Kyoto – finally!

I’m posting the next two blogs late because we have only just got internet back at our house. Also, not having internet turned out to be completely, 100% my fault, because I accidentally unplugged the router which looked like a lovely ornamental lamp of some kind….yeah…

This morning we caught a taxi back to Hiroshima Station and jumped on another bullet train for about an hour and a half. Marnie sat next to this ADORABLE baby and his mum, and she spent the whole train ride making him laugh, and held him when his mum was getting everything out of their seats. His little face looked like Christmas. Two things I love about Japanese trains: there is beautiful chime-y music played over the speakers right before an announcement is made, which is quite regularly. Also, the conductors and the people who push the food carts stop at the doorway of every carriage, bow to the carriage, and keep going. It’s awesome. (Also, off-topic from trains but still cool, instead of having that ticker noise when the green man appears at pedestrian crossing lights, a lot of the crossings in Japan have these little chirpy noises that sound like birds).
We swapped to another train at Shin-Osaka, but then it was only fifteen minutes until we arrived in Kyoto. We had a spot of lunch and found a taxi to our house. As a budget traveller, I rarely use taxis, but I must say, they are so much easier. And on this trip we split the fare four ways, so it hasn’t cost us much at all. We drove through quite a bit of traffic to the foothills of some mountains, and walked only for about ten minutes before we found our house a tiny, hundred-year-old, one-story building that is just about the cutest thing ever. It has a fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom (including a shower room) and a washing machine, but has tatami floors, sliding screens instead of doors and kotatsu, which are the heated blankets under coffee tables which we also had at Zenkoji Temple in Takayama. Marnie, Dad and I are on tatami mats, (sadly the mats are not heated like at the temple) and Margaret is in the Western-style bed, but I think we’ll all be very comfortable. There are also decent heaters.
Our accommodation
Our accommodation

Before we discovered any of this, however, we waited for about 45 minutes for our Saki, our travel angel, to show up. There had been a bit of confusion about our arrival time, but once Saki arrived, I saw Dad visibly breathe a sigh of relief that she existed and wasn’t a computer virus that had stolen hundreds of our prepaid dollars. She showed us around the house and took the others for a walk to the bus stop and supermarket. We also went on an quick stroll down the Path of Philosophy, which is a two-minute walk from our house. I feel pretty amazingly lucky to be staying where we are. The sun was shining and it was warm and there were lots of tourists, but the path looked absolutely stunning. We were concerned that a lot of the cherry blossom would have been gone by now, but so much was still there, falling gracefully over the canal and the little bridges and everything was picturesque and so, so peaceful. We had organic, homemade ice-cream with cherry blossom petals in it, and looked in a bunch of the little shops lining the path, including a shop that sold only cat merchandise, and a shop were Marnie bought a gorgeous, red cloche hat.

Path of Philosophy
Path of Philosophy

After a cup of tea and an unpack at the house, we headed to Omen restaurant and had a feast of udon noodles in broth with tempura vegetables and shrimp, radish, pickled ginger, spring onion, pickled radish and deliciousness. Marnie and Margaret had chicken teriyaki and sticky rice and we all shared strawberries with black rice sauce for dessert. Utterly lovely night to begin our week in Kyoto, and our final 7 days in Japan!

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