Traveling Japan, Part 2: Kyoto

On account of having a lot of photos from my  time travelling in Japan, I decided to dump them on this blog in separate posts.  Presented here is part 2 of the ongoing series, “Jack ignores the obvious utility of posting to Facebook”.

Trip to Kyoto

The trip to Kyoto was beautiful and I loved the convenience of the high speed train.  The hotel room was pretty beautiful, with tatami floors and paper screens over the windows.  I was a bit crestfallen to discover that the hotel was so traditional that it had absolutely no internet access in the rooms.  That made it harder to plan my sightseeing since I was forced to either use my phone with it’s 2G bandwidth, or use the only slightly better wifi that was available in the lobby.  It did have a bathhouse in the basement though, which I visited probably four times in two days.  It was almost always empty, and it alleviated my headache and congestion fantastically.

Exploring the area near the hotel

After I checked into the hotel I walked around a nearby shopping district and bought some sushi for dinner before I went back to the hotel and went to the bathhouse.  While there I actually met an american.  I inquired about his back tattoo, and whether he had ever been turned away from a bathhouse because of it.  He said he had, while other places had just given him weird looks.  He also explained why they were taboo.  While I was aware that they were forbidden in some bathhouses, I was unaware that the reason way was because of their association with the yakuza.

Kyoto Imperial Palace

I woke the next day and went exploring.  After a quick breakfast from Lawson’s, my first stop was the Imperial Palace.

Honno-ji Temple

After the palace I wandered around for a while.  I was feeling better but still sick, and it was incredibly humid out.  I came across a museum near my hotel, and decided to go rest and eat before returning to the museum.  Upon returning I realized that the museum was directly behind the hotel and shared a name with it. It was a museum discussing the history of Honno-ji temple, which was also adjacent to my hotel.

After  the museum I rested some more and went to the hotel’s sento, which made me feel way better.  In the evening I went exploring.  I ate some waygu style beef to cross it off my list, then wandered around and got caught in a rainstorm.  I went to a small bathhouse that was really underwhelming.  And on my way back to my hotel I found a movie theater and decided to experience watching a movie in Japan.  After the movie I went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

The second morning I woke in Kyoto was my last day at the hotel Honno-ji.  I went exploring in the nearby area, since I wouldn’t be able to check in to my next hotel until 3:00.  After a couple hours I took the train to my next hotel, which was located right near Kyoto station, and which did have internet.  After a quick nap I walked to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.  I was too late to visit the temple since they were closing as I got there, but I was just in time to see an awesome sunset in cemetery. I decided to use my newly granted internet access to strategically plan a route that would let me visit as many cool sites as possible before they all closed at 5 or 6 pm.

Jack visits a ton of places

For my last day in Kyoto, I created  a route in google maps between all the sites I wanted to see, then rearranged them to make the shortest path.  It consisted of:

  • Sanjusangendo Temple
  • Kiyomizu-dera temple complex
  • gion district
  • Chion-in temple complex
  • National Museum of Modern Art
  • kyoto museum of traditional crafts
  • Nijō Castle
  • Kinkaku-ji Temple

The plan was to set out on foot at 9 am, and see how much of the 16 km path I could cover. As it turns out, I was able to cover all of it. I walked for most of it, but for some sections I ran. After Nijo Castle, google maps indicated I would only just make it if I ran, so I ran that whole distance and made it just in time. I hadn’t been doing much running since I’d been sick, so I was glad to use my legs again.


Dinner in Kyoto

I also checked out some small shrines while walking from Kinkaku-ji temple to the nearest subway station, and I stopped at a tiny raman shop for dinner.


After going back to my hotel to rest, I went out in the evening to a local bathhouse, which proved to be one of my favorites. It was the kind that was big, and had lots of interesting and different pools. This one had six on the first floor, with one that was electrified and another that was scented with something red that looked like blood but smelled like incense. The second floor had an open air bath, a big sauna, and a big cold water bath. I had a beer after dressing, and went home feeling wonderful.



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