Japan Fun Time 1.2

Our first full day in Japan started really early.

Being all jet-laggy and time-zoney, I woke up at 4:00 am… Everyone else got up at six.

The reason for the early wake-up call was so we could get on the road to the Kyoto… The original capital of Japan.

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On the Road

Since Kyoto is a big city to explore, we decided to check in at a traditional Japanese inn…

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Our Inn: Rakucho

After checking in, we jumped on a bus to our first stop…

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Bus

A vending machine!

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This one has ties in it.

There’s something like one vending machine for every 30 people in Japan.  While most carry soda and iced coffee, the first one we saw had ties.

Okay…

The vending machine was not our first destination.  We’ll get to that in a second.

But first…

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Lunch!

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This is a big ass bowl of Tempura Udon. It cost 850 yen (which is a little bit more than 10 dollars), and was worth every slurp.

Okay…

Our first destination was right across the street…

Kyoto is THEE spot for visiting cool looking temples.

Our first spot was The Golden Pavilion, home of the Rokuon-Ji Temple.

Ladies and gentlemen…

Kinkaku-Ji!

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The Golden Temple at Kinkaku-Ji

After walking around the pavilion for a while, we hopped on another bus to make our way to the Silver Temple, known as Ginkakuji…

But first, let me digress just a little bit.

Japan is totally unlike any other place I have ever seen, but in some ways, it can’t help but remind you of places you have been before.

The rolling hills in the city of Nagoya, along with its architecture, remind me a lot of San Francisco.

In visiting the temples of Kyoto, I am reminded a lot of looking at Mayan ruins in Mexico.  Although the ruins and temples look nothing alike, there is almost always a street fair type of vibe outside of the destinations… Packed with people, gift shops, and little eateries.

Here’s the scene outside of Ginkakuji Temple…

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The village outside of Ginkakuji Temple.

When you’re walking up to the temple, you just have to stop in the shops, or at least get you a snack.

Once Kara saw this, we had to get a popsicle…

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Leo was here.

I’m not a popsicle kind of guy, so I opted for a spiral cut fried potato on a stick (called a Potatornado).

Okay…

Back to Ginkakuji…

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The Silver Temple

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People love throwing money water. I’m not sure how the fish feel.

After the Silver Temple we headed up to a gigantic temple on a hill called Kiyomizu-Dera.

It’s quite a walk to get up to the temple