Kel: Well after an amazing and knackering trip to Osaka we got to Kyoto. Although it is a city of traditional Japanese life, and therefore tourists, there is much less English written anywhere and therefore a little bit harder to make our way round (on buses no less). Our first stop was a wee cubby hole more budget hotel which was a fine stop over. We learnt that night that things weren't going so well back at our flat. The tenants were throwing a strop at our boiler being in the bedroom and wanted to back out. Things are smoothing over now and they're still there. ... but a lovely bit of drama on the side of our Kyoto visit.
So what did we do? We had an amazing day visiting a Golden Pavillion which is absolutely awesome. We met a wee Japanese boy there called Matsou who practiced his English with us and gave us a kite he had made - the two of us were just about on our knees - he was so cute!
Then we headed for some zen at some beautiful and ancient gardens with a temple that was over 1000 years old. The beauty of Kyoto is amazing, everyone is pretty calm too - the zen gardens just do something to you the moment you walk through the gate. We found ourselves whispering to each other even when we were on the street afterwards.
But the best bit was when we moved in to our new ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) for 2 nights and a lady called Mimosa looked after us sooooo well. Again, there was an immediate feeling of tranquility as we got to our room (4.6 tatami mats - no shoes on them and slippers in other parts of the inn) We were greeted with a green tea ceremony and some sweets. I'm not sure what they're called but they're basically azuki beans in some sort of syrup or treacle. Matthew thought it was meat ... mmm ... Japanese not too great at the sweet stuff.
Anyway, we had the most amazing Japanese banquet sitting on our chairs with no legs in our room. We then went to an onsen (Japanese bathing) for a night time bath. It felt like Mimosa had us in a routine straight away. Dinner at 7.30pm, bath at 9.30pm, breakfast at 8.30am (also amazing meal of smoked roasted fish, rice and pickles) Needless to say we slept like logs and woke every morning about 10 mins before our alarm.
The rest of our time in Kyoto was spent visiting the Geisha district Gion (no geishas to be seen unfortunately) and visiting a few more gardens. We said our sad farewells to Mimosa, she gave us more sweet meat, and then her husband gave us a lift to the station - they were just so incredibly kind.
Back in Tokyo we had one last day in a new district (shimbashi) which had cool sky scrapers, a great advertising museum, a fake 'rose and crown' pub (we weren't picky though as we couldn't find pubs anywhere) and an early night before heading to Bangkok the next day.