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Published: March 16th 2018
I want sure I was on the right train because Google maps was showing me different stops from the stations we were passing by. I think it was because I rode the local train and Google was showing the route for the express train. I didn't mind as long as it got me to my destination. I asked the lady next to me and she said it's okay. I trust the Japanese in giving directions. They never let me down. Sometimes there are train ticket machines that have no English translation ants the locals help me out by pressing the buttons for me. I was the lone guest at my hostel in Nara. Japan really does have the best hostels I've seen anywhere. It was impeccably clean. The attendant was a Spaniard so I asked him about Spain because I'll be going in a few weeks. My hostel was a little too far from the main sites. It was about a thirty minute walk. It was windy and i was only wearing a t-shirt inside my thermal jacket so i got really cold. I took breaks from the cold inside the museums. The deers were cute but I was not impressed.
The ones in Canada were way bigger. Like horses!
I chose not to enter anything that had entrance fees. I've seen enough Asian temples in my life. Not that I was not enjoying myself. I was but I was not impressed. Perhaps after Angkor wat all other temples just looked average. I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt and thongs. No jacket! I thought he must be Canadian.
I shivered from the cold when I stepped out of the train station in Kyoto. It started showing and I haven't found my hostel yet! But thank God for the tourist friendly buses that announced the name of every stop.
I visited one temple that had a reasonable fee. It was the Ginkaku Ji temple. It was nice and had a beautiful garden. There were other temples near it and a canal lined with cherry blossom trees and I thought it would be really lovely in the spring. I'll make sure to go to Japan for cherry blossom season some other time. The next day I just walked all over downtown visiting temples and shrines. I was surprised at how quiet the geisha district was. I thought it would be a
lot more lively. But all the doors were closed and the curtains drawn. I got lost all over town as usual. It was freezing even when I dressed warm. I guess i didn't have the right shoes.
I joined a free walking tour one day and meet other solo travelers from USA. One was a young CEO who had his own company. The other one was an actress in Hollywood. Very interesting people! I've always been fascinated by Hollywood and young startup millionaires.
The three of us made plans for the next day. I saw beautiful photos of Arashiyama bamboo forest so I suggested were go there. We were all quite disappointed. Especially me I think because I've seen lots of bamboo in the Philippines so that wasn't impressive at all. The photos were very deceiving.
We went hiking in the monkey mountain where there were lots of monkeys of course. We enjoyed that a lot more than the more famous bamboo grove nearby. The view from the top was just amazing! Kyoto was much bigger than i thought.
I catched the Shinkansen high speed train to Nagoya the next day. I rode the KTX in Korea but the
Shinkansen was more impressive. I sat at the first class coach by mistake until the stewardess saw my ticket and pointed me to economy coach where I belonged. I explored a bit of Nagoya which was not exactly a place tourists go to. There wasn't much to see but I liked that city. It was the most modern and new city I Japan I've ever seen. The roads were not narrow unlike everywhere else in Japan.
I'm writing this at the airport on my way to Greece. I hope its warmer there.
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