It’s morning. I can’t wait to get out of here. I put on my backpack and end up walking down a cute little street! I love find places like this!
The next hostel is Taiko-ya. It’s also a converted residential home but has nicer beds and updated bathrooms. It’s small but cute. I wish I could have booked more than one night! The down side is they expect you to leave a few hours daily in order to tidy up. Not a huge deal if you’re sightseeing.
My goal is to drop off my backpack there before they close for the day. The hostess is okay with with leaving my backpack but I had to twist her arm to let me check in. I mean I don’t want to stay right now. I just don’t want to have to rush back again to pay. It’s a secret. She agrees but because it’s not check in time she doesn’t have change so I go to a nearby convenience store to buy breakfast and return with change. It’s a long morning. I sit outside on one of their chairs to eat my bounty. I eat the rice ball with a slice of salmon. I need to get this one more often.
First stop for today is Kinkakuji Temple aka the Golden Pavilion. It’s one of the most popular sites in Kyoto. There’s no nearby metro station so I try out the bus system. It seems easy enough. The first bus I tried was not the right one. The driver points for me to go around the corner. That’s not the right stop. The one across the street is the right one. I confirm with the driver that it’s the right bus (always have the name of the place written in the native language).
I like the buses because they have a screen that lists the upcoming stops. You know where you are and when your stop is coming up. I wish more bus system had this. This goes on for about a half hour. The temple entrance is a couple blocks from the bus stop.
I get in line for a ticket and basically you walk in one direction through the property. The Golden Pavilion is cool but there’s not much going on. It’s a photo op spot and not much more. The pavilion is closed because people keep setting it on fire. There’s another building that was open but it seems you had to pay extra for it? Whatever. I take some photos as I do everywhere.
After the temple, I’m not sure what to do. Fushimi Inari at night sounds really cool but I have time to kill. Eating a hot meal would also be nice. I walk around the neighborhood for a little while and spy a set of vending machines. There’s one with cute cell phone charms of Natsume’s Book of Friends. I give in because Japan. Am I doing this wrong? I can’t get the ball out of the vending machine! I’m sitting here way too long trying to pry the capsule from the offending machine. I’m waiting for someone to accuse me of stealing. My yen is in here already! I want my charm! Eventually it pops out. With all that work, I’m slightly disappointed that I didn’t end up with my top choice. It’s still a cute one of Nyanko-sensei. 🙂
I take the bus back downtown. I time it wrong and get off at the wrong stop. Actually, the bus is so full I miss my stop and get off at the next. Somehow I manage to get to the Higashiyama District, which is near where I was yesterday at Kiyomizudera. It was on that pdf as a cool place to walk. I figure it will be a good spot to kill time and maybe find something to eat. It’s definitely a cute place to walk around. I look in a few shops. Most of the restaurants seem pricey. There’s a Hello Kitty cafe with sweets such as these. I end up with a steamed bun instead.
I walk toward the metro in Gion. I know Gion is not the best place to eat but I’m hungry. I order my favorite and am so disappointed. The shrimp isn’t even good! Ugh. How is this even possible. With every person that enters I want to scream, “No, it’s a trap!” So far it’s the worst meal in Japan. At least I ate.
While waiting for the train, I accidentally got on this posh commuter train. Wow! I had enough time to back out and get on the train I needed.
Fushimi Inari Shrine for night photos! It is super creepy walking by yourself and of course I had to read some blog post that talks about wild animals in the area. (: I am surprised to run into quite of few people here. I guess it is a holiday for students and Halloween weekend. Definitely a great spot for Halloween. I don’t make it to the top as I don’t see any reason to. Perhaps if I was with friends… Telling ghost stories along the way. Besides, I plan on returning during the day.
Right where the torri gates begin, off to the side, is a statue of two foxes forming a ring. In the past I’d see kids standing here trying to throw rocks through the hole. Tonight I see three men in suits. Two of them hold up their cell phones to shine light on the statue while the third made attempts to toss the rocks in the center, laughing like a bunch of school boys. I love these moments.
I’m so done… Quick ride on the metro and a short walk to the hostel. I shower and gather a few things to blog and figure out more plans. There’s an older guy here doing his own thing and he shares some peanuts from Thailand (or some other place) and I share the pistachios from Istanbul. We talk for a bit but it’s getting late. I finish up and go to sleep way too late. Sigh.