Nic & Laura

Kyoto

10/17/2010

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We arrived at Kyoto Station and were immediately shocked at the size of it. You find yourself standing in the middle of a massive Architectural masterpiece (have a look on Google). This is not exactly the image that we had created in our minds, is it true that Kyoto is not a cobble stone ancient city that still lives in the middle ages, I guess not!


Finding the Tourist Information Centre (or TIC as they like to call it in Japan) was easy. We pulled out the name and address for our hostel and asked for directions. We were pleased to see that the guy behind the desk immediately recognized the place and pulled out a map and sent us merrily on our way. Arriving at the hostel about 20 minutes later was satisfying, the place was beautiful and we passed a massive temple on the way that we planned to go back and visit. All is going swimmingly at this point, but there would be a problem. I had booked the hostel online that morning but they didn't seem to have the booking (granted we were there a little before check-in). The young lady behind the counter busied herself behind the desk and disappeared into the back room, the thing about Japan is that their Customer Service is 2nd to none, they always smile and they always help you no matter what the problem. She returned and asked to see the details of the hostel, I complied and was informed that there was actually a hostel of a very similar name on the other side of town, she then gave us directions, apologized, offered to call us a taxi and then sent us packing. 


Down a back alley, across the road from a construction site, we arrived at our actual hostel. How could we have been so naive as to think that the previous hostel was correct, this was more like our style. It turns out that this hostel in Kyoto was linked to the hostel in Osaka (Yumi - the Peace House Osaka owner was indeed the owner of this). If we had contacted her first, we would have been able to get a discount, what is it they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing. After all this walking we decided to have a quick dinner around the corner and get an early night so as to be bright and ready for our sightseeing in the morning. 


The hostel had a good deal on bikes so we decided to hire a couple and explore the city that way. Shorts on, little jumper in the bag in case it gets cold and a pair of flip flops, Kyoto here we come. We had met a teacher from Brighton in the morning who had given us a list of things to see. At the first temple we were accosted by some school children who wanted to practice their English - we signed their little notebooks and were presented with some origami cranes and a little note to say thanks - maybe accosted was a little strong. Heading on through the small back streets of Kyoto's old town the heavens decided to open, in case you had forgotten, we were not dressed for this. We trooped on and eventually came to a Temple that would prove to potentially be our favorite. A magnificent gateway towered above us, revealing through it's mouth, a stairway to heaven. At the top was a magical village of monks and a Temple that we humbly entered. We sat down to marvel in it's beauty and within minutes were told to leave, we arrived too late and the Temple was closing to the public.


We navigated home and prepared for our dinner with Aidan, Yuriko and family (they were also in Kyoto and had asked us to join them for dinner). Dinner was great accompanied by great people and good beer. Rosemary (Aidan's mum) paid for everyone to have dinner and we were really touched - she lives in Tasmania so maybe we'll return the favor!  


Back in bed and off to sleep, tomorrow will be a long day. We walked around on a long round trip to the station, trying to take in as much of this magical place before returning to Sasayama. When we did, we were again rewarded with that great Japanese service when the bus driver dropped us off at the door. We were greeted by Seth and Toby and it was a great sense of returning home. It was hard to leave Kyoto (it may have been easier if we'd known we'd be back there a week later), but good to be back!
 


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    About Us

    We met on the 8th of July 2005 and were together for exactly 5 years when we were married on the 8th of July 2010 at Taagepera Castle in Estonia. This website is devoted to our married life and the future that we plan to share together.

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