Kyoto day 1

On Christmas Day we got up early (earlyish) and caught a train to Kyoto.  We caught a local train, it took about 45 minutes, so we were in Kyoto before 9. We chucked the overnight bag and umbrellas in a coin locker at the station and caught a bus to the flea market.

Note on travel in Japan. It’s very very unusual to see people with large suitcases or large bags on trains (other than those to the airport).  There is very little luggage capacity on any train, and a lot of people, especially around new year.  Most people send their suitcases on ahead, either through private delivery companies (similar to fed ex but much better) or even the post office.  You are charged on a per piece basis by size.  It cost us about $25 to send two suitcases from Osaka to Kyoto.  We took the, to the front desk of our hotel the day before we left (by midday for that hotel) and they were waiting for us the next day when we checked in). When you add in the cost of two lockers to store them ($6 each) plus the hassle of the train station- so many many stairs and no escalators in some parts, it is worth it.  

Picture from the bus ride (street scape).  I took a video but can’t find it.

Gas station 

At the flea market we wandered around, bought some spices and got some small  cups  of coffee. There were a lot of stalls. 


There were kimono stalls, but compared with the amounts and quality in Osaka, they weren’t great.

The iron monger stall. G got the kitchen knife he wanted.  We bought one here last time but the wooden handle didn’t like the dishwasher…

 It is held on the grounds of a temple, and there were people there for that too.

After a couple of hours we took a bus into the centre of town.  We were heading to a needle place I had heard of.  We found it, but it was shut!  But only for the day, Thursday’s are the day they close.

We had a Christmas lunch of ramen and fried rice (me) and fired chocked and fried rice (G). And since ramen is considered in Japan to be Chinese, we had Chinese for Christmas.

We wandered down the shopping arcades- Kyoto has two covered over pedestrian shopping arcades- not quite shopping malls, but a bit protected from the elements. We then turned onto the Nishiki market Street.

This is a street of mostly food shops.  The food is generally on show, and it is amazing

I got some yummy tofu mini donuts ( no pics because I scarfed them).  And then we headed back to the station and our hotel.  The hotel is near the station, but they also supply a free shuttle bus to and from the station, so we grabbed that.

On checkin, we discovered we had been upgraded.  They didn’t tell us that, but our room is bigger than expected, and our reservation info says a different floor. 

  Later we went back to the station, bought some more desserts from the department store there and looked at the Christmas decorations.  A nice Christmas Day!


And this below was the Christmas dec at our hotel.  Gone by Boxing Day!



my hobby is shopping

Well no, not really.  But this is something a lot of students used to say to me when I taught English here.  Just to be clear “students” were customers at a commercial English  teaching business and ranged in age from 12- 90 or so.  We did teach kids as well, but they were in different classes.

Anyway shopping is something you can spend a lot of time doing in Japan.

Yesterday we did.  First up was the flea market at Shitennoiji Temple. This is held monthly on the 21st and 22 of the month. (Closest station is Shitennoji mae yuhigaoka on the Midosuji line) at the temple.  Flea markets at temples are common in Japan.  They can be very interesting experience, but most of the markets we have been to previously have been on the tourist circuit (domestic and international) or very small.  This one was huge and mostly localish people, judging by what was sold and not.

We got off the train and G asked me which direction.  I said follow the stream of old people with shopping trolleys!  Even the roads leading to the market had tables, mostly for the shops that were on the road.

The temple gate, leading in…

There were several stalls of old kimonos, which used to be common at the Kyoto ones (but the vendors there have clued into tourist interest and charge accordingly), frequented by ladies in kimonos.

There were rolls of fabric

There several stalls with everyday living things- pots and pans, cleaning products, blankets etc.  there were stalls selling old stuff.  Cameras, old knick knacks, we even saw a rack of 8 tracks.

I bought some buttons at a button stall.  The stall holder told us one was from the 60s, pre Tokyo Olympics, because the papers wrapping the buttons were all 1964 Olympics newspaper articles!

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