Kyoto Bound

October 27th, 2005 by smoop

8 great iPhotos

Originally uploaded by Monatopia.

Too. Much. Luggage. We left one bag stuffed with CD’s, shopping, and things we just had no idea why we packed in the first place in Tokyo. Yet we still had an embarrassing amount of luggage. Later in the trip we would find out that it was MUCH more embarrassing then we realized. Turns out that Japan has an un-advertised service in which any hotel or Ryokan will ship your bags to your next hotel where they will be waiting in your room when you check in.

For about $10-$15 dollars.

Ok. Re-reading that, I have realized that you might have no idea why we would want to pay for that. Let me explain.

* Our weight in luggage.
* Public Transportation.
* Many Many Stairs.
* All the above while lost.

Not to mention that you can ship your shopping to your final destination and have it waiting in your room when you arrive. Had I known that, some of you might have received presents.

Heh. Sorry.

So, we arrive in Kyoto after a 160-minute train ride through the beautiful Japanese country side, thanking the Japan Rail Pass all the way while munching on an ekiben (Japanese lunch box for the train) filled with fairly unrecognizable food. I did recognize the rice of course, but even that tasted different. We arrive rested and relaxed and looking forward to Kyoto.

We wrestle our luggage to street level and Scott takes out the papers for our fabulous Ryokan. He flips through them. There is no map, simply a note that the ryokan is 8 minutes walk from the station.

No idea which way.

The street names are all in Kanji so it doesn’t much matter if we have a map. We call the ryokan. The owner speaks a little English and tells us to walk away from the park. Or maybe it was along the park. Can’t tell.

Hmm… We use the San Filippo super power (which does indeed work overseas) and grab a cab. We call the Ryokan and have the man speak with the cab driver.

Turns out it was away from the park. But not in the way we thought.

We arrive at the ryokan and watch helplessly as the ryokan owners grab our suitcases and struggle to get them to our room for us. They look horribly out of place in our beautiful japanese style room.

Our hosts are amazingly helpful when we ask about a resturant for dinner. We had read about the Kyoto style cuisine, Kyo-ryori, but also heard that it was very hard to get into a decent place, and that if you could, that it would be very expensive. Oh, and that most don’t serve foreigners. We didn’t even dream we would get the dinner we ended up with. I’ll address it in a separate post.

After we were settled, we took a walk around our neighborhood. Upon arriving it actually looked a bit … suburban, but once we went out and started walking around we realized there was an amazing find around every corner. And in every alley.

Our first find was the Temple of Sports. Sports that involve balls. Yes, you read that right. A temple that is dedicated not only to sports, but JUST to the sports that involve balls. A large collection of baseballs, soccer balls, and the like were displayed. As we are marvelling at the sanctity of the temple, a man comes barrelling through on a bicycle cutting through the temple grounds with as much thought as I have when I cut across the parking lot at the CalMart.

This was also the night that we discovered the Japanese Coffee House… another kind of temple. More on that later. Now, on to the temple of food!

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