Sightseeing in Kyoto

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Rudely awoken at 8am by the 2 Japanese guys sharing our small dorm room, who were being pretty noisy in getting up for breakfast. Pretty good in a way as we had a lot to do in 1 day!

Had the free brekkie of tea and toast before heading to Kyoto station. It was boiling out which wasn't the best thing when you have a long active day planned! Quickly headed on the first train to the west of the city to see a couple of temples recommended by the barman from last night.

Followed the Japanese tourists and soon found the right area. The temple was surrounded by fields of bamboo which was quite a shock. As was seeing rickshaws for the first time! I hadn't expected to see them in Japan and instantly felt sorry for the poor bastard who had to pull around a fat American couple that had a combined weight about 4 times greater than his!

The entry to the temple was a bit steep at 600yen but was worth it. The temple, Tenryu-ji I think, was nothing to write home about really but the gardens were great. It featured a large lake in the middle and was great to wander around for a little while.

Were hungry so on the way to the next temple we stopped at a convenience store for a cheap snack. I got a large sushi box and it was very nice. Dave however went for the small sushi set for the first time since getting to Japan. It was hilarious watching him try to keep it down whilst gagging 3 times trying to swallow the first mouthfuls. Needless to say it promptly went in the bin.

Trying to locate the next temple we stumbled across a smaller one so had a quick look around. Heard some chanting and thought we had found some monks but it was a tape recording playing over a loud speaker! The next temple was also rather a disappointment so we headed to the station to see the Golden Pavillion in northern Kyoto.

When we got off the train we thought there were be a short walk but we were wrong. It took nearly an hour of constantly walking uphill in really harsh sunlight. After the walk I was expecting to see something spectacular. The temple was quite a disappointment. I was hoping for a something huge made entirely of gold but what I saw was a small house with gold platting in the middle of a lake. Either way it was heaving with tourists so went back to the hostel, by bus this time which was a far more sensible option.

Spent a couple of hours chilling reading a book and catching up on my diary before heading out for a bite to eat. Having disgracefully gone to ChavDonalds again yesterday we went to a small Ramen restaurant near the hostel.

They couldn't speak English, we couldn't speak Japanese and looked like they had never seen a foreigner before. Anyway we got a massive bowl of noodle soup with some slices of pork and another plate of salad and fried chicken for about 4quid!

Grabbed a beer from the 7/11 and headed back to the hostel to make the most of the free beer. One of the people from our dorm had moved out and been replaced by an English bloke called Oliver, who amazingly will be doing work experience with Dave's dad next year!

Settled in the living room drinking the free beer and watching some weird Japanese tv show. One of the girls on the panel was trying to look like Jennifer Lopez and spent the whole show jumping up and down out of her seat trying to get noticed better, generally acting like a total camera whore. Needless to say it degenerated into drinking games and much hilarity whilst trying to figure out what the point of the show was.

It wasn't just free beer, there was also some rancid whisky and some sake once the beer ran out, which didn't take long between all of us. Told to go to bed at around 12 but after a few protests quickly fell asleep.
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