Day 1 : Kyoto

Well, after not having a shower available, we put back on our dirties and headed out the door to the unknown!

I do have to say that it isn’t weird being in a country where I understand nothing and can read even less. Have I done too much travelling already? or lived too long in India? Very few things feel very foreign to me these days — which kind of takes the fun out of travelling to be honest. I know that I can easily get around and manage with no local vocabulary and there is always somewhere to shop 🙂

We walked down the road a bit checking places out and trying to find our first lunch spot! We made it to some mall and everything I had read said that often the best and cheapest food is in the basement of malls… No such luck here though. We did manage to walk around the grocery store looking at all the food and sampling it as we went along! No idea what we tried, but most things were surprisingly good! To tide us over for some more adventuring we ate some little cripsy cream filled thing… which i thought was going to be a baked potato! (Note: Most restuarants and eateries have photos of everything… but these photos aren’t always so detailed!)

Back out on the streets we were roasting in the heat (but thankfully no humidity!) but managed to find a Soba noodle joint that was on the recommended list from our guesthouse. We walked in to a tiny little place to be greeted with tons of “welcomes” in japanese and felt that we must stay no matter what now! We sat down and were quickly brought water and green tea along with an english menu! Whew… we had been looking at the regular one and had NO clue what we were going to order! We managed to order.. shrimp soba noodles for folo and tofu soba for me! We sucked them down and just enjoyed our first little meal in Japan! So far so good.. no major catastrophes yet!

Not sure what to do, we referred to our handy travellers bible (lonely planet) to see what was in our neighborhood. It looked like a temple wasn’t too far away, so we decided to start walking. After about an hour of this (with aching feet) we decided that we weren’t going to find it so we better just hop on a bus and head somewhere else! Not sure what the protocol was, we boarded where the rest of the folks did (the back) and then just kind of stood around waiting… In India someone comes to take your fare. I searched and searched, but didn’t see anyone. Then I saw some girl go up the front and put some money in a slot. So i thought I should do the same!! Oops… it was a change machine!! haha. Well now we have plenty of change 🙂 Our first bus experience was pretty smooth.

We just hoped on the first bus we saw and it was heading towards Gingkuji temple which was on our list. We knew we’d already missed the closing times, but thought we could just walk around for a bit. We ended up walking all along the “Path of philosophy” enjoying the quiet, the kitty cats and of course the Japanese homes. Starving and with aching feet we decided we better find out way out of the ‘wooded’ area and find a bus! Didn’t ever find a bus, but we did manage to walk to a train station. That took a bit as well…. didn’t have the slightest clue how to manage the automated machines! But we managed without loosing any money or patience!

Our next stop… to a sushi joint where you pick your food off of a conveyor belt! Just what the doctor ordered! Stepping out of the subway station we landed ourselves right in the midst of a very happening area — Sanjo Arcade area. Found a sushi joint (not the one we had intended though!) and sampled our way through about 12 plates of sushi! I ate fried shrimp and lots of little vegetarian ones while paul picked up each and every type of fish that rolled by! Stuffed for about 25 dollars we were happy campers! Not sure if our feet could manage anymore, we opted for getting back to bed early so we’d be fresh for our first full day of Kyoto site seeing!

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