Mar 24, 2012

Kansai Trip, part 1

So my trip began the Friday before, on the 16th.  Had work that day but brought my duffel bag and backpack to work so i could go straight to catch the highway bus after we clocked out.  Would've preferred to take the Willer Bus down, but i would've had to catch it at Shinjuku station and i didn't think i'd have time to catch a train out there right after work so i opted for a bus that left from my station.  Definitely not as comfortable as the Willer buses, hardly slept and would wake up at least every hour with a terrible crick in my neck.

Sign at Uji Station
Finally arrived in Uji, Kyoto around 6:30am Saturday morning and then hopped a train to take me to Kyoto Station.  From Kyoto Station i had to take a bus to the guesthouse (same guesthouse S and i stayed at last year!).  There were a couple other foreigners on the bus carrying luggage and they ended up getting off at the same stop as me.  Wondered if they would be staying at the same place, but as i tend to walk really fast i left them in my dust.  About 10 minutes after i had arrived at the guesthouse though, in they walked as well!  I don't really walk that fast, i'm pretty sure they had a little trouble finding the place..
We both sat at the table in the kitchen area and chatted.  There were a lot more people staying there than last time, i was surprised.  But again, i guess it's not too surprising as last year was just after the earthquake and, despite being at the other end of the country away from all the tsunami and nuclear happenings, tourists just weren't keen on coming here.  Anywho, we chatted also with a few of the people that came into the kitchen for breakfast before i decided i really needed a shower and we all parted ways for the day.

After i was cleaned i decided i wanted to go visit my favourite temple- Kiyomizu.  I didn't go past the part where you have to pay, but instead i enjoyed looking in the shops all along the street leading up to the temple, and around the temple grounds that everyone had access to.

You can see Kyoto Tower off in the distance

Was lured into a souvenir shop with a sample of some hot green tea and also got to enjoy tons of samples they had out of different Japanese sweets.  Sat down next to this guy to enjoy them.
Another cool little street around Kiyomizu
I found Totoro waiting at the bus stop!
Some trees starting to bloom
After i looked at all that i could look at, i headed over to the shopping district in Kawaramachi.  As i was wandering the streets my ear caught wind of some festive music, and not just any music- it was an Irish jig!  Surprise surprise, I had discovered a little St. Patrick's Day festival in the middle of Kyoto.  :D  The song that starts off in the video you might recognize if you've seen a certain well-known movie about a certain well-known ship that sinks (may or may not have struck an iceberg).  Sadly i had just caught the tail end of the festival, but i did get my Bailey's fix and looked at the tables of stuff they had set up before they started packing everything away.  Was glad to get a little St. Patty's celebration in for the day as i thought i'd have to go yet another year without getting into the spirit.  St. Patty's has always been big for me, what with considering my very Irish heritage and all..

(Apparently any country is willing to adopt a holiday that promotes drinking and shenanigans)

Went back to the guesthouse in the evening to drop off the gifts that i'd bought and freshen up and relax a bit before heading back to Kyoto Station to meet up with J, who was coming all the way from Himeji after a full day of work!  We stopped by the guesthouse for him to drop off his stuff before walking to an izakaya to meet our awesome little K-chan!  :D  We ate and drank and talked for a few hours, and gave K-chan an early birthday present before he had to go and get some sleep so he could be up for work in the morning.  Sad these things never seem to last long enough.  :(

Mah boys!  :D

Yum yum brownie dessert
Making K-chan look pretty with the flower from my drink
Yeah, the drink that the above flower came from?  Pretty fantastic.  But only in looks.  The taste was just so-so.

So that was my first day.  Pretty hectic and exhausting, and very long, but definitely very worth it.


Gina said...

Catching up with you now. You were in Osaka when we were! How funny. : )

-chai- said...

Oh wow, haha! What a coincidence! :D

Judith said...

Sounds like a great day. And it gives me some ideas of what to see when I'm in Kyoto. Thanks!

~* Shaly Monster *~ said...

aww, i wanted to be there with you guys!! life is so unfair sometimes =(

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