A Travellerspoint blog

Kyoto

sunny 28 °C

The night bus was a bit of a rough way to travel, sleep came intermittently and we were dumped at Kyoto bus station at 6am. Wearily we wandered in search of a map in order to locate the hostel. Kyoto was more subdued and refined than the hectic Tokyo and the traditional history drenched ancient city that was relayed in the guides prevailed itself as such in front of us as soon as we left the station. The slight eyesore of the Kyoto Tower being the only anomaly. After a quick Maccies we found our accommodation quite easily. It was more spacious than the K`s House in Tokyo and there was more of a travellers buzz as everyone socialised in the common room about their individual adventures. Feeling quite shattered I grabbed a quick shower and we decided to only visit the temples and shrines within close proximity of the hostel.

The shrines themselves were rather basic Japanese style arches and didn`t provide too much to write home about。The temples on the other hand were examples of quite brilliant ancient Japanese architecture. The attention to detail and the layout and subsequent ambiance gave a great sense of what I imagine was the intended feng shui that was intentionally imposed on these religious masterpieces. We sat in on one ceremony. Everyone present was knelt on their knees intently listening to the deep murmurings of two monks either side of a statue of Buddha as incense filled the air. After another wander and visiting two more temples that were largely similar to the first we went home and slept, exhausted from the travelling the night before.

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The next day we got up early and rented a couple of bikes in order to see the temples further away from our accommodation. On a hot sunny day we cycled around, as much of the locals do, lead by a map that was the paper form of a back of a lorry sat nav, up to the outskirts of the city. The bikes were a great way to get around and on a scorching day provided a great alternative to the stuffy underground. First we went to the monkey gardens. We paid 550yen and trekked up the steep hill to see what awaited above. Suddenly after 10minutes of climbing there were monkeys in the trees all around our heads.We started snapping and after Dave had an altercation with one that chased him for a bit we went further up the hill. At the top the view over Kyoto was impressive and there were Japanese Macaque monkeys of all ages everywhere. We spent a long type photographing and feeding them as they lazed at our very feet. So much time that by the time we cycled over to the Golden Palace Temple it was closed, a bit disappointing, but the monkeys more than made up for it.

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The next day we relaxed and saw one last temple. On the way back we decided to get some food in to cook. We grabbed a few ingredients and knocked up a dish that we decided to call `Rabble` (details below). Later on we got some beers in, 7% Strong Off, and had a few cans on the terrace with a couple of English lads before heading uptown to `Hub` to watch England vs Japan. The British themed pub was crammed with Japan supporters with made for a great atmosphere. After an unconvincing win and sharing some banter with some English speaking locals we got a kebab and headed home for a log sleep before we headed off to Nara in the morning.

How to make rabble*

-Go to the crappiest, cheapest supermarket you know
-Buy some meat (preferably one that you cant quite tell what it is and that`s discounted, if there is no discounted meat, find good random meat and throw it on the floor multiple times, come back later in the day and it should be discounted)
- Noodles
- Sauce (this should never be the same, rabble is an organic thing and constantly changing to suit the dietary needs of no-one)
- Cook dat shit
- Enjoy

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  • Warning, rabble can often taste disgusiting and in some cases can lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea, blindness, paralysis and death.

Posted by jimmy3987 23:43 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Mount Fuji

semi-overcast 25 °C

After a 2 hour bus journey we arrived at Mount Fuji on a grey, wet Wednesday afternoon. We were situated in what initially appeared to be a small mountain town with very little activity and only a selection of stores and restaurants. That evening we got some dinner in and conversed with an older British couple who were working their way through Japan the opposite way to us. Although the trouser wearing wife liked the sound of her own voice, she gave us some quite useful information about our forthcoming locations. Afterwards we planned our assault on the mountain and decided that a prompt 8am start was the best way to concur Mount Fuji, although it is rare to hike up the entire thing in one day as most people get dropped halfway by bus and walk to the summit, we thought we`d give it a go because we`re young lads in our physical prime and we couldn't`t afford the fare.

