A quick nap before checkout and back to the chaos of the train station
I took a picture of the train station cleaners.
Everyone in japan has a different colored elaborate outfit. A lot of people standing around not doing much but looking good. I guess when you don’t have a substantial military you can afford to pay for fancy uniforms and extra employees.
If you are a visitor to Japan you can buy a “Rail Pass” this allows you to ride a majority of the trains around the country for a fixed price for a 7 day duration ($250). We activated ours today and boarded the fast train to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital)
I saw this picture in the bathroom on the train and thought I would share
We arrived in at Kyoto station and took the local subway to a station close to our Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns that have been around for 1000 years). We were a bit early to check in so we dropped our bags at Toshiharu Ryokan and went to walk the city.
We headed to the market. I was a little more discerning on seafood on a stick this time. I did grab some octopus balls though.
After the market we headed East across the river to check out a couple temples. Obviously, Japan is full of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, but I was of the belief that if we saw one or two we would be able to check that box for the entire trip. It is weird that although the country is littered with shrines, only about half the population follows an organized religion and barely any follow Shinto. They still seem to like to visit the shrines and have offerings and blessings.
The weather was pretty rough. Cold and raining. We stopped at a big complex in the heart of kyoto and then Togeisha ion the East part of town
A lot of the girls were dressed in the traditional Kimonos, especially in the Geisha district. I should probably breakdown the whole geisha thing. I watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" before I left and did some googling, so I am basically an expert at this point. Geisha are Japanese hostesses trained to entertain men with conversation, dance, and song. Prostitutes may say there are Geisha but that is not true in the traditional sense. We did not pay for a dinner/Geisha experience but that was an option.
After being soaked and freezing we headed back to Toshiharu Ryokan for check-in. this was our favorite Ryokan for the whole trip. The building was over a hundred years old. They brought us tea and dry clothes and we got to learn how a Japanese bath works
They have western baths, but we wanted the full immersion experience, so we opted for the Japanese ones. We drew the line at the Japanese bathrooms (hole in the ground). Entering the bath I had no clue what I needed to do.
There was a wood tub filled with hot water and a few stools, buckets, and ladles. I climbed into the bath immediately, but that was not the correct thing to do. By the end of the trip I was a pro and never one used a wester shower. You sit on a stool next to a faucet and clean with soap and intermittent dumps of hot water from the bucket/ladle. Only then are you supposed to enter the bath. I feel bad for all the people who followed me that day as they got all of me in that tub.
After cleaning up we walked around looking for a hole-in-the-wall place to eat. We found a quiet place where no one was eating and enjoyed the most visually appealing meal of the trip.
We were still exhausted from jet lag so we passed out early and again awake at dawn