So in the morning we decided to explore around the local area of Kyoto, first thing to visit were the Nishiki markets which were just up the road from where we were staying (Teramachi). It was primarily a food market with a large variety of fresh and packaged foods. Gavin and I headed off with our new friends Lilly and Isabella and because Ed and Tang were too slow, they were left behind.
There was an interesting looking octopus dish that we decided to try out, bout 300 yen for one. It was octopus with quail egg inside the head, no idea how they get it inside there because there didn’t seem to be any cuts in the head or anything.
You could get a lot of food from the market, a lot of the things on offer I was completely clueless as to what they were. A lot of sweets and seafood were on offer and walking a little further we got to a little store which had a little machine to make fresh donuts, somewhat similar to a mini version of a krispy kreme store. It was here that Tang and Ed eventually caught up and complained that we dogged them but we did send them a text which he never checked for.
It was after searching around this little donut store that we hit the jackpot. Found a store selling candy and they had some cool stuff, like giant green tea Pocky, but most importantly, GREEN TEA KIT KATS! Between the four of us, we bought 16 boxes, over $200 worth of kit kats :D. I eventually did get myself a box of giant green tea Pocky but we never tried that ‘collon’ stuff.
Here we split up with Lilly and Isabella and grabbed something to eat. We ended up at a Korean Japanese restaurant and picked out stuff randomly from the menu based on the pictures if they were available. I had prawn tempura and rice with some soup and it was delicious, tempura goes quite well with rice.
Walking around the CBD of Kyoto there’s heaps of little temples and shrines hidden all over the place. A lot of them are very small, like the one below) but some are also rather large.
There was one that caught our eye as we walked past as it had a huge tree with yellow loves. There was also a nice pile of leaves around th tree which had fallen as it was autumn.
It was strange however, the pigeons in the shrine seemed rather calm and you could walk slowly through a group of them and they wouldn’t fly away. Rather different to the ones in Sydney where they immediately flock off the second you get too close.
While travelling the streets looking for the store to rent out bicycles, walked past this familiar looking logo, not sure if it was the HQ or not but it was familiar logo in a small building. The search for this bike store however was an immensely difficult task, it must have taken us about an hour to find the shop. Following the directions on the map, we should have been very close to it but alas it could not be found. It was not until we circled around a few times and explored the smaller streets that the tiny store with an orange sign could be found. 2000 Yen later and we had a 3 speed bike at our disposal, ready to tackle the streets of Kyoto and go exploring.
Not having ridden a bike for a while, I was a bit shaky at first but confidence grew quickly and we strayed from the foot path to the streets weaving between the traffic. First thing to see was the Imperial Palace, being a public holiday, we knew the palace itself would be closed but it would still be worth while to explore around. There’s quite a few things to see outside the walls of the palace itself, the first being a little shrine close to where we came in.
A little further in, after crossing a small secluded bridge lies a garden with a rather large pond. It had a rather tranquil vibe to it and plenty of large koi fish swimming around.
Peddling around the palace proved to be difficult, the gravel pathways meant there was very little traction, making both turning and moving from standstill a little difficult. We came across a few more trees shedding yellow leaves.
What else do you do but pick up a bunch and throw them in the air. Had to ask a cute girl to take this photo for us, shame she was holidaying with her mum or something.
Moving onwards, we hit the inner walls of the palace, as we expected, we couldn’t get in. Hanged around for a photo and we headed off,, if you notice though, there is plenty of gravel around and all the pathways in the area are also gravel, this makes riding a bike rather difficult as you have little traction and start sliding all over the place. Good fun though.
After flying through the streets of Kyoto on our bikes, we arrived at this rather large temple with a dark black (with gold highlights) entrance.
It’s only when you enter you see the grand structures which reside inside including this large hall.
The buildings here have a striking amount of detail and must have taken a lot of time and effort to get such a lovely end result.
Something you don’t usually see with temples is a moat, not sure why this one was so special to have a moat around it, but it was rather empty, unsure if it fills up.
It was getting dark quickly and as the sunset, there was a nice building opposite where we were with a gold exterior and as the sun set it just lit up a nice warm tone and stood out from the other buildings.
Another fascination the Japanese have seem to be towers, there’s a tower in every city you go and Kyoto is no exception, right next to the station lies this white tower. It’s not extravagantly tall, but that’s probably because Kyoto isn’t as big as Tokyo and doesn’t need something monstrous like Tokyo tower or the upcoming Sky Tree.
We decided to quickly stop by a last temple before heading back as it was soon reaching the time we had to return our bikes. It would have been nice to enter this temple as the entrance outside was huge, it had two layers and was very impressive.
The ride back was quite fun as we had all split up to see who could get back to the bike shop first, along the way I saw Lilly and Isabella heading out. Even with this set back, I managed to get back first, followed by Ed, Tang and Gavin who got lost.
We decided to have some curry for dinner, heading to another store of the same franchise where Tang and I went back in Akihabara (in hope of a cute waitress). Unfortunately the waitress wasn’t very pretty but we were after food more importantly. We decided to hit up a level 6 curry, the hottest they’d serve someone who had never been before. Initially, it wasn’t too bad and then the spices started to hit and it was quite hot. A few jugs of water later, we managed to finish it off.
Heading back to the hostel, we met up with Lilly and Isabella and headed to a 300Y bar/restaurant kinda place. Hung around there for a while and then headed back to sleep.