After another nice Japanese breakfast, where Joel didn’t even eat his fish, we packed up our luggage and caught the bus to Kyoto station. We stored our bags and excess gear in a locker, and booked our Shinkansen ticket on the 3:29pm to Tokyo before catching the bus to Kiyomizu Temple.
The temple has great views over the city and you can easily see the Kyoto tower from the veranda. It has some nice fountains, but personally I didn’t find it as impressive as some of the other temples we have visited. Of interest was the long line to take a drink from a fountain that is supposed to have therapeutic properties.
From Kiyomizu we went by bus back to Kyoto station and then used our JR passes to catch a train to Inari to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This shrine is renowned for its Tori gates, literally thousands of them. They make tunnels that go up the mountain to a shrine at the top; there are massive ones at the entrance and small ones placed on tombs in the graveyard.
When we arrived discovered the main temple was undergoing restoration, but since we came to see the Tori gates this didn’t matter so much. We also arrived towards the end of some type of blessing ceremony, with shrine maidens playing different instruments and dancing with bells. Unfortunately this performance had a special no photography sign and a guard enforcing it, as another tourist discovered.
The Tori gates were as numerous as expected, we started walking up the path and we were just surrounded by the gates. We walked about half way up the mountain, but the total walk was around 4km and we had to head back due to time constraints.
Back at Kyoto station we had some spaghetti for lunch. I had mine with bacon and mustard leaves, while Joel had egg with carbonara. We had given ourselves too much leeway with the time, so rested for around 40 min in the nice cool AC waiting room.
The Shinkansen trip was nice, although a bit sad as this will be our last trip on them. To get to Narita on Sunday we will take the N’EX which although similar to Shinkansen is a different system. Also the windows were a bit dirty on the outside so photos were a bit smudged.
After arriving at Tokyo we took the local line 1 stop to Yurakucho to transfer to the private Tokyo Subway line to get to Jimbocho, where our accommodation at the Sakura Hotel is located.
Our twin room at the Sakura is a bunk bed. I choose the top bunk which I quickly regretted. I am used to lower bunks being very low and hitting my head, but here the bottom bunk is quite spacious. The top bunk will require extra effort to get into, is higher thus warmer, and does not have as easy to access power. On the upside I get to use the desk as I can’t sit and type on the bed like Joel can. The room itself is quite small (this is budget accommodation) and the amenities are shared in a central area of the rooms on this floor.
There is WiFi internet in the café on the ground floor, but it doesn’t reach to us up here on 5th. There is also supposed to be a VDSL modem to allow internet access in the room, but we could not get it to work. I tried 3 different modems, but it could also be the long phone line or the phone itself. This just means to post blog updates we will need to go down to the café, also no Skype for us.
For dinner we went to a Sushi restaurant and had a set 9 item menu. 8 pieces of sushi and a bowl of Miso soup, the pieces were quite interesting and had a nice variety of flavours. We had some egg, salmon, squid and octopus that we could identify and some other unknown types of fish.