Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Sadly, my time in Tokyo would be over for now (I would be heading back for one more night before flying home), but at least that would mean that Kyoto would be the next destination on the Japan trip. I had heard so much about this place- how truly beautiful, amazing and romantic it is, so I woke up very excited. Note: Kyoto was Japan's capital for more than 10 centuries. Before leaving Asakusa, I stopped for breakfast and had some Curry rice...Cold Soba Noodles... And Fried Pork Cutlet topped with fried egg and cheese over rice... Next, it was time to to head to Tokyo station and catch the JR train line for the 2 and 1/2 hour journey to Kyoto. The trains are very punctual, and since I opted to spend the extra money ($80 more), I sat in the green section of the train which is spacious and luxurious because it is considered first class. The views along the way of the countryside in Japan are stunning...and you can see so many rice paddy fields. I arrived in Kyoto a little before 4pm, and took a taxi to where I would be staying for the next three nights- Tawaraya- a Ryokan. I was so happy to be leaving the youth hostel in Asakusa for this wonderful place! :) Tawaraya is the most famous of Kyoto's traditional inns. It's hosted dignitaries, presidents, and royalty. Recent notable guests have also included Keanu Reeves and Steven Spielberg (not too shabby!) I loved my room! It was very simple, but so nice, and the service was beyond top notch. Check out the traditional Japanese soaking tub in the bathroom...my favorite thing in the world! It's filled with really hot water. You must shower and scrub your body first before getting in...I could have stayed in that thing for hours! After settling in, I headed right out to explore downtown Kyoto, which is quite compact and easy to navigate on foot. I walked around to get a quick lay of the land, grabbed some sushi for dinner, and then headed to the Gion District to see some Geisha ducking in and out of houses on Hanamikoji-dori's cobblestone streets.

It was so neat to see them in their make-up and kimonos- they look like porcelain dolls in real life. You have to be quick to spot them, because they move quickly and don't wait around for you to take their picture (although I got a little lucky because I was standing next to a Japanese woman who asked them in Japanese if they could stand still for a minute while we snapped our photos...yay!) Tawaraya has an 11pm curfew, so after some Geisha watching, it was time to head back for bed. Look at how nice the room is converted from daytime with the sitting table in the center, to nighttime with the futons on the floor. Plus, notice how they provide you with nightgowns to sleep in...it was wonderful (perhaps the BEST night sleep I have ever had in my life)!!!
Stay tuned for more from Kyoto!

No comments:

Post a Comment