Catching the bullet train to Kyoto

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November 23rd 2018
Published: December 5th 2018
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Its another early start this morning as we've got to get the bus from Mount Fuji to Mishima and then the bullet train from Mishima down to Kyoto. Plus we both wanted to get up early to see Mount Fuji in all her glory, as its a beautiful clear morning. We wake up at 7am, but somehow find we are still running about at the last minute to make sure we get the 8.30am transfer back to Kawaguchiko station. Greg has gone out in search of the perfect picture but realises halfway along that he has forgotten to put new batteries in doh so has to run all the way back again. I'm in charge of packing everything away which takes longer than anticipated. But we make the transfer and have thankfully pre-purchased our bus tickets as we have since found out its a National holiday today. We have enough time for a very quick and very stodgy breakfast consisting of a hotdog and coffee before our bus arrives. Its a pretty straightforward, if not slightly tiring two hour journey to Mishima where our connecting train to Kyoto is. The plus being we get some amazing views of Mount Fuji on the way with not a cloud in sight. We feel so blessed and very pleased/smug we managed to see it at all, let alone at her best.

We've also pre-booked our train tickets and its only a 20 minute wait before the train arrives. Two uneventful hours later, we've arrived in Kyoto. This is always where the fun begins, when you arrive in a new city with loads of luggage trying to navigate which direction it is to your hotel (especially when you always insist on walking). We stand for a good ten minutes staring at a map feeling no further forward when a little old Japanese lady offers to help us. However, it turns out she's got less of a clue than we do! It was still nice of her to try and help, and she does help point out the main road on the map which helps give us a direction for which way we need to go. So off we go as usual, hoping we'll stumble upon it like we usually do...

Thankfully it's just a straight road we need to follow, then up one side street to the right. We do get a bit lost trying to find the correct side street, but it only thwarts us for a few minutes before Greg finally spots it. Its one of those keypad entry systems that you need a code for, but they haven't sent us anything via email which is slightly worrying. A couple open the door and we sneak in, but you still need another code to get into your room, doh! But there is an emergency email you can contact for help, and literally two minutes after Greg has fired off an email, they send one straight back with a code for us, yay! We're more than pleasantly surprised at the size of the room as we were expecting it to be tiny, but in fact its almost double the size of our last hotel (which we thought any other hotel would take a lot to beat). It even has a little table to sit at, and of course, the obligatory heated toilet seat (I am really going to miss this when I go home, I think it should be mandatory for all toilets!).

Once again it's a case of dumping all our stuff and heading straight back out to sight-see. We haven't had much to eat today because we haven't had much time between travelling, so we decide to head to a well-known food market i've read about not too far away from us. We find it easily enough, but the problem is because of the holiday every tom, dick and harry has decided to visit as well, so it is constant traffic jams of people in the narrow little corridors and we soon give up as it is really claustrophobic and I am very impatient! But not before we have had the chance to sample a few bits of street food. Greg has a tempura prawns skewer and I have a savoury crepe stuffed with cabbage and an egg - YUM. The street food here is as awesome as expected, but i do notice that the price is much more expensive than street food in other countries.

Of course Greg is still hungry, so we seek out one of the little fast food noodle places and sit down for a second helping washed down with a beer. We head onto the Gion district, which is renowned for where the geisha's hang out. We don't spot any authentic geishas, but there are plenty of younger Japanese girls all dressed up in kimono costumes which is fun to see. We head on to the Higashiyma area and head into the park which is lined with lots of little stalls selling mostly street food along with some souvenirs. I spot a stand selling little fish-shaped pancakes stuffed with red bean paste which I have read about before, so we decide to try one (honestly it feels like we literally don't stop eating on this trip but i'll worry about that when we get back home). Kyoto has a different vibe than Tokyo and seems a lot busier and less friendly, but perhaps that's partly due to it being a busy holiday weekend. We haven't even scratched the surface yet so lets see what it has to offer. It's no surprise that we've got another full day's itinerary planned ahead of us tomorrow, so we stop off at another curry house for dinner (I can't help myself) with the idea of then heading home and straight to bed. As we're walking back, Greg misses a kerb and ends up spraining his ankle ligaments. But at least he hasn't broken it thank goodness. We hobble home and into bed.


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