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Published: August 26th 2010
The former Imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto teems with history at every corner yet still maintains a grip on the cutting edge, like most Japanese cities these days. I arrived after spending the night on a bus. Although only early morning, the fact that Kyoto lies surrounded by hills traps the already unbearable heat even more. I gave Aaron a call, I contacted him on couchsurfing.com and he agreed to host me for my time in the city. He was originally from Vietnam but had been living in Japan for the past few years and spoke the language perfectly. He also enjoyed traveling around extensively when he could. He turned out to be a great host, providing me with loads of info, giving me food, and letting me use his washing machine. His place was small but typical for this land.
He had to go to class so I went out to check the town. Firstly saw a temple (the running theme) but this one was neat because it was surrounded by endless tombs. Then I went into the downtown area where there were some shopping arcades and ate lunch there. Then I went to the Imperial palace park. I
constantly had to use the shade or wait for cloud cover to move because it was so damn hot. After this I went into a convenience store to get something and the clerk was literally bowing to me, still got to get used to this phenomenon here. Then I went through to several more temples and parks that were suggested to me before night fell. When I got back to Aaron's, I had been walking for close to twelve hours and was in desperate need of a shower. Then we went out to a cheap local Japanese place for dinner. I passed out quickly that night.
Next day Aaron made breakfast which was awesome. Then I took a local train to visit Arayashima, another traditional spot around Kyoto with hills and many shrines. Shops sold "authentic" food and souvenirs, which I avoided because they were geared to tourists. I walked many more hours here and the heat was relentless. Luckily water is drinkable here otherwise I would have spent a fortune on buying bottles. I met up with Aaron again in the evening. He had recently picked up some weights and a bench to keep fit so I gave
him a consult and session to help him out. I think he had a tough time, in a good way. We then went out to eat and then watched some tv shows he had on his laptop.
I headed off early the next day...
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