Japan, May 2014: Day Fifteen

Our last morning in Kagoshima was spent wandering around a local shopping street. We waved goodbye to Sakurajima, dumped our bags in lockers and explored the area behind the station.

Unlike the central part of town, this is a sleepier backwater. The residents are of the older generation and tend to their shops in a more relaxed manner. As nothing opened until 10:00, we strolled around taking photos and planning breakfast. Come 10am, we found a supermarket which housed an independent bakery. All the products looked amazing and so we bought a mystery selection and sat outside to examine our purchases.

Some kind of cheese and bean paste were the main ingredients – but it was delicious all the same. Time came to board the train and the next thing we know we’re disembarking at Kyoto, the old capital of Japan.

Our hotel is located on the north side of Kyoto station; unfortunately, we couldn’t find our way through the maze of shops to exit on the north side, so had to leave via the south entrance and walk the long way around. This was made worse by the 30+ degree heat of the city.

The Capsule Ryokan hotel is just that, a weird mix of capsule living and ryokan styling that results in a great use of a small space. The room is tatami matted and the bed has storage inside for your bags etc. The room houses a shower unit, with the toilet in a closet by the door. It’s tiny, but there’s room for both of us.

Kyoto is a historical and beautiful city, so after okonomiyaki in a local restaurant, we made a beeline for the massive Yodabashi Camera that dominates the centre of the shopping district.

After a good nights sleep, we started the day by heading to our local temple; when I say local, we can see it from our room. It’s not popular with foreign tourists, so that suited us fine. It’s a very picturesque temple and it was nice to see some culture. We sat at the back of a ceremony performed by the monks and it was all very nice, I’d love to elaborate but it was all in Japanese.

To get out of the midday sun we headed to the Aeon Mall just down the road. This was more like the malls at home, but carpeted from top to bottom… Which was weird.

Back into town and we headed for the other temple within walking distance – this was closed for renovation. They’ve built two HUGE warehouses over the top of the temple whilst the work is completed. With our hopes dashed, we stopped by an Udon noodle bar before returning back to the hotel to do some washing. All very tired and covered in bug bites, currently planning tomorrow’s tour of more shrines.