Day 7 - 11/10/09 - Kyoto (Japan)
Today we enjoyed a hot buffet breakfast which was closer to what we are used to back home (apart from the salad...) than what we had been getting. After breakfast, it was off to hire bicycles for the day (just under $5 each) - there are so many people on bicycles and they have a special section on the sidewalk for them. We were off to our first destination, Kinkakuji Temple. This was a stunning, gold plated Temple and was very beautiful.
Next we were off to Nijo Castle, where we had to take off our shoes for a tour of the paintings in the Shogun Palace (we were not allowed to take any photos in there either). It was then time for us to get on our bikes again and ride to Heian Jingu Shrine where we saw a festival with groups dancing and stalls. While in the area, we also went into the Kyoto Handicraft Centre.
On our way back to the hotel, we came across peak hour traffic on the sidewalk and had to wlk our bikes most of the way back. We believe it was so busy due to the long weekend, as Sundays back home are nowhere near as busy.
Day 8 - 12/10/09 - Kyoto & Osaka (Japan)
After breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and made our way to Kyoto station for train to Osaka (bout 30 min train trip). Once we arrived in Osaka, had our first subway train ride to Namba, and dropped our bags at the Vista Grande Hotel before looking around the area.
We went into a comedy and performing arts museum, and ended up with a lady who could speak English showing us around. We were given almost roylaty treatment by everyone there. We found out that she actually lived in Gippsland for a year when she was in year 11, so she was excited to hear that Jess grew up in that area.
We then made our way back to our hotel to check in and relax a little as we have had very busy days without much rest.
Tomorrow we will go into a local travel agent and book our ferry trip for Friday (to arrive in China on Sunday). After this, we will catch a train to Hiroshima. It's crazy to think that our time in Japan is almost over. The people have been so lovely and kind!
Take care - Jess & Scotty