After a short stay in Osaka it was time for us to make our way to Kyoto. We were really looking forward to Kyoto as we had booked 3 nights at a highly rated traditional Japanese Ryokan!
BUT FIRST! I convinced Jess to give me half an hour in the morning to go buy some fake food. Because… FAKE RAMEN!!!
There was a whole street of fake food! It was pretty amazing. Some of the food was extremely elaborate, and costly… I decided to get individual ingredients, rather than a pre-made meal. All up this one cost me about $60. There was a full size snow crab for about $200… That was a little bit much, but would have been awesome.
We jumped on the Shinkansen to Kyoto, thinking we would have enough time to write a blog post… 20 minutes later we arrived in Kyoto. We got a taxi straight to our Ryokan. It took about half an hour though the main area of Kyoto. It was a pretty nice looking city, quiet but nice. Then we came though Gion, this place was amazing. Gion is one of the oldest parts of Kyoto and still very traditional. It is known to be a pretty expensive area, but still cheaper than Australia ha ha.
There were still Geisha walking around the streets of Gion! Our Ryokan was situated at the back of the main shrine park in Gion. We knew from the moment we got there, this was going to be a place we are going to return to again and again. The building was this old, traditional style Japanese hotel covered in moss and surrounded by trees.
This, in contrast to Osaka, was absolute heaven.
After settling into our new little treehouse, we decided to head out of the city to get dinner. In the mountains… ha ha. It seemed like a good idea at first. Jess read up about this area in the mountains that had heaps of little restaurants, and at night the owners would set up eating areas over the top of a really nice mountain stream. We made our way out there, transferring a few times, I think it took about an hour and a half… When we got to the station at the bottom of the mountain it started raining. We weren’t quite sure how or where to get the bus up the hill, and it was only 2km to the main area… so we decided to walk.
On the way up we commented on how creepy but beautiful the surrounding area was. We passed 2 girls coming down the hill, and in hindsight they should have told us to turn back… those jerks. Anyway we kept going up, past roadworks, past old broken cottages. We started walking past houses, and corner stores, and hotels. Nothing was open… It was raining, cold, we were really hungry and nothing was open… Everything was dark… We kept walking for a while, turns out we walked about 4-5km up the mountain… when we finally decided to turn back and pack it in.
Thats when the flute guy came past… We stopped to check our phones, wondering if it was worth continuing. And some guy started walking past, slowly swaying from side to side across the road… playing a flute… We looked at each other with a kind of “is he going to kill us” vibe. But we had already sort of committed to turning back, so we started following the flute guy back down the hill, like a pair of rats. This went on for a good 10-15 minutes before he slowed his pace too much for us to stick behind him. So we went past and made our way back down to the station, and eventually back to our treehouse. Never to hear of flute guy again…
Tim & Jess