I I reluctantly checked out of my lovely boutique Tokyo hotel and set off to Kyoto.
It was my idea of the perfect hotel, small, immaculate and incredibly well designed. I would definitely recommend the Hotel Niwa. And I would happily stay there again if I’m ever back.
Checking out it seemed an Australian Lesbian convention had just arrived so perhaps my timing was good. I have nothing against lesbians but there were lots of sperm donor babies in strollers too so time to move on!
And so it was off to the station to get the bullet train to Kyoto…
On a day when I was travelling solo, I took to the metro. The Tokyo Metro.
Firstly, there was the map…
Secondly, there was the language
Hold on a second, look at the map. It’s insanity!
I have to say (a little smugly) that I was impressed with my efforts. I only went the wrong way once, managed to buy tickets from the machine and even managed to change lines to get back to my hotel.
After several days of taxis, it was a much better way to travel, cheaper and I had a much better sense of the city. Of course, the trains are immaculate and air conditioned (hello baking Bakerloo line) but still no chivalry as the Japanese men kept their seats.
Tomorrow I’m off to Kyoto like a speeding bullet. Bullet train that is and then I will act out “Memoirs of a Geisha” which was written by an American man so probably not entirely accurate!
Tuesday and we met up with a former Disney Creative Director who took us on a whirlwind tour of her favourite designers and shops.
An employee of the Mouse House for 37 years, she knew her stuff and we were shown textile designers, concept stores, Japanese electronics and more.
Despite not meeting up till midday, a late start, we were still exhausted by 8pm when we shared sushi which arrived by little train.
One more day in Tokyo and then I’m off to Kyoto for two nights.
Before another day of madness…
Imperial Palace Gardens
After lunch we hopped in a taxi only to discover we were missing a phone. Not mine I might add.
I wasn’t entirely surprised and had anticipated something similar happening based on past experiences and so spent several hours looking for said phone. Sense of humour needed at all times.
We decided to soldier on and see a kabuki act and so while buying tickets managed to track down the missing phone. It had been in the taxi all along (quel surprise) and was to be left at a police station by the nice, honest taxi driver.
An hour and fifteen minutes later after suffering through the most challenging cultural experience I’ve ever had, the kabuki finished. It’s highly unlikely I will attend another excruciating performance… avant garde to say the least.
From that cultural horror, we set off to collect the phone by taxi. Through the red light district to the police station where the phone had been left and all ended well. Many hours later.
I made it back to my room after twelve hours on the hoof. Exhausted from cultural experiences!
Ready for a rest and that was only Day Two!
The day started well as we headed to Harajuku, an area known for fashion. The Harajuku girls are the ultimate in Japanese cute combining schoolgirl plaid with pastel colours, knee high socks and big shoes. Add lots of accessories, pink dip dyed hair and your look is complete.
By 2pm we were tiring and stopped for lunch. I ordered the enigmatically named “rice dish” and was delighted when this arrived…
It’s hard to describe. Tomato ketchup flavoured rice covered in an omelette with a sticky brown sauce.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought but avoided the brown sauce.
After lunch the day went downhill. It turned out lunch had been the highlight!