Kyoto – City of walking

IMG_4995.1We arrived in Kyoto without any further mishaps. It struck as as a good idea that for the first time ask for internet at some kind of information desk and we were pointed to the 9th floor of the station mall. The escalators where put in a long line which was quite nice since you could get quite a view from the 10th floor down. We found the tourist information office and could get internet access there. Armed with some alternatives for accommodation we left the impressive station.

A map just outside the station explained that one of our alternatives, ‘cheapest inn in kyoto’ would be quite close since ‘Nijo Castle’ was only three streets away and this was close to our stay. After some walking and not reaching this castle we were a bit confused and checked another map. Nijo Castle was not on these maps, had we simply missed it? Some inquiries told us that we were on the right street and just had to keep walking. Which we did. After nearly two hours on the same lovely street we finally got there. The streets on the first map was probably districts. How fun. We did have the fortune to get beds at our hostel when we finally got there though.

After a well needed shower we went out for food and a local bar. The local bar was just like the ones we prefer, only locals with severely limited english skills and the guests looked like regulars. We ordered Shochu on the rocks as usual and it took a bit longer than usual to get our order straight, which was explained by the fact that the middle-aged woman serving us was quite drunk. And her husband didn’t walk straight either. Some jokes on us by the regulars and some conversation about Shochu took place and when we ordered the second round the waitress wasn’t tight with the Shochu by any means. We then left happily and realized that we left my quite expensive camera but it was still there when we got back, I guess you can’t have bad luck all the time.

When we got back to the hostel we slept like a couple of corpses until somewhere around 11. It was time to get the culture dose for today. We found that the Nijo castle would be our first stop since we lived more or less next to it and then some famous zen garden consisting of 15 rocks sounded cool. We also thought we should pay the imperial palace park a visit as well.

The Castle was impressive, the ‘nightingale floors’ inside creaked like nightingales (well with some imagination, but it sounded really cool) when you were walking on them. This was in order to prevent some evil ninja sneaking in. But since ninjas can fly we didn’t understood why this would help. The gardens surrounding the actual castle building were really nice as well.
After walking the tour we thought we would go for that zen garden which was called Ryoan-ji. Wise from yesterdays walking we thought the local buses would be a nice way of traveling.

Since the bus didn’t go all the way (at least that’s what we thought at that time) we jumped off of what we considered to be a station in close proximity of the zen garden. Using the locally placed maps we found it after some walking. It was really nice, perhaps a little more green moss where the rocks where placed would had been nice, photos at the garden showed that this had been the case at some point though. The japanese people really do have a sense of creating beautiful things. It may be railway stations, gardens, clothing or rituals, the all share the same elegant design. And complementing with their manga and always bizarre sounds of course.

We took the bus back to the imperial park and sat there reading and blogging (Ulf had some catching up to do) until sunset, which happens around 19 here. We thought that a calm night at the hostel with some checking up hostels and traveling before we left for Osaka would be nice. Then the devil, or actually a canadian girl, said the words ‘I’m going up to finish my drink’ when we just got back. Apparently there was a party on the roof of the hostel. After some quick thinking we joined with freshly bought ice and Shochu. We were to go clubbing later on as well.

The club Metro was the destination for reasons unknown to me, it was located on the other side of the city. But since we hadn’t done much walking in Kyoto already we thought this would be a nice walk.