Wednesday – April 12, 2017
We woke up early (8am) this morning as it was our last day in Osaka and our first of two days in Kyoto. We got the Air BnB tidy before we left and then made our way to Shin-Osaka station. There we took the 10:43 Shinkansen to Kyoto. Being that the bullet train gets you to Kyoto in about 10 minutes I figured we’d get a pretty good jump on the day. Little did I know how wrong I was.
When we arrived at Kyoto station, we had to take two trains to get to Sanjo station; the station nearest to our Air Bnb. It was too early to check in so we put our bags in lockers so we could retrieve them later in the day when we got back from our adventures.
Area near our Air BnB
We then exited the station and crossed the bridge to where our Air BnB was. Our plan, before doing anything else, was to grab a bite to eat. Being that I had done a bit of Google street view snooping a few months before, I knew that there was a quaint breakfast spot right on the corner of where our Air BnB was. I pointed this out to Dan who vetoed it.
We then crossed the street to a pizza place but upon inquiring, the wait was over an hour and this was time we didn’t have to spare. I was getting antsy, not because I had been vetoed, but because I just wanted to pick a place and eat so we could get started on our adventures.
Dan, misreading my frustration, was also getting frustrated because we couldn’t agree on where to eat. Thus, he made the executive decision for all of us to split up and find our own place to eat. I suggested we meet back in 20 minutes and that is exactly what we did. Though this idea was the right decision to make I hated that there was now tension in the air.
That said, I went to the aforementioned breakfast place on the corner. Dan went to a local Japanese place. And Pete, being unadventurous and predictable as usual, went to Burger King. And he says he’s gonna lose 10 pounds on this trip… yeah… right.
Area across the street from our Air BnB
I got this makeshift pizza thing which was very good but not very filling. Needless to say, I finished first and so I went into this designer t-shirt store I saw across the street. They had all of these really cool t-shirts. Though another t-shirt is literally the last thing I need, I might grab one I was eyeing before we leave Kyoto because, fuck it, I’m on vacation.
We reconvened at 12:40 and made our way to train station. This is where things went from bad to worse. I don’t know how it happened but despite us all reading the same sign I somehow managed to make us take the wrong train. We went all the way to the end of the line and then had to backtrack to fix the problem.
I was very disappointed in myself and felt the weight and anger of the others pressing down hard on me. I was super depressed and knew that Dan in particular hated me. Eventually however, we made our way to Daigo station where a woman helped us figure out where we needed to go, and we took the bus to Daigoji temple.
However, to add insult to injury, because I only had large denomination bills and not smaller 100 Yen coins, I didn’t have the bus fare to pay for the ride. I literally gave the driver all of the change I had and, thankfully he let me off without hassle.
We arrived at Daigo-Ji temple around 14:00. We walked straight to the mid section of the park (btw the temple is basically part of a big park) only to realize that we needed to buy a ticket to access the various sections.
We went back to the front where I broke my 10,000 Yen note to pay the 1,500 Yen fee to get a ticket. This gave me the change I needed to pay for the bus ride back. We then made our way to the back of the park, specifically to the Bentendo shrine.
As we made our way through the nature paths I felt a lot of the stress start to dissipate. The trees, cherry blossoms, shrines and running water were all very tranquil. This was why we came to Kyoto. Everyone’s mood lightened. Then, suddenly, it was right in front of us.
Bentendo at Daigo-Ji
The Bentendo Shrine is like something out of a Japanese fable. Nestled in the woods on a pond with mountains in the background, you simply don’t see things like this every day. We made our way further into the park and then back out through the other few sections before moving on to our next stop.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
We took the bus back to Daigo station and took two trains to get to Inari station. We arrived at Inari around 16:15 and literally crossed the street to get to the Inari Shrine. When we arrived we found it was packed with tourists.
I really hated seeing that many white people in one place. I hated hearing so much English being spoken. I came to Japan to get away from Americans, not to interact with them. In any case, we made our way up the first of many stairs and were faced with yet another famous Kyoto site, the Tori gates.
As we walked through them, they were packed with people. However, the higher up we got, the thinner the crowds and soon it was possible to stop and take pictures. Eventually we got to a high point on the path where there was a lookout where you could see the city and the mountains in the distance. It was there where we realized we had a ton further to go to reach the top.
Because there was so far to go and because I was cold and hungry and because it was getting dark we decided to head back down the mountain. We took a 18:07 train back to Sanjo station and grabbed our stuff out of the lockers so we could finally check into the Air BnB. Once there I immediately dropped my stuff off and went out to grab food because I was starving.
Air BnB/Avocado Restaurant
Earlier, when we were all on our own food hunt for brunch, I had found a Mexican restaurant called Avocado that looked interesting so I decided to try it out. The place was a little hole in the wall but was exactly what I was looking for. I grabbed three orders of tacos; beef, pork and shrimp.
Bar at Avocado restaurant in Kyoto
Each order came with two tacos and I made sure to get one flour tortilla and one corn tortilla. I also got a Day of the Dead Hefeweizen beer which was delicious. As much as I want to have Japanese food while I’m here, it was nice to have something I know I love.
The place was a bit pricey for the amount of food I got, but since I’m on vacation and I had budgeted and I hadn’t had lunch and I was hungry as shit, I didn’t care. After I ate, I came back to the room and wrote yesterday and today’s blogs before organizing my shit for tomorrow and turning in for the night.
PS While walking back from Sanjo station to the Air BnB, Pete spotted a Midnight Silver “Spectre” Model S.