Blogs from Kyoto, Japan, Asia

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Asia » Japan » Kyoto July 5th 2014

Kyoto - many, many temples, and I also had bad toothache :( we went to a local dentist and it was quite hysterical trying to explain what was wrong - but my great acting conveyed it only for them to smile, say sorry and tell me they had no appointments... Anyways, temples! We went to one which was a hike up a massive hill (we had our backpacks and all our bits with us) and in the humidity it was bloody hard work, but was very worth it. When we were having a breather before going into the temple, 3 Japanese university students came and asked us if they could be our guide - all they wanted in return was for us to talk to them in English and correct them on anything they said wrong. ... read more
Our hostel in Kyoto!

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion June 18th 2014

The final days of my voyage in a strange land. What can I say? Japan: It's like an Asian version of Europe: Old... yet sophisticated and classy like a fine gentleman... Ahem. It took me a bit over 2 hours to get from Tokyo to the old capital city of Kyoto, 250 miles away. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is truly marvelous. I stretched out and watched the houses I would never know and the towns I would never visit as we traveled over 300 km per hour to our destination. In Kyoto I got out and had udon; a delicious Japanese noodle soup dish, a staple of the asian lunch diet. I then went to the old Geisha district and found my bearings, hotel and checked out the super old tiny streets and Geishas. That evening ... read more
Lanterns
Superjoshua808
Gates

Asia » Japan » Kyoto May 26th 2014

The rain is starting to fall albeit heavy at times. The hydrangeas are starting to bloom everywhere signifying the coming of the hot and very humid Osaka summer. But we still have a couple more weeks before we retreat back to our home under the protection of our dear air conditioner. We had a very busy spring. We manage to go around the Kansai area, meaning our city Osaka, and surrounding prefectures of Kyoto and Wakayama while at the same time getting ready for our son's graduation at primary school and entry to elementary school, both in the month of April. Writing for travelblog is the one thing that I have consistently done as compared to anything I did involving social media. I have been slacking for quite sometime. Although my writings and travel experiences are ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto May 4th 2014

One palace covered, one palace not covered In the end of this trip in Japan we went to Kyoto. Kyoto was for more than a thousand years the capital city of Japan and still today there are thousands of historically important sites in and around the city. Before we came to Kyoto we thought the entire city would resemble a museum. Instead we came to a city that wasn't much different from any other city in Japan. Well, at least it wasn't very different from the three other cities we visited on this trip, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Himeji. Even though Kyoto at first glance might look like just another Japanese city there are plenty of important historical sites within the city limits. There are over 2,000 temples and shrines, there are palaces and many museums. Seeing ... read more
Arashima Bamboo Grove
Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Asia » Japan » Kyoto April 15th 2014

I was eager to hop on the train bound for Kyoto not only to experience the cultural hub of Japan, but it gave me 2 hours of much needed sleep on the infamous Shinkansen (bullet train) from my lack thereof the night before in Tokyo. I also planned on taking a day trip to Nara, about an hours train ride away, which was Japan's first permanent capital in 710AD. So I hopped off the train eager to experience some traditional culture. What struck me already was the amount of tourists both foreign and domestic. Not only is Kyoto sought after by international visitors, but Japanese people also roam from different parts of the country to absorb their rich culture. On my way to my hostel in the Gion district of Kyoto, I was already able to ... read more
Oi River, Arashiyama
Garden of Tenryuji
Night Performance at Heian-Jingu

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Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto March 29th 2014

We only had two days to explore Kyoto, hardly enough time to get a feel for one of the highlight cities of our trip. And we had to find a balance to keep everyone happy. When planning this trip, it was Kyoto that threw us when we started looking at hostels. We just couldn’t find one with space for us. Or even a cheap hotel. I’m sure there was a hostel somewhere in Kyoto with a spare family room, we just couldn’t find it online. So we ended up booking a hostel in Nara, a 45 minute train ride away. And then went on to book the rest of the accommodation for the whole trip. Just because we, and thousands of others, had decided to go touring in cherry blossom season. Sigh. It was hard trying ... read more
The outer wall and moat of Nijo-jo
cherry blossom
Gion at night

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto March 18th 2014

Monday, March 17th The Kyoto Marathon There’s just so much to do in Kyoto, I wanted to make one more trip and sweep up everything I missed. I planned a loop around the city, stopping at all the major sites I missed as well as some of the minor ones. I left Kure around six-something in the morning, scheduled to arrive at Kyoto around 9:00. On the shinkansen over, I studied Japanese using some of the books that the JET program gave Ellen. I got so in to it that my stop came soon so I packed my things and got off the train. Once off, I realized that I forgot something important – the hat that Auntie Leslie made me! That hat has been the official hat of this trip. I’ve worn it ... read more
Tojo-ji
Tojo-ji Shine
Treasure Hall

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto March 10th 2014

On Tuesday, I went to Ellen’s visit school at Takehara. While she does most of her teaching at Hiro, a city close to Kure, where she lives, she travels one a week to Takehara high school in a more rural location. I met the principal and teaching staff, and I gave omiyage of Bluebird Chocolate to the teaching staff for inviting me. The honey that I gave the principal was well received, and he either said it was his favorite food or his favorite gift to have been given. A lot of times I'm not really sure, but it's still a nice thing to say. Japanese high schools are currently in their testing weeks at the end of a school year, so it was pretty quiet in the morning, but after testing, I was asked to ... read more
Ellen and I with Okonomiyaki
Saihoji Temple
Hiking The Cemetery Trail

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 8th 2014

Back in January 1996...that's a long time ago... I was in the middle of my last year at University. Preparing to graduate in Economics and writing my last paper on the ODA and FDI relationships between Japan and ASEAN. I had never been before to Asia, I was just 22 years old, I had studied Japanese, 2 hours per week at University for 2 years....and I was convinced that over the next few years, I would be living in Japan...or Asia. That I knew... First few years at University, I was a student leader convinced of a bright future in the political spheres...than made a switch...and became a pretty rewarded golf teacher for Club Med...all over sunny places...while being a full time student. Than came January 1996. I was doing my last few months at University...going ... read more
Ryoan-ji...and smiles...
Fushimi-Inari-Taisha
Ginkaku-ji...on a snowy day...

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 4th 2014

Preparing myself for the ultimate culture shock, I get off the airport bus in downtown Osaka. Jaclyn, whom I met up with at the airport, has already been to Japan various times, making her mind less likely to be as boggled as mine. The hotel receptionist is the epitome of what I assume to be the Japanese corporate image that never wastes any motion, or emotion, for that matter. Our room is, well, rather tiny, but it's clean and we have our own bathroom, complete with one of those fancy Japanese toilets that you always hear about. I decide not to go overboard and content myself with the heated toilet seat. There is plenty of time to push all those mysterious buttons later on in the trip. A real delight is to see vending machines in ... read more
Dōtonbori Arcade with famous giant crab
Wedding musicians
Okonomiyaki, Hiroshima-style




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