April 2003 Day 6 - East To West
Today we moved from Tokyo to Kyoto. Though the train ride only takes about 3 hours, we decided to make it a mellow day, and only go out to see Nijo Castle after dropping our bags.
We filled out all the paperwork to ship out main luggage, check out of our hotel, then set off to the station with only overnight packs. Japan has a wonderful system for shipping luggage. Considering how heavy my luggage can get, and how much hassle it is hauling bags through crowded trains and train stations, I use this system whenever I can.
I was sorry when we left Tokyo. We had been on the run so much that I felt like we had only just arrived before we were leaving again. And I really liked our strange little almost-suite. Still, we were heading to my favorite hotel in Japan and a wonderful bath was awaiting us for tonight. So I really couldn't complain. Though I did almost wish that we had spent just a day or so longer in Tokyo.
I've done the trip from Tokyo to Kyoto enough times that I felt rather blase about it. I got a little quiet time in on the train, which was pleasant. Kiyosu Castle was spotted from the train; Nagoya Castle was not.
Given my earlier feeling of disappointment about leaving Tokyo, I was surprised when I stepped onto the platform in Kyoto to feel like I had come home. Perhaps it should not have surprised me, given that I generally spend more time in Kyoto. But it did. It was oddly comforting to find that it did. Perhaps the fangirl hasn't taken over as much as I thought she has.
We checked into my favorite ryokan, ate lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, then got onto the subway for Nijo Castle.
I've seen Nijo several times before, so there is little more I have to say on it. I always love the antiquity of it, but hate the hordes of tourists everywhere.
After Nijo, Jan and I ran over to the other side of the station to see what things of interest Avanti had. Avanti is a multi-story shopping mall which contains the largest bookstore in Kyoto. I found that it has topographical maps. Much searching will ensue later.
Finishing with our shopping, we headed back to enjoy a soak in the wonderful, large bath in the basement of our hotel before heading to bed.
Tomorrow: Day 7: In Which Our Travellers Realize That It Is Best To Listen To The Bus Stops When They Are Announced.
(Note: Yes, this was a very short entry. It was a very slow day, and we only went to places that I've been to before. I honestly do not have a lot to say about these places that wouldn't be similar to anything you read in a guide book. The guide book would probably even describe it better.
Thinking about it, I noticed that a lot more attention was spent on days that had IniD related stuff in them. I was thinking that was kind of pathetic -- almost like the only things that were of any note on the trip were fangirlish ones. I really don't want to give that impression, since it isn't true in the least.
Then I realized that there are a couple of reasons for this. First off, I try to be fairly detailed about IniD related stuff because I know that there are people reading this who are interested. Second, the information on places like that is relatively hard to come by. Anyone who is interested can find out more about any of the tourist traps that we went to (or are going to in the future), so I don't see a lot of point to just repeating the same information as one could find easily on-line. Third, I am writing some of this for my own personal notes. Since I intend to go back to the IniD related places and take a serious look at some point, I want to make sure that I get as much information from my light recon trips as possible. And lastly, some of the tourist places just have to be experienced. My reciting when it was built or any of the other details of the place really wouldn't be interesting to read.
Oh yeah, and the later into the trip it got, the more tired I got. This probably also reflects in my reminscences. (Just wait until the end of the trip, when I realized that I would answer half in English, half in Japanese. I despise it when I hear people doing that, but for some reaons I just kept having simple English phrases that I know I could have said in Japanese pop out.)