Kyoto Day 3
We woke up in a very lovely and sunny day. We got to the train station running like crazy. Our goal was a romantic train ride from Torokko Saga station. There were a lot of interests in Romantic Train. So we could only buy tickets for the train ride which would start two hours later. We decided to turn this situation into an opportunity and went to the nearby bamboo forest.
We were looking our map and try to understand to which direction we should walk. An old man approached to us and explained us how to go to bamboo forest. We found the forest very easily. It was worth to see this unique forest with abundant and very tall bamboos and some very old cemeteries.
The way from forest to the train station was reflecting all the loveliness of this small Japanese town. It was sunny and hot, and we were happy.
We were at the station 15 minutes earlier and joined the queue. There were no tickets left for the seats so we had standing tickets. We realized that this was actually a good opportunity. The top of the wagon that we stand was open and it was very convenient to take photos and videos while standing. While I was recording video, Aytaç took very nice shots.
It was fun to be in a train which moves along the nature, near the river and mountains covered with cherry blossoms. We were happy like the children, took nice photos and recorded videos. To see one of these videos, you can click the link below.
The region that we reached at the end of train ride was a large plate which had big plantations and small villages covered by the mountains. We walked to the station where we can take the train for the city. We saw many lovely cherry trees which were just bloomed. One of the reasons to arrange our trip to Japan at this period (End of March beginning of April) was to see the blooming cherry trees.
When we returned to the main station, we first collected our JR passes, which give the opportunity to limitless trip by train for a full week. JR pass is a kind of time-limited ticket for non-Japanese people and it can only be bought before coming to Japan. It is a little bit pricy but it is worth to buy if you will use Shinkansen (speed train) at least twice during your journey as it will be cheaper to use JR pass than buying two Shinkansen tickets separately. We had planned to go to Kyoto to Tokyo and then Tokyo to Osaka by Shinkansen, therefore bought our JR passes online before coming to Japan. It is required to transform your coupon, which was sent to your home, into JR Pass in certain stations in Japan by showing your passport. After getting our passes, we booked our Shinkansen trips.
We were not sure where to eat but by commonsense we went to the top floor of the Isetan Shopping Center that is on top of the train station. Our choice was great; we enjoyed the best bentos we had until that time.
Gion was still on the top of our list and we would like to see and live it very much. However, our trial one day ago was not very successful. Therefore, we decided to go to this district again. Gion is a beautiful district on the East side of the river which cuts the city from north to south. The bloomed cherry trees nearby the river looked gorgeous, we took a lot of shots.
We walked in narrow streets; even saw a geisha running with a Starbucks bag in her hand. When we were walking along these streets we felt that we were in an old Japan movie. I would like to be there again now, when I am writing about it.
We were tired a little bit so we had a break in a café to fuel our body with dessert and coffee. Then, when resumed walking and we found ourselves in the middle of temples and gardens.
Totally by chance, we came across with The World’s Smallest Art Museum on the street when we exit from a garden of temple to a street. The only artist, only employee and the boss was an old lovely uncle. He was very interested to welcome us. He explained how he did his art by using wooden presses and showed his workshop. He gave us postcards as gifts, made by him. We got interested in his work, piece of art that were printed with handmade wooden presses. We purchased one of them and it is now hanging on our living room. We took a picture with him and he accompanied us until the street door.
It was about to be dark and we walked towards to city center to meet our close friends from Singapore. Our friends, Magda and Ozer, were also visiting Japan like us for the same period of time. When we met before coming to Japan, we planned to meet in Kyoto and Tokyo. We met at the station and went to Isetan Shopping mall, as we enjoyed having our lunch there. This time, we preferred to go to a sushi restaurant. After half an hour in the queue, we were invited to the restaurant. As we enjoyed our sushies, we shared our experiences and plans.
We were not feeling tired after the dinner. Our friends were with us. We walked a little bit to Nishiki Market, but it was already closed. We went to an Irish pub that we saw earlier and chat until late hours. Even the young Japanese guys sitting next table chatted with us. They were no longer shy after having couple of pints.
When we were about to end the night and leave the place, we realized that our hotels were the same. Even our rooms were on the same floor! So, we went to hotel together and promised to meet again in Tokyo later. This is how we ended our last and the most beautiful day in Kyoto.