Saturday, March 13, 2010


Japan is proving a breeze to get around and we found our hostel in next to no time. K's house is a pretty cool with lots of comfy sofas and being in a 4 bed dorm, cuts the risk of being in with too many annoying/smelly/snoring men!!

The weather was cold and raining but it didn't stop us braving it to go visit some old sights! Outside the hostel and every shop and restaurant is an umbrella stand. It seems the done thing to put yours in and just take someone elses as you leave as ours is never still there! Our original one was donated to us by our hostel in Hiroshima as the lady felt sorry for us leaving in the snow!

We headed out on a famous walk to the Hohashiyama which has lots of temples, pagodas and small streets to get lost in. On one of our pictures a lady was tucking into a burger, I think she realised she was in the way then offered to take our picture! In our defence she was standing next to a no eating sign!

That pretty much filled our day and in the evening we went to a cafe recommended by our hostel. We walked in the waiter said 'raemen', we nodded and our noodles and pork arrived 5 mins later, yum.

The next day we took a train to the Arashiyama district 15 minutes from Kyoto. The area had lots of nice walks- the bamboo forest being the best. We went to the main draw which is monkey mountain. Everyone likes monkeys, I think it's because they resemble humans by picking their noses, checking for head lice etc. They were cool monkeys, technically wild but very tame. We got an ace picture of 3 monkeys on a building, if only they would do the pose (hands on eyes, ears mouth)!

That evening we went for one of our best meals yet. When we choose where to eat, we go by prices on the outside and we don't know what it is until we get inside. We get shown to our table and it's our own private booth! We had a buzzer when we wanted assistance, which we didn't realise for about 20minutes! They had an translated menu for us and a few of their translations and descriptions were interesting:

Fowl's liver roasted with salt
The chewiness is attractive

Fried salted cow Tongue with mustard
We use good quality cow Tongue (phew what a relief!)

Chocolate Sunday
Vanilla ice cream, peach, cornflakes and fresh cream

Cuttlefish legs and kimchee
You feel like in Korea

Yam roasted with salt
The crispy taste make you happy

Fried salted cow Tongue with Garlic
Affinity between cow tongue and garlic is very good

There's funny translations everywhere but we noted these while waiting for our food.

We decided to get a bus pass the next day which gave us unlimited travel around the city. We headed to Nijo castle which was a nice few hours. The best thing about it had to be the squeaky floors which sounded like birds chirping. This was by design as the residents were quite paranoid about people sneaking up on them. It was impossible not to walk on a squeaky bit and it was noisy with everyone walking around. Although I suspect a ninja would be able to dodge the squeaks. The grounds of the castle were also really nice so we got some good photos.

We headed to kinkaku-ji or 'The Golden Pavilion'. It was again really nice even though it was rebuilt in the 50s due to a fire. We did see a berserk lady pushing around 2 dogs and a cat in a pram, hence the photo! We headed to the imperial palace but it was closed so wandered around the huge park.

The next day we went to Nara, the first capital city of japan. It was quite touristy although not with westerners. The big attraction is the Todai-Ji temple which houses a 16 metre high bronze Buddha dating from 752. It is housed in the largest wooden building in the world which was rebuilt in 1709 after burning down. Emma also managed to crawl through a hole in the timber which will give her good luck for life. A lottery ticket will be our first purchase in UK. It wasn't that I was too big to fit through, there was just no need as Emma had already done it(!)

There were other great sights but I won't bore you with the details, just look at the photos! There were also loads of scabby deers that were eating each others fur! Yuk. They are sacred as they believe they are messengers from god. The only message we saw coming from them was 'feed me'!

On our way back we stopped off at the Avenue of Torri gates which has hundreds of orange gates going up the hill. It made for interesting pictures when other tourists moved out of the way!

Free Blog Templates Free Blog Templates