Blogs from Kyoto, Japan, Asia


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

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 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...
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

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto February 1st 2014

Grosse journée hier! Beaucoup de marche.. mes pieds sont en compotes! Aujourd'hui je vais utiliser davantage le métro sinon je ne serai plus capable de bouger pour les prochains jours. Mais j'ai vue de super beaux endroits. Je serais bien rester toute la journée à regarder le Pavillon d'Or mais je devais me bouger les fesses pour voir d'autres places. En plus puisque c'était samedi il y avait beaucoup de gens. Il y en avait beaucoup aussi à Arashiyama, une destination pas mal touristique. Le seul point négatif.. pas une miette de vent dans la forêt de bambou.. ça aurait donné un autre genre d'ambiance. Je suis aussi passé par le château Nijojo dans le centre de Kyoto mais c'était un peu ordinaire. De retour, une petite pause bière et ce gâteau vert.. Kyo-Mackiya. Très bon.. ... read more
Sans commentaire
C'est de l'or véritable qui recouvre les murs

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion January 31st 2014

Arrivé aujourd'hui à Kyoto et j'y serai pour les prochains jours, il y a beaucoup de choses à voir et faire ici et dans les alentours. Je suis dans un Ryokan assez bien situé pas très loin de Gion. Il a fait super beau aujourd'hui et dimanche il pourrait faire jusqu'à 19 degré, donc c'est presque l'été!! J'ai pleins de chose que je veux faire mais peut-être que je ne pourrai pas y arriver.. J'aimerais aller voir du Noh mais je crois que ça va être difficile ces temps-ci.. Pour ce qui est des Geisha j'en ai pas vue ce soir dans Gion.. À moins que je me tape un truc de touriste je crois que c'est mission impossible, bien que j'en ai croisé dans la gare à Osaka. Visite du palais Impérial à Kyoto.. assez ... read more
Kyoto - Palais Imperial
Palais Impérial
Palais Impérial

Asia » Japan » Kyoto January 19th 2014

The JR bullet train pass is great. I can go on almost any train in Japan including local and some subway trains. There are so many places I want to see in Japan, so much food I want to savour and so many insights I want to gain into the culture. However, after yesterday I’ve decided I need to slow down a bit. For each city I visit I need to first of all find the correct bullet train (there are four different types that go to the same place all at different paces, some I cannot get on,) I then need to find the correct platform (in some stations there are 50 platforms all in the same area of the station,) on the local streetcars (old trams) I need to find out the fare, find ... read more

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Uji December 30th 2013

Hi everyone The trip over to japan was really good despite jetstar being utterly useless in the passenger assistance department. I was very lucky to have a nice fellow passenger who let me move to a seat where could stretch out my leg. Our room in Osaka was small but very comfortable. Now I see why people who go to japan rave about the toilets. They wired up and have a number of settings including a flush sound but no actual flushing. And then there was the nice warm ... read more
Decorated tree in Osaka
Nod to Harry potter perhaps!
Incredible display of plastic food

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