Monday, October 10, 2011

Japan - Day 9 - Off to Kyoto

Well it turned out to be an early morning in Hakone.  The phone rang around 6:50 when we weren’t planning on getting up for another 25 minutes.  Theresa eventually found the phone after quite a few rings.  Jacob was letting us know that the skies were pretty clear and Mt. Fuji was visible.  Theresa was still half asleep and tried to hang the phone up on the wall, and then it started beeping at her.  Sure enough, we went out to the balcony and Fuji was there with a really pretty view of the valley with some cloud cover. 

We grabbed some shots and then headed back to eat breakfast.  Tasty Cup Noodles and a sandwich.  We then went back up to the roof to get more shots. 

Jacob and Ruston made use of their robes.  

 We met Jake and Ruston at 8am and headed out to the bus.  Here's the outside of the hotel just in case you happen to be driving by so you don't miss it like we did.

Instead of doing the Sky Gondola, we were going to be taking a long bus ride all the way back to Oduwara Station. 

Theresa was glad to have the motion sickness patch on because that ride was windy and twisting.  Some of those streets were pretty narrow too.  Those bus drivers impress me sometimes.   

Back at Oduwara station we got our luggage out of the locker.  We sure were glad to not have to carry all that around the day before.  We also grabbed some snacks for our trip to Kyoto.

Those trains go really fast.  We took pictures and video while we were waiting.

I'm a bit surprised there are openings along railings without gates.

Along the way, I was looking out the window and Mt Fuji appeared again, though it was a bit hazy.  From this side, you could see the whole slope of it. 

Some of us were a little tired.

We got in to Kyoto after about 2 hours.  The Citadines hotel was only a little over a kilometer from the Kyoto station and we decided to just walk it.  Along the way we saw lots of tasty food for much cheaper prices than Tokyo.  We made it to the Citadines and again were impressed by the niceness of the hotel.  Very clean and modern.  They're 2 for 2 in our book (the one in Tokyo was nice too) so we're going to be looking for Citadines now for all our international travel.  Only Jacob and Ruston’s room was available, so we changed clothes and left all our bags in their room. 

Rooms were fairly large.

Lunch was a great tempura place right next to the hotel. Jake and T had tempura, while Ruston had a veggie plate (with surprise bits of meat) and I had fried chicken. 

We then went to the Mcdonalds just a couple stores away and had an ice cream cone to make up for the one we couldn’t get yesterday.  T got a cone, while Jake and I got the smallest McFlurries you’ve ever seen and Ruston got a sundae.  We also saw they had apple pies, and not just the okay baked apple pies we have back home.  These were the tasty fried apple pies. Yum Yum!

We then walked to a big temple we passed while we walking to our hotel.  I think this is all considered Higashi Honganji. 

Ruston created another 360 view here.

We then walked into the temple where we had to take off our shoes.  No pictures allowed in here.  There were two separate temples, both floors covered with mats for people to kneel, while the front had Buddhist shrines.  There was some sort of ceremony going on at the front so we tried to sit down like the locals.  Kneeling and sitting on your feet.  Yeah.. that did last very long.  We quickly switched to standard Indian style soon after.

We walked over to the gardens, but they cost 500 yen per person and we would have only had 30 minutes.  We decided to save it for another day possibly and just see what else we could see on foot.  
It seems like everywhere we walked here, we passed a shrine or temple.  They are all over.  I think the next few are from Hirano-jinja.

Along our way, we went through Gion, the Geisha district.

Next on our list was the Yasaka-jinja Shrine.  

These looked like they were blowing in the wind, but when we looked closer, we saw small motors making them move.

There were some very pretty gardens and trees back here.

And some purple berries.

No Theresa!

These signs were on the a few walkways.  Apparently we need to watch for strangely proportioned Alien adults and Alien children with antennas.

Along the way, there were Buddha statues.

Our last site of the day was the Toji Temple.

Theresa being crazy for the camera.

All day long, we had passed vending machines and this was one of our more interesting finds.  Jacob and Ruston had seen a pancake drink in Tokyo that we’ve been looking for in the vending machines.  I saw something that looked like milk and eggs and thought that might be it.  It wasn’t but reading the can, it promised to be the best tasting milk shake ever.  We hurriedly put our coins in so we could try this delicious heaven in a can.  Well it turned out to be just a weak, watery vanilla milk shake.  Bleh.

We had done quite a bit of walking today and were ready to head back to our hotel.  In all our wandering, we were about 2 miles from our hotel.  Along the way, we pulled our map out just to make sure we were going the right direction, and again we had another experience of someone willing to help us out.  We had our map out for probably 30 seconds and a lady crossed the street to come over to us to see if we needed help finding something.  Wow.
We got to the hotel and chilled for an hour then headed to dinner.  Jacob and Ruston decided on McDonalds, but me and T wanted something different.  We walked back towards Kyoto station and stopped at a Paris CafĂ© where they had sandwiches.  The French rolls they served them on were tasty.  We then went to a 7/11 to get drinks and snacks then planned out the rest of the Kyoto time with Jacob and Ruston.  Tomorrow should be a more relaxing day.

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