Saturday, January 13, 2007

Japan 2006 - Part 4 - Tokyo to Kyoto

Oct 4, 2006

Up at 8:15 and out the door at 8:40. Had no trouble negotiating rush hour subway and commuter train traffic and made it to Tokyo Station @ 9:10. Bought 2 Iced Coffees and 4 pastries at Café Chez La Gare for 1420 Yen and got on the 9:36 Hakari to Kyoto.

The train ride was uneventful and we could not see Mt Fuji because of the clouds.

Here’s some video I took out the window as the bullet train pulled out of the station.

Pulled in on time @ 12:20 to Kyoto Station and by 12:40 we were at Yuhara Ryokan Inn, which is about 20 minutes walking with packs, from Kyoto Station.

The ryokan check-in was not until 3:00PM so we dropped off the bags, signed in, and walked NW to catch the subway up to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. We arrived at the “Imperial Palace Household Office” at 1:40, just in time for the 2PM English tour. Picked up a couple of ice-cream sandwiches for 100 yen each.

The guided tour lasted for one hour, mainly for non-Japanese citizens, and was a good look at the outside of the buildings and gardens.

Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden
Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden

After the tour we rested, plotted, and then rode bus #102 over to the start of the so-called Philosopher’s Walk. Funny - we had recently been in Heidelberg Germany, home of another famous Philosopher’s walk. It began to rain just as started down the path, so we bought 2 soft ice creams, and waited. No improvement, so down the Philosopher’s Walk we went. Not too many tourists, just the occasional dog walker. We walked past many temples, shrines, shops, restaurants, and emerged west of the Heinan Shrine with its Big Red Gate.

Big Red Gate ...

Visited Heian Shrine then walked south through more temples, picked up a veggie bento box at a 7-iholding convenience store (7-11) and continued to the top of the hill where we could see Kyoto Tower in the distance, and then walked downhill, over the River, arriving back at the Yuhara around 6:30 – quite a walk.

Then out to dinner in the neighborhood at 38 Korea Noodle Mansion. Two guys were working behind the counter (see photo). At first we tried using English to tell them we were vegetarians. Some success. Then on a whim I tried Chinese. Turns out both guys are Chinese. They were surprise to hear me speak Chinese. ;-) We had 2 Suntory malt drafts, 1 stone bowl, 1 noodle soup, for 3200 – kinda steep. Then back to Yuhara, had a traditional Japanese bath, and hit the sack.

The two Chinese cooks at 38 Korea Noodle Mansion.
38 Korea Noodle Mansion - Kyoto

SLHOTD: Philosopher’s Walk.
Philosopher's Walk - Kyoto

To see all the photos from Oct 4, click here.

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