Day 4 - Waking up was an issue again. AL’s alarm was set at 6am but it didn’t go off coz his iPhone was set to some daylight saving bullsh1t - which just meant that it didn’t go off when we wanted it to. Body clock saved us as I woke up at 6:30am without an alarm lols. body clock win. who knew clerkship start times would help you on a travel trip =P
Everyone except MZ decided to head to the onsens before the buffet breakfast was provided - I finally found the Shiseido body soap and shampoo that JG mentioned - and used it to the max. Used conditioner too - my hair now feels odd. Oddly soft =S
After the onsen we also managed to finally see Mt Fuji from our room as advertised. it look symmetrically pretty!
Mt Fuji in the morning
After early morning onsen - it was time for buffet breakfast here we come! It happened to be an east meets west buffet breakfast where we all had a bit of this slimy booger-y sashimi and I had some natto. I was in mood to try stuff, but this fermented beans business is just FERAL. Never again.
Post breakfast and post fermented beans, it was time to make track towards our next city, Kyoto, first by catching the bus back to Odawara station then the Shinkansen towards Kyoto.
On the bus towards Odawara station, we spotted a car crash! But we saw Japanese efficiency first hand - the police was very orderly and so were the pedestrians and other drivers, so were the tow truck people.. But in addition, wow our bus driver was efficient. Despite the 10minutes delay coz of the car crash, we got to our destination pretty much on time :) Not sure how he did it but we suspect it was by accelerating where he shouldn’t’ve accelerated =P
We got to the station 40min before our scheduled Shinkansen, so we decided to chill at a cafe that has a heater (since it was pretty cold!), which turned out to be Starbucks. Lol. JG even bought (yes, bought) a loyalty card in hopes that we will visit more Starbucks lololol.
I bought a ‘Sakura Latte’ - sooo awesome. Wish we had this in Sydney :(
[MZ and my sakura latte]
[JG and my sakura latte]
[SK deep in thought, and my sakura latte]
[AS and my sakura latte]
Shinkansen at 10:09. Woop!
[our Shinkansen to Kyoto]
On the Shinkansen - it was more powernap time. Getting ready for Kyoto ftw.
Once we got to Kyoto - it was time to find our hotel. We would soon find out that it is actually hard. VERY hard.
On the way to searching for our hotel, we looked like absolute noobs, hovering around the train map, that this really nice and genuine Japanese lady came over and asked us where we were going and whether she could help. She then told us to catch the train to Tambabashi and it happened to be the same way she was catching. So there we were, all lost,and with genuine help on the way, we were just glad to get some help. She asked how old we were, and we said 21 - to which she said that she was the same age!
But on the local train towards Tambabashi, MZ found out that we were headed to the completely wrong direction. But we had no idea how to tell her she was wrong as she prepared to call the hotel once we got off the train (you arent supposed to talk on the phone on the train). We all anticipated that we were being led to the completely wrong direction lols, and once we got off the train (and then she called the hotel) she found out what we knew (that the hotel is on the opposite side of the station and the other way). She apologised profusely about the confusion and apologised for making us going on a train towards the wrong direction. But despite that she was soooooo nice! After parting and leading us towards the right train she even double checked with the train conductor person that it was the right train! In addition, she asked JG for her email address to contact her in the future. We ‘awwww-ed’ but I think deep down we were all a bit annoyed, and just wanted to get to the right station and hotel lols.
After we got off at Karasuma-Oike as suggested by the lady (whose name turned out to be Noriko)
[stupid station we were supposed to go to but led the wrong way]
we tried to work out where the hotel was in terms of the map at the train station, but clearly Kyoto was out to get us because we got lost for 3 hours (we walked in the opposite direction, again!). In our defence all the streets and building looked the same =.=”
[it all looked the same, wherever you went.]
And finally, finally got to hotel after a marathon 4-5 hour trek.
After we got to the hotel, we quickly made our way towards one of the shrines in Kyoto, the Fushimi Inari Shrine. It involved a lot of walking, and to get to the top you need to walk 4km. It was shrine famous for its “overkill” [quote from NT] of orange fences - they were pretty cool! but since we didn’t have the much time and wanted to head to Gion for dinner, we only walked up till 230metres lols.
[Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto]
[taking a breather from walking around shrines]
We rushed our way out of the Fushimi Inari shrine since it was getting later in the afternoon since we wanted to cover a Buddhist temple of Kiyomizu-Dera in Kyoto as well.
We made our way to Kiyomizu-Dera and this place was not bad - it had a view of the whole city of Kyoto, well, it looked to be like a whole city of Kyoto.
[we had to pay an admission fee for the temple! i know right!]
[view from the Temple overlooking Kyoto. And it was sunset too!]
The Temple itself had a lot of tourists as well, and this was the Temple where the Otawa-no-taki waterfall was, and where you can drink water from the three streams, supposedly wisdom health and longevity. We all just drank from one stream - who knows which one we chose coz none of us had any idea!
[overlooking people queuing up to drink the waterfall water]
Also - after drinking and on our way out of the the temple, we saw 5 “geishas” and people taking photos of them. MZ rushed to take photos, and we all thought that they were real geishas, until we realised they just paid to get dressed up and dolled up as geishas for photos =.=”
[fake geishas or fake geishas-in-training. whichever it is, they are fake]
While on our walk down from the temple on our way out, we also found several shops selling random souvenirs and delicacies ;). I for one bumped into someone who was a Caucasian, and we both apologised at the same time. What’s funny was, he said “sumimasen gomen asai” while I said “sorry”. Wow, East meets West incident indeed. Pretty lol.
We then made our way to Gion in Kyoto, which is where the night activities occur. We found the main street, and it looks exactly like Newtown - one big road with bright lights and dark alleyways - but just replace the Thai food places with Japanese food places!
After walking down the whole road, we settled for dinner at a place exactly like Seoul Ria in terms of location and the need to take a dodgy lift up. We also got free wifi here - something which has been quite rare while in Japan. Hence dinner was extra lengthy with this free wifi!
After dinner, we decided to walk about Gion a bit more and we found some really bright (and possibly dodgy) alleyways which sells food and the range. We also spotted real Geishas, or at least Geishas-in-training. MZ tried to take a photo with them, but they just snubbed him and kept on walking. Don’t think they are supposed to talk to strangers anyway lols.
After Gion and generally a long day, we all decided to hit the sack and head back to the hotel for some rest and another day of activities tomorrow!