Yesterday was so exhausting that I couldn’t form a thought when we got back to the hotel, so….I update now!
Today was Kyoto Day 1, so we needed to wake up early and get to the Tokyo train station by 7am. I knew the station was big, but I never realized exactly how big! It took me a couple of minutes to figure out where we needed to go to get our tickets for the Hikari Line of the Shinkensan. We decided to get a little later train because, again, I had no idea where the train was located and what the hell I was doing LOL Finding the train was far easier than I had thought so we had time to get some lite food items and drinks before we boarded.
Our seats were awesome, Monkey and Mom sat together – Monkey had the window seat, and I was a row in front of them by the window with no one next to me….SCORE! The train ride was very cool and FAST! It took just under 3 hours to get from Tokyo to Kyoto. Along the way we went through countless little towns and I ton of pictures.
The weather wasn’t perfect….actually it pretty much sucked. It rained almost the whole way and also while we were in Kyoto….and back. All of the pictures turned out so that made me happy. I got a pretty good glimpse of Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) and took a couple of pictures. For the most part, the icon of Japan was shrouded in rain clouds but it’s still sort of visible in the pictures.
Before we knew it, we were in Kyoto. Another bout of confusion awaited us as we exited the train but that was soon squashed with some good old fashioned walking back and forth and going in all the wrong directions. We finally found our way out of the train station, mostly because I asked how to get out, and made it to the taxi area. We were originally going to walk to the Handicraft Center but then decided that the weather sucked just enough to warrant a taxi. We were lucky enough to get a taxi driver that spoke a little English, so with my little Japanese and his little English we got to hold a bit of a conversation.
Along the way to the Center, our driver took us through the Gion area and pointed out a Meiko!!!!! Her outfit, hair, make-up, everything was out of this world AMAZING!! If we weren’t driving I’d have snapped a picture of her. Next time we go back to Kyoto, we are going to try and get a reservation at a tea ceremony. The driver also showed us a really fabulous Shinto temple…but I forgot the name of it now…mostly because I’m really tired.
We arrived at the Handicraft Center a little early, so we got a chance to buy a map of Kyoto and also look around at the items for sale. Finally our teacher came to get us and we were on our way to make some really awesome crafts. Today we were signed up to paint a folding fan, paint a Dorei doll, and to make a Damascene pendant. We had a blast making the crafts and talking with the teacher. She told us where some of the main sights were located and which were the must sees. I showed her a few pictures of Monkey’s art work and she was blown away. (I’m just a little proud of my little Monkey LOL)
When we were done with the crafts and the gabbing, Mom, Monkey, and I headed to to the other floors to check out what they had for sale. I found a kitana that I’m going to go back and buy (and have it shipped home). Monkey found a cute t-shirt and I bought an umbrella…because it was raining so hard and we left our umbrellas at the hotel.
Because we had woken up so early, we decided to call it a day and catch a cab to go back to the train station. After getting our tickets I realized that we hadn’t eaten anything since early in the morning…which would explain why we were getting a bit on the crabby side. We checked out a few of the kiosks before finding a little store that sold bento boxes. Monkey wanted tonkatsu (pork cutlet) with rice, Mom wanted the tonkatsu sandwich, and I have no bloody idea which one I got…but I think it was chicken. The only items that I know for sure where the rice and the hard bolied egg. I’m guessing the meat was chicken….but I don’t want to think too much about it….
The train ride back to Tokyo seemed longer and I passed out! Thankfully I woke up before our stop at Tokyo station and was successful at waking Monkey up before we had to exit the train. She was so tired that she was a little on the green side so we navigated our way through the station (almost easily) and were soon back on the Yamanote Line headed for Ikebukuro and our hotel.
Passing out came easy (since it was almost 9pm and we had to wake up at 4am to catch our train on Thursday….bound for Kyoto again!)
And that leaves us to today’s adventures, which will be written up tomorrow since we got up at 4am…..