A quick update on the trip so far. We left Gold Coast a little behind schedule as the pilot wanted the engineers to check something out before take-off. Always good to see caution here. Arrived Kanto airport 30 mins late, found JR office and swapped our Rail Pass order for the real thing. Easily found Haruka limited express train and finally arrived at Kyoto station at 9.30pm local time (10.30pm Qld time). We got a taxi (japanese instructions from Jackie and Dia worked a treat) to our tiny Airbnb apartment. On Monday, our first day in Japan, got a slightly late start after a good night's sleep and walked over the sights of eastern Kyoto. Through Gion, not a lot happening at this time of day, Gion corner (might come back for the cultural show), past a small shrine (they are everywhere) and up towards the approaches to Kyomizudera. However we did bump into a geisha being photographed near the small shrine. Small streets became more crowded as we approached the temple. See photos for a cute small child taking a photo of her young parents in traditional costumes. This seemed the popular thing...wonder if it is because this is Jidai Matsuri festival week. Views of Kyoto from Kyomizudera were nice, but it was after lunch at a japanese eating house (choose from photos, no english menu) that we found a couple of nice spots with less crowds. First Ryozen Kwan-on - large 24m high Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara completed in 1955 to commemorate the Japanese and foreign solidiers who died during WW2. Then Kodai-ji Temple - very peaceful zen gardens, pavilions and bamboo grove. It was a nice pause to sit in a doorway of the main hall looking across the gardens. Beautiful pavilions with tatami mat floors (no shoes allowed). After a late afternoon drink at Avocado mexican restaurant on the other side of the Sanjo Ohashi bridge, we hinted around for a place to eat close to the apartment. Ended up choosing italian of all places. We felt we would have plenty of time to experience more japanese cuisine later on the trip. Challenging time as there was no english menu and the japanese waiter tried to expalin the dishes. I chose the shrimp pasta and C chose scallop (no idea of pasta or sauce it would come with - past english of waiter to describe). Ended up both being great, washed down with a bottle of italian wine. What a great first day in Japan!