Blogs from Gion, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion June 6th 2017

This is a quick blog about travel insurance companies and the caution you must take in committing to any travel insurance purchase. Japan, May, 2017 one of my tour members fell breaking her hip. she was rushed to a hospital in Kyoto and the nightmare began with her travel insurance company. The company she paid for the insurance outsourced it to another to execute the claim. It took 24 hours and an act of God to get them to provide the air ambulance she needed to return to the USA. At first they wanted her to pay the $130,000 to fly back. She had paid for a $1,000,000.00 policy for repatriation. Not only was this woman incapable of handling the "but clauses" of this policy, but she was in pain from the injury, blurry in her ... read more

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion September 20th 2016

The day started with rain, lots of rain and continued with more rain. I just don't know how rain can keep raining so much without running out of rain. I really don't. Looking out of the window this morning, my heart sank a little as it was raining as hard as rain can. Never mind, I said, a bit of rain won't stop us seeing Kyoto - we've come a long way and as always, no time to waste. But it wasn't just a bit of rain. Kyoto Station is pretty awesome and gets a few paragraphs (a futuristic entry into Japan's old imperial capital, etc) and a photo in my guidebook which proved to me that this was a station to see - although I'd already seen much of it. It has many floors, shops ... read more
Bengal Cat
Sign in Gion
Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion September 19th 2016

After positive feedback on Facebook about the loos with multiple controls, I decided to give it a go in the Ryokan loos, where at least I would be close to my room should things go awry. The instructions on the controls were only in Japanese, but the diagrams gave a good idea of the various ways in which water can fire up your backside. I went for the option that looked like it had spouted from a great whale. Oooh! That tingled. Defo worth another go. Apparently our Ryokan man had given an archery demonstration in the hall last night but we missed it, either because he forgot to tell us or perhaps because we'd gone out - we're not quite sure of the reason due to language barriers. After my last and mishap-free onsen, we ... read more
Veggie meal at Sakuya Vegetable Bowl, Gion District

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion August 12th 2015

This was it! The cultural heart and soul of Japan. All that wide-eyed foreigners imagine when the country's name is evoked -- centuries-old temples set against perfectly manicured gardens, lantern-lined quaint alleys, white-faced geishas shuffling along in clogs...Welcome to Kyoto, another ancient capital of Japan, and culturally probably its most important. From small town Nara it was barely an hour's train ride to Kyoto, but what a difference an hour makes. Kyoto is like Nara on steroids in terms of temples and shrines. Throw in some serious nightlife and shopping malls, and maybe half of all tourists currently in the country (the other half probably being in Tokyo), and you've got yourself a real city! And to top it all off, I arrived coincidentally the week of the festival of Gozan Okuribi, a very popular week ... read more
Salsa Dancing in Kimonos @ Cafe Rumbita
Nishi Hongwangji

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion February 20th 2015

For Penny it was "The Blue Door". For myself, Richard Flanagan's 2014 Man Booker prize winning masterpiece "The Long Road to the Deep North". It would be easy to join the long queue ready to condemn Japan after reading either of those 2 books. While both are beacons of reference, they were equally counterproductive as a prequel to visiting Japan with the mind open. The atrocities committed during WWII have been extensively documented. I recall quotes from eloquent returned POWs who could "NEVER forgive the Japanese". You can hardly blame them. So how do you equate the Japan of that period with that of today? In a few short generations contemporary Japan is now the absolute antithesis of those anecdotes. After 3 brief weeks I hardly qualify as all things erudite on this nation but if ... read more
Higashiyama Geisha
Nishiki Market
Tough gig.

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion November 26th 2014

In one week in Japan with our Probus friends we have seen more autumn leaves than in our entire lives! What a season- the colour is overwhelming. It is not just the red leaves that are so blood red and set next to the yellow leaves of the Ginko trees but it is all the other shades of orange and lime green against the deep greens of the cypress and the pines that blow the mind. At night in both Kanazawa and now in Kyoto we have seen the many ways they light up the autumn trees to create visions of beauty and harmony. Now with Kanazawa, Miho and Kyoto behind us tomorrow we head by Shinkansen up to Tottori and the sand dunes, then Adachi and Hagi before crossing back to Hiroshima for a couple ... read more
First autumn leaves in Kenrokuen Gardens
Reflection and colours
Night light up

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

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 » Kyoto » Gion October 3rd 2013

An early start on the rapid express train to Fushimi Inari to see the many tori gates. We estimated 5,000 gates lining the hill . From the temple in front of the station you walk along 3km of pathways lined with tori gates. Each gate is labelled and dated. Many were bought by companies and groups. It was an incredible site but we were saddened to see the termite damage, reminding us of home! Back on the train to Kyoto, only two stops, and then on the raku bus. This bus line takes you all around Kyoto to the major sites. Kinkakuji, the golden temple first, then on to Kiyamizudera the temple on the hill. A great place for souvenir shopping along the paved streets of Kyoto. We saw young ladies dressed in Yukata, the traditional ... read more
Torii  gates at inari
Sunset at kiyamizudera
Souvenir streets in Kyoto

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto » Gion August 8th 2013

This morning we had to get up early to visit the world famous Tokyo fish market. In case you are not familiar, the fish auction is world famous, and the auction portion can be exciting as the various buyers compete for the ultimate fish. Last year a tuna sold for a million bucks!Unfortunately, though, we couldn't get into the auction. So instead we wandered around checking out the fishmongers until it was time for our sushi breakfast. To the people working the market, we must have looked like a herd of slow-moving American Buffalo stopping to gaze in wonder at everything we saw like we had never seen it before. "Ohhh, LOOK!! A fish! A fiiiissshhhhhhhhh!!" The average looks we received ranged form mild contempt to casual annoyance to friendly when the seller thought he had ... read more
Salted fish
Fish heads, Fish heads...
About to eat my first fish head.

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