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Kyoto, Japan

Beautiful city, not-so-beautiful accommodation


We arrived to find a huge modern train station, complete with 11 storey shopping centre and a huge Xmas tree.


Upon leaving the train station, Kyoto is a bit of a disappointment. It is essentially a modern concrete city built around some of the most historic sights in Japan and all of the good stuff is initially hidden from view.

Finding somewhere to stay in Kyoto was a pain. Our landlady in Nikko did her best for us and spent an afternoon ringing around. In the end, she found a "simple place", near to the station and under £50 a night... We arrived to drop our bags off before heading out for a day of sightseeing. It smelt of dog and was a bit chaotic, but was in a decent location. More on this later...

We headed to the Higashiyama district and headed for its main attractions...

Kiyomizu-dera; a big wooden building on stilts, lots of people, stunning despite construction works and the number of tourists (Japanese tourists are generally calm, don't shout or elbow, so crowds are much more manageable)...


Gion - the old geisha district. We saw a quite a few, but suspect they were paying for the privilege rather than being paid, judging by the quality on show! This area is very touristy, but that's seems to have preserved buildings that have been torn down elsewhere in the city. In the backstreets, there are some pretty exclusive residencies, restaurants and Ryokan. We walked on to find somewhere a bit more in our price range for lunch.


We were a little late for lunch and most places were closed. We followed our noses, though a curtain and into a great Ramen noodle shop. They mixed the broth with a spade in a couldren - it smelt and tasted amazing!


After a bit more walking around and an ice cream stop, it was time to head back to our guesthouse. The place was a maze, stuff everywhere, yapping dogs, a strong smell of garbage and one toilet for who knows how many guests (at least a dozen). As this was the most expensive place we had stayed, we weren't too pleased. We sat in our room, which smelled, bit looked clean enough and heard scurrying on the ceiling above... we were looking forward to 4 nights in one place, but we were in quick agreement that this would be for one night only! The internet was broken, so we couldn't even search for somewhere else! We spent the evening outside a tourist office with free WiFi, looking for somewhere new, followed by a whisky or two to drown our sorrows.

The next day we got out of the guesthouse early , hired some bikes and headed off on a loop of the north west area of Kyoto.

We toured a fair few temples...


Kinkaku-ji - the golden temple. It's one of Japan's top photographed images and is well worth seeing. This is also where Sophie's new nickname comes from... Ginger Carp.


Riyoan-ji - the Zen garden (some rocks in gravel to have a really good think about).


Ninna-ji. Nice and relaxing. Covered walkways connect loads of temple buildings around gardens with some weird flowers.


Finally, we had time for a stroll along the bamboo path, before cycling for an hour back to the train station to catch the Shinkansen to Hiroshima. A fun, but pretty tiring day.


Posted by bloorsontour 05:02 Archived in Japan

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Beautiful photos! Shame about the accommodation xxx

by mutsi

Cant win em all! Beautiful photos though xx

by the wrinklies

We loved Kyoto stayed for 3 nights in a gorgeous J hoppers hostel for £9 a night. With a great bar serving plum wine. Could have directed you there if I'd have known you were struggling. Xxxx

by Kayles

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