Kyoto and the Capsule Ryokan

Trip Start Jan 19, 2013
Trip End Apr 12, 2013

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Flag of Japan  , Kyoto Prefecture,
Friday, March 22, 2013

So today we bid farewell to Tokyo and took the Shinkansen to Kyoto. I think the journey took around 2 hours. I know it gets said all the time but the trains here are great! They run on time, they're clean and you get ample amount of leg room. Plus the actual travelling is seamless, it's such a smooth journey. The UK needs to take note!

When we got into Kyoto, we had a short walk from the station to our Capsule Ryokan hotel. It's worth mentioning that capsule hotels aren't like your normal hotel room. Firstly, you don't really get a room, it's more of a coffin shaped a room filled with other coffin shaped boxes. It doesn't sound to appealing when put like that but they are sooo cosy and comfortable. I loved it there! Every capsule gets its own radio, light, television and fan. What more could you ask for?

Rikki and his family have stayed here before and the last time they were here, they created some promotional films for the hotel owner, Keiji. As a thank you, he very kindly gave us a discount on our stay here and later he invited us out for dinner with him and one of his employees, Emiko. I was a little nervous about our dinner date as it most definitely meant more unknown and exotic dishes!

Before dinner though, we spent some time looking around a temple that was just a short walk from the hotel. We also looked around Kyoto Station which doesn't sound to interesting but the building's architecture is amazing! Its hard to describe but you come in on the ground floor and then on both sides of you are escalators taking you up to countless floors. Apparently the designer said it is meant to feel like you're descending a mountain as you come down from the top. We went up to the rooftop garden and had a quick look round before heading into Isetan, another massive department store. We looked around the special food floor and I was taken aback by what I saw. It was like the jewellery stands in somewhere like Harrods or Selfridges only with food. Some many glass cases filled with colourful and exotic treats. I don't know what half of it was but it all looked very impressive.

We met Keiji and Emiko at around 8pm and took a taxi to the fanciest restaurant I think both Rikki and I have ever been to. Keiji told us the chef was very famous in Japan and has appeared on television a few times. We sat down at our table and ordered drinks before the first of many, many dishes arrived. I can't remember everything we were given but the highlights included tofu, sashimi, octopus, prawns, BBQ'd fish and sweet potato ice-cream. I tried almost everything apart from the octopus, that was a step too far. The ice-cream dessert was my favourite dish of the night, closely followed by the BBQ fish.
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