Mum - I am due to arrive at heathrow at 5:10pm so will probably be back in Milton Keynes by about 7pm.
Visited Kyoto for one last time yesterday. I got up early like planned and was in Kyoto by 11. The main area I was visiting was the Arashiyama area which is in the Kyoto hills. It is a really beautiful rural place, lots of hills, rivers and woods. It is the prettiest place I have been in Japan. The main attraction which I headed to first is the Tenryuji zen temple complex. The buildings themselves were not hugely impressive however the grounds were incredibly beautiful. The ground were full of nice trees and home to a very pretty pond. Outside the North gate was a large bamboo grove. Lonely Planet describes it as reminiscent of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon but their writers talk s*** and are overly grandiose. It had a road, albiet small, running through it which you had to walk on and taxi`s kept coming past. It was quite nice though and impressive when the wind blew and had the slender bamboo shaking which created a nice effect with the sun. After Tenryuji I went to Okochi Sanso, a villa complex which was built by a famous Japanese actor from the silent movie era. The admission was 1000 yen which is a rip off but it does include a green tea and a japanese sweet. The villa was largely unimpressive but like with the temple the grounds were fantastic. Tiny paths wound their way up the hill which the villa is perched. The view from the top of the ground was fantastic. On one side he Kyoto plain strected out before me and the view from the other side encompassed a valley, made the admission worth it. I was planning to visit a couple of other temples in the area after but I was getting concious of the time as it was two o`clock and I still had a couple of big temples to fit in which were in other areas. Japanese people move incredibly slow when they are sightseeing and there were large crowds so it took me a while to get back to the train station. I made it eventually though and jumped on a local train and headed back into Kyoto. The next temple I headed for was in Northwest Kyoto which is a large area and the subway stop was no where near the temple. A really nasty bitter wind had picked up and I was frezzing. Istarted on the way to the temple but realised after about ten minutes that I had made barely any progress on the map. I was feeling a bit s***ty and starting to get in a bad mood which I knew would ruin my enjoyment of the day thus far. I think it was because I was tired and hadn`t ate probably. As of such I decided to call it a day. I missed out on a few big temples but am happy with what I got to see in Kyoto, I`m sure I will be back someday in any case. Kyoto is Japans best sightseeing city by far, you could easily do five days. Although on the surface it isn`t pretty once you get out to the outlaying areas it is clear how beautiful in actually is. I preferred the madness of Tokyo but Kyoto is right up there with the best cities I have been to. I think it is probably a great place for older people and couples to visit but I enjoyed in plenty. Had a few beers last night in Hub the British pub, got speaking to a couple of bussinessmen from New Zealand. Tried to chat up a drunk Japanese girl but she couldn`t speak any English so I didn`t get very far.
It has been an interesting experience travelling on my own these last two weeks. Obviously I would have rather Eddie hadn`t run out of cash and had been able to stay until the end but I have really enjoyed the time spent on my own and know I can do it now. I have been able o get a lot of sightseeing done which I knew I would on my own but to my surprise I have also had some really good nights out. I`m not exactly the most sociable person as you all know but I have met some really cool people while on my own in bars.
It has been a brilliant few months and I would have liked for it to last longer but am looking forward to coming home and seeing friends and family. The US and Japan were both great. In terms of the actual travelling I suppose I enjoyed them equally but I prefer Japan as a country which is probably due to the culture. It really does feel like you are a million miles from home here. Both great countries though which I really definatly return to. Lots of places in the US I didn`t get to see and still quite a few places in Japan I have yet to see.
I have thrown a few more photo`s up, will load the whole lot on when I get home.
Well I guess that is it, for now at least. Thanks for reading.