Alright, it’s time for me to type up my second entry here on Monkey on a Plane. I hope you will bear me as I’m still discovering my writing style. In any case part one covered our stay in Tokyo very briefly. In this entry I’ll talk about Kyoto and Osaka for a bit.
We took the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Kyoto. Traveling is a very easy and comfortable way to travel. The Shinkansen is very clean, service is great (like in the rest of Japan) and the train is very very very rarely late. The only downside that I can think of is that the fare is rather expensive. However before we left for Japan we bought a Japanese rail pass, this is a big money saver for the one who is going to be covering some distance in Japan. But bear in mind that the rail pass can only be bought outside of Japan. If you are already in Japan I’m afraid you are too late.
When we arrived in Kyoto we went to our hostel to drop off our backpacks. By the way when traveling I really want to recommend hostels before hotels. You will meet far more people and make far many more friends if you stay at a hostel. I know that some people have a poor image of what hostels are like. But throw away that prejudice and at least try it once. You are gonna love it! Of course there are bad ones also but if you check their rating using one of many free online services you will be on the safe side.
Anyhow… we had arrived in Kyoto and dropped of our backpacks. This trip was taken in 2009 so my memory is a little blurry. Anyhow in Kyoto we visited the imperial garden and some other temples and shrines. I must say that the imperial garden was my personal favourite. The pictures below are all except one taken in the imperial garden in Kyoto. The last one is taken at a small shrine in central Kyoto.
To Osaka and back to Kyoto
After some sightseeing in Kyoto we had planed to spend 2 days in Osaka before taking a flight to Okinawa. However our stay in Osaka was unfortunately cut short. It have only had a problem with cleanliness once in Japan and this was it. We had made a reservation at a hotel in Osaka. When we arrived we quickly realized that we shouldn’t had chosen the cheapest alternative. The hotel we chose was very dirty and had critters between the sheets… We decided to go back to Kyoto and stay at the hostel we had been at the night before.
The next night our bad luck continued. We had to take a flight to Okinawa so we headed for Kansai International Airport. I can’t remember why but somehow we took a late evening (midnight) train. During a transfer we had to make we discovered that the train service had stopped! We checked with cab drivers but driving us to the airport was going to cost a fortune. Now we were in trouble. We could miss our flight in the morning, we didn’t know where we were and we had no place to sleep. After some phone calls and talking to people we found out that if we took the first morning train we were going to make our morning flight. The next thing was to find a place to spend the night, a task that was going to be quite hard. After spending some time walking the streets (in Osaka) we passed an Internet café. Japanese Internet cafés are not the same as one would encounter in Europe. Instead of a chair and computer one could rent a entire room (different sizes). As it was our only choice we spent the night there. It wasn’t too bad. We each got a room the size of about 1,5 square meters with a futon in it. Nothing luxury but at least we got some sleep before setting off for Okinawa in the morning. Unfortunately I’ve got no pictures of the place.
I hope this post wasn’t too boring. In the next part I’ll cover Okinawa!