We got into Kyoto yesterday, but it feels like we have been here for weeks.

It was easier than I expected to get on the train from Kansai airport. I misjudged the scale on the map, and we hauled our bags about 2km through the city streets to the Hotel Alpha.

We went pretty much straight away to Nijo (the shogun’s palace) by train. Helen was impressed by the nightingale floors, but she reckoned that they sounded more like chickens. “Chicken floors” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

In the evening we went for a walk through the narrow lanes of Gion, which was really neat. There were a few ladies in kimono, but they might have just been going out for Sunday dinner. We ate at some place upstairs on Kawaramachi dori, which a bloke in the lift told us was 100 for everything. It was more than that, but we had two drinks each and some food for about US$20, which was okay.

It was a bit hard to get moving this morning, after a long day and little sleep on the plane the night before. However, we walked to the station and bought shinkansen tickets to Hiroshima. We then caught a bus and got off at the start of the philosophers’ walk. It was lovely, and took us to the Silver Pavilion. When I was in Kyoto, twenty years ago, it was closed (some sort of monks’ strike, as I recall). The autumn leaves are just starting to turn.

From there, we walked to Heian jinga, took a few photos, and ended up at the handcraft centre. Twenty years ago (and still, in the guide books) it seemed a bargain place to go. Some things probably are, but Helen assured me that the pearls were about 100X more than in Indonesia or Bangkok, for similar quality. We did buy a yakata each.

We were fortified from our kissaten lunch next door, and walked back to the hotel. We then went our separate shopping ways, rendezvousing back at the hotel at 5pm.



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