A ‘Sweet’ Welcome to Kyoto
The time has finally come: we are leaving Tokyo [posts] and are bound for KYOTO, Y’ALL. Just as seemed to be getting our footing and the hang of this sprawling city it was time to move on to the next. This was our Airbnb we stayed at in Shinjuku. Great price, super convenient location….snorer central though. Ugh. A literal choir of dudes snoring the night before we left, I didn’t even care that I had to zip a million zippers packing up to leave. May it waketh you up and disturb you as it did us! Nope. Those mofo’s didn’t even stir.
It was an interesting set up. The “sharehouse” as it was called was on the 6th floor of the building but the shower that we had to use was on the 9th floor and in the apartment of the sharehouse owner/Airbnb host. Taking a lift up 3 floors to shower was weird.
It was a bit of an ordeal buying our tickets for the Shinkansen (bullet train) as the automated machines didn’t have an english translation and the agents at the desk window spoke very minimal english as well. But we got it all figured out in the end and for about $130 one way per ticket we were off cruising at 320 Km/h or 200mph off to Kyoto. The train is soooo smooth and silent and efficient and clean. I. freaking. love. Japan.
Look how sleek this bad boy looks. Kinda eel-like if you ask me. Aerodynamics or whaaat.
I got to see Mt. Fuji through an open window on the opposite side of where we were sitting. So amazingly beautiful! I had heard that is very common for it to be covered in clouds but that big boy was shining bright and clear that day. Going there is definitely on my list of things to do on my next trip to Japan.
The 2 hour journey went by quick. And the time had come for me to navigate the way to our next Airbnb which was off the beaten path. If you had seen my Instagram story of all those maps and directions I had to print out from my host, you’ll be disappointed to here that I procrastinated studying them and I woke up from my nap on the train with the papers on my lap.
If I had studied the maps and tips and directions it would have been smooth sailing. Our host Koji even stated that on the papers. But if you don’t study, like I didn’t, it will be anxious and stressful the whole way there.
We stayed in Arashiyama which, in my opinion, is the coolest part of Kyoto. A little outside the city center and up against the mountain and near a river. It’s local, its cool. IM ABOUT IT.
Koji let us know that Google Maps would take us to a wrong address so we had to go off the directions he left. Finding it truly felt like we were contestants on the Amazing Race and we made it just in time to get a ticket to the next location. If we were a duo on the AR, I def would be like the adult son in a mother/son team that is cussing when they can’t catch enough live fish with a bucket on my head and I’m getting stresssssed when I see other teams with hella fish on their head buckets and run off and my sister would be the mom on the side with the other onlooking team partners cheering me on with encouraging words.
Haha WOW. We all get stressed, amirite?
Hahah anywayyyyyys. No one was home when we arrived but they were so thoughtful and left us a note and put arrows to our rooms.
I really wanted to stay in at least one more traditional Japanese accommodation on our trip. Kyoto is home to many amazing Ryokans (a traditional Japanese Inn) but they were all super expensive :/
They typically provide Japanese meals to guests and several have their own onsens or hotsprings and in this case would be like a bathhouse. Very huge in Japanese culture and unfortunately for me, most onsens do not permit guests with tattoos. Something I knew beforehand but still a bummer. Just as a side note: I wore long sleeves the entire trip and didn’t have any of my tattoos exposed. Ironically, for Japanese style tattoos being one of the most popular and respected style of tattoos, tattooing in Japan is still kind of…taboo? I’m not sure if that is the most accurate word to describe the tattoo culture there but it only became legal not too long ago. Wild, right? In the entire time we were in Japan I only saw THREE tattoo’d Japanese people. 2/3 had their tattoos covered and I just caught glimpses of them peeking out of a collar and on a shirt sleeve. And the only Japanese person I saw with visible tattoos was a bad ass chick with blue hair.
I think I probably would have been ok but I just didn’t want to disrespect anyone at all. The only people I saw that had massively visibile tattoos besides the girl with the blue hair were all western tourists.
Tried getting a photo but got bombed.
We slept on traditional tatami mat floors on futons. Haha, my guy cracks up at this kinda silly story butttt….maybe like 10 years ago I didn’t realize that what I grew up calling a futon (fu-tone), while non-Japanese know it as futon (foo-tawn). Yo, I had no idea that we were referring to the same thing. Ok, yep, probably did a HORRIBLE job articulating that story/realization. No matter how you pronounce it, it’s essentially a very thick pillow or extremely heavy blanket that you sleep on in lieu of a mattress :)
And you know what…it was pretty darn comfortable. Something about laying coffin style flat on my back did my body good. I usually sleep on my stomach or side.
We figured out the bus (for the time being) and got dropped off here and then walked over a beautiful bridge to get into town.
Sweets on sweets on sweets. As much as the Japanese love their salty, they definitely also love their sweets. We took a quick stroll assessing our options and opted to eat some actual dinner first before we induced ourselves into a sugar coma.
Right near the water was this super beautiful soba house. And for how busy the town was, we were pleasantly sat right away with some prime seats with a view.
I got cold soba (noodles made from buckwheat) and you pour the soba sauce on the noodles and it with an array of vegetables and tiny mushrooms and what not in another bowl. Got some tempura. I jam with the fact that the Japanese compartmentalize their food because I do the same. Seperate. Keep it seperate.
First up, cotton candy on top of a boba drink. Where do I sign.
Jill got ice cream with cute little balls on it haha.
Matcha stuff everywherrrrre.
Miffy is a Danish character I didn’t realize but the Japanese love her and we stumbled into this Miffy themed two part shop. In the front was a themed cafe and in the back was a shop with Miffy gear.
I had to buy this Miffy plush. It was THE softest thing I’ve ever felt in my life. Sold.
The Japanese loovvveee a good photo op with stuff they find cute. Outside a lot of shops are little photo stations. Kawaii:)
I was ded. Rilakkuma themed cafe and shop *heart eyesss * His name roughly translates to a relaxed bear. Hey a spirit animal if I’ve ever seen one.
My biggest regret in life is not buying the giant plush of him on the top shelf. They are so hard to find in the states and are about 3 times the price of what they cost in Japan :/ For the millionth time: buy it when you see it people, you might not have to time to go back to the shop.
I love buying locally made things wherever I travel. This shop was crazy. All of these little sushis and everything else in the shop were made from yarn and hand made! Artisans, man.
And of course had to end the night with some candyyyy.
How in the world people made these I have no clue but they CUTE.
A semi short one today. As always thanks for reading! Next post come with us to get outfitted in some swaggy ass Kimonos as we really reconnect with our roots, check out a golden temple, and ride a one hour bus ride with the only crazy woman in Japan.