Oh, Kyoto! So exciting!
I arrive at Sanjusangendo Temple. It’s not a fancy looking place and photos are not allowed inside. Shoes are removed and I enter the temple full of gold buddhas. Amazing! Rows and rows of them. There’s some other gods represented too. It’s so amazing to see hundreds of golden statues! So worth it! Here I found this one on google. On my way out, I noticed someone familiar, which is crazy because I don’t know anyone in Kyoto. I call out the name to see if there’s a response and it is my roommate from this morning! She’s with one of her friends. They’re meeting up with a group and she invites me to come along. I agree because why not?
Nothing make you feel old like hanging out with a bunch of college students. They’re about twenty years old, doing a semester or two abroad in Tokyo. It’s a holiday weekend apparently, so they’re visiting Kyoto and Nara. I wish I did cool things like this!
We’re walking towards Kiyomizudera Temple. I didn’t plan on visiting this temple as I was here before but whatever, go with the flow.
These whippersnappers are amusing. One guy admits that his name is Totoro… as in the movie, My Neighbor Totoro. I asked if his parents dressed him up for Halloween but they didn’t go that far. A friend made him though. Another story was about his interview, and interviewers could not believe it. The Japanese are so amused. Poor guy.
We follow the crowds into the Kiyomizudera Temple grounds. (I don’t remember paying for temples before… Maybe that was all included in the tour I was on?) The temple is under construction but you can still see most of it. I lose track of everyone but find them toward the end when the ladies were in line for the Otowa Waterfall. One of them explains how you’re suppose to pour water over one hand and then the other, leaving your mouth for last. The line moves quick. We each get a turn and then sit and wait for the others to catch up.
We talk about nerdy things, awkward people and such… I’m invited to join them for night photography at Fushimi Inari Shrine (my fav!). I really want to go but I need to check in to the hostel before it’s too late. Unfortunately, none of the places are near each other. We part ways.
I walk back to the hostel to pick up my backpack. I take the metro north to the next hostel and check in. This hostel is not that great. What’s cool is that it’s a house instead of a commercial place. Down side the dorm room and beds are pretty sad. The bathrooms are not much better nor the price. I wouldn’t stay here again unless I had to. There’s so many options after all.
I go through my stuff and place the things I need on my bed so I don’t disturb anyone later or early morning. I message one of the girls from earlier but they were leaving Fushimi Inari soon. Oh well. Time for dinner!
I don’t feel like going back yet… I walk toward another shrine that is always open. I’ve been here before. I circle back to the hostel hoping I can find something better for tomorrow.
When I get to the hostel there’s a group checking in late (how do you set that up?!) so I had a hard time getting through the front door. Eventually I make it through and it seems they have the nicer room on the first floor. I go upstairs and concerned that the person locked the door. I knock softly but there’s no answer…. Then I realized that I was trying to slide open a door that you push open. D’oh! Another humbling moment. Hehe.