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The guests at the hostel were mainly form English speaking countries, Americans, Aussies and Brits formed the majority of residents. They were all friendly, approachable and willing to exchange travelling stories, back stories etc. The yanks tend to be my left favourable people to chat to or hear talking, everything is `oh my god` and it `it was the most amazingly awesome thing i`i`ve seen in my life.` Yea there are some pretty spectacular sites out here, but it`s not bloody willy wonka's chocolate factory is it? Their verbal diarrhea strung together with their ever popular conjunctive, filler and all together favourite word `like` does make you feel the urge to slip a strong sedative into their juice box, i`ll resist for now. Though that night one of them did make me laugh when I was getting some beers out of my bag and the guy rolled over dreary from just awakening and questioned in a high pitched strong Texan accent, `are those beeeeeeers!?` To which I merely replied `yes` and he rolled back over and back to sleep.

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The next morning we set off in much better weather. As soon as we left the hostel you could see why people go out of their way to go from Tokyo to Mount Fuji. What was concealed by the dark skies the night before surrounded us in all it`s snow capped splendor. The Mountain engulfed the small town and revealed itself as a far more daunting, intimidating prospect than it had in the brochure the night before. After getting lost and asking multiple locals where the beginning of the walking route up was, we finally found it a couple of hours after leaving the hostel and began our climb. The track was easy to follow and we walked consistently at a medium-fast pace through the soaring trees. 4 hours later we had reached the 4th station and were feeling exhausted from the steep incline that ensued from the second station onwards. We decided 5 would be a good achievement and trooped on with slight altitude sickness setting in. We clambered to the 5th station, took some photos and i finished my lunch of 5 croissants, chocolate sticks and frog biscuits. Tasty stuff! As we set off back down the mountain the weather began to turn.

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A few hours later we completed our back breaking day of exercise with a Big Mac each then headed back to the hostel in the rain. We gathered our things together in a hurry and walked in the dark to the bus station were we boarded the 8 hour night buts to Kyoto. ppppppppppppp

Posted by jimmy3987 06:04 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo!

semi-overcast 20 °C

Having followed the sun halfway around the world, after a 2hour delay, 1 movie, Sherlock Holmes and episodes of The Simpsons and Gavin and Stacey all intersected with dubious airplane food we arrived at Narita airport at 11am, 3am GMT. The transit system was remarkebly similar to the tube back home so we found our way to our hostel quite easily and promptly set out to discover the cultural side of this far east metropolis. We went to Mcdonalds first and then picked up 12 cans of expensive japenese beer. After a quick wander, in which we took a few photos and got in the way of a few busy locals, we headed back to the hostel for a session. We had a guy from Coventry in with us who was on his own and just about to head back to the midlands and another bloke who said very little. That night we headed out to Rippongi and Shibuya where we met some germans and had a wander on what was a largely uneventful first night in Tokyo.

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The second day we awoke at a lethargic 12.30 and went for lunch at a local sushi place near where we were staying in Kuramae. Very traditional and slippery, the raw fish made my stomach question the decision behind this new alteration in dietry needs. After some debating it settled down and accepted the fishy rice combo as a one off event, which it will be because it was rank. Later we ventured into central Tokyo. The buildings were impressive and the cleanliness of such a populated vibrant city is astonishing. It is near emaculte everywhere you go. A city pruned to the perfection that you would only come across back home in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. We visited the Imperial Palace and took some shots around there.

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After consulting our Lonely Planet guide we decided to find the Tokyo Government Tower and head up to the viewing gallery to look out over the city. The view was mind blowing. Literally one of the most breathtaking sites I have ever seen. The scale of the cityscape we had been blindly wandering was unvieled on the 45th floor. The photos did not do it justice but are still spectacular as photos go.

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We walked around Shibuya later that night and had dinner. The portions here are a bit on the small side and expensive to boot. Not being a fan of the local cusisine is definately detrimental to budgeting. Today we moved on to Mount Fiji, a 2hour bus ride from Tokyo and intend to climb it at 3am Wednesday morning to see the sunrise. So when your having your Tuesday night dinner back in blighty, if still sunny, gaze out the window and wave at the sunset.

Posted by jimmy3987 14:44 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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