Our Japan Trip

June 29, 2008

More Kyoto and Back to Tokyo for One Night

Filed under: Japan Trip — Andy Mayer @ 8:06 am

The rain came back today, in full force. As a result of the weather and some general tiredness, today was a slow day. We spent the morning in Kyoto, caught a 3:29pm train back to Tokyo, and are now safely here – packing for our two days at Disney.

My day actually began in the rain, when I attempted to run out and find some breakfast for Beth and me at a local bakery. If found the “local” bakery about six blocks away in a subway underground. By the time I made the 20 minute round trip, the combination of pouring rain and high humidity left me hot and tired, when the day hadn’t really begun. On the plus side, it did give me reason to explain “humiture” to my kids.

Once back at the ryokan, we left the bags in the front lobby and set out for more adventures. This time, we decided to walk, rather than trying to get nine people and a stroller on and off buses. This made for a nice stroll, albeit in and out of rain. After about 20 minutes, we arrived at Heian Jingu Shrine. Here we saw two large gates and a very large ceremonial courtyard, which you can see in the photos. Compared to some of the other temples, this one isn’t nearly as old, but is very serene and elegant.

From there, we walked about five minutes back to the Kyoto Handicraft Center, which is best described as seven floors of tourist diversion on a rainy day. We started on the 7th floor, where the kids made some crafts themselves. Joey made two Japanese woodblock prints. Woodblock printing is a craft in which a series of carved woodblocks are used to make prints that are overlaid on top of each other with different colors. Jessie set about painting a ceramic bell. My niece and nephew each made a spinning top out of paper strips. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors are packed with different vendors each hawking their wares to tourists. There was some tourist schlock, but some was actually quite nice and very expensive. Beth really liked some vases, but they were $600 each. We ended up buying Joey a Japanese puzzle box, and Beth bought a woodblock print, a small ceramic plate, and a large scarf that she plans to frame and hang.

When we were shopped out, we opted to take the place up on the free shuttle to any hotel in the city (that shows you how touristy it is). Because the 1:00pm shuttle was full, they actually paid for two taxis to take us back to our hotel. Once there, we walked back to the subway underground for lunch, and we promptly split up. Joey and I went for soba. My brother-in-law and nephew went for curry. And all the ladies went to a fried pork/chicken/shrimp place. Once done with lunch, we doubled back to get our luggage, headed to the train station, and got on that 3:29pm train.

Tokyo was no better weather-wise. We waited a good 20 minutes for the bus (under an overhand, fortunately), before making it back to my sister’s apartment. We’re now packing up to leave in the morning for Disney. Since we’ll be leaving for home on Wednesday directly from Disney, we’re packing everything up. The weather forecast actually looks very good.


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