Japan Part 2- Kyoto

Monday, 23 December 2013

After 4 nights in Tokyo we headed to Kyoto on the bullet train (shinkansen) which exceeded my expectations completely. I expected it to be like a normal subway train but it's actually more like traveling first class on a plane! The seats are large and luxurious, there are trays for your food and attendants rolling down the aisles with hot drinks and bento boxes for sale. We covered the 360km in 3 hours and I dozed off with my mouth open several times because it was so comfortable :P.

Our hotel was a 2 minute walk away from Shijo station and my goodness, I really recommend Karasuma Kyoto Hotel! Compared to the Blue Wave Inn in Asukasa which was teeny tiny, the lobby was grand and luxurious and the room massive, not to mention a really decent view! There was a Starbucks in the complex too which was awesome for chilling with sore feet from shopping. I was really sad to leave that hotel, it was cheap, comfortable and in a great location- just a few hundred meters away from the shopping streets!

Our room at Blue Wave was less than half this size!
Cities and mountains
Repost- Japanese method of applying blush.
The tiny bathrooms are pretty standard. They don't bother me at all.
My OOTD- new coat from Japanese brand Egoist for $80. It's so warm and fuzzy! I'm wearing thigh high heat tech socks from Uniqlo, I'm amazed that they actually work- my legs have not been cold at all despite temperatures of ~5 degrees!

Then we went shopping in the area around Kawaramachi Street where I tried oden from the combini (convenience store). Oden is like a hot soup with winter ingredients such as radish, eggs and tofu. It looks highly dubious as all the items are sitting in a vat of brown soup in the middle of a convenience store and I would have turned my nose up at it if not for Cheesie's posts on oden. So I tried it! 

........ It was delicious! And under $2!

Yanto bought some shoes from this incense-infused hippie store that played dopey remixes of Christmas carols and sold all sorts of strange things as seen below:

There are many shrines and temples in Kyoto, some of which were directly in the shopping mall. At first I found the contrast strange, but when you go inside the shrine, all the hustle and noise somehow stops and it feels peaceful and calm. It was a nice break from overpriced stores and overplayed Christmas carols.

Washing for good luck. Make sure you do it in the correct order!
Dinner was hilarious- we spent 45 minutes trying to track down a mysterious shabu shabu restaurant featured in the tourist guide to no avail. We trekked down strange dark alleys for ages squinting at every Japanese character on the street until we came to the conclusion it must have shut down! We hungrily walked 2km back to the hotel and after being turned away from a fancy restaurant, were coddled by a waitress into trying her restaurant. We followed her down a winding spiral staircase into a basement where we had to take our shoes off and were waved into a tiny private room with a sliding door with space for just two. It felt pretty sleazy.

We guessed that the 'restaurant' was actually a bar for rowdy businessmen/guys trying to get into some panties. It was super loud and I honestly don't think anyone was there for the food which was all sorts of random! It was also one of the most expensive meals we had -__- but it was quite the experience! I think it was called Uotami Karasuma.
I ordered raw horse meat out of curiosity. It was really chewy... Actually all our food was chewy! I did not like it one bit.
My kimchi stew which was expensive and average. It's quite photogenic though!
Dessert. Cornflakes seem to feature in a lot of Japanese desserts.
Day 2

The next day we went to the markets at the To-ji temple. We got lost (as usual) along the way and it was cold and rainy and I was quite the grumpy old lady :P.

My FOTD- tried out orange blush under the eyes. I like pink much better.
My tendency to request a photo with every random object on holiday. This was a rather average green tea scone lol.
The To-ji markets were really interesting and I picked up a few awesome pieces! here's some examples of the things they sold:
Feather paintbrushes.
Dog figurines.
The best takoyaki (octopus ball) I have ever tasted! It was so creamy and tastes nothing like the ones in Perth! Oh Japan <3.
Red bean pancake.
The pancake vendor helped take a photo of us. All of them were blurry, but he was so sweet so here's one for memory's sake.
We went back to Kawaramachi Street for shopping. This is what it looks like: endless indoor hallways of all sorts of shops! You can find everything in here so I go recommend taking a look.

Our failed Purika :P. We had to enter our names in characters at the start, of course Yanto got his in time, but I mistook the character for Ki as Sa and then didn't get time to finish writing 'Kine'. So it says at the top 'Yanto & Sa'. *facepalm*
Lunch set, the closest tray was mine and it cost less than $8!
Beauty haul!
My garden objects from the 100 Yen shop to decorate my dresser. Aren't they adorable!
We finished off the day with a romantic walk through the Arishiyama temples which were lit by thousands of lanterns. Pictures in next post! All in all I think I liked Kyoto better than Tokyo. If only we had more than 1 and a half days to explore it!


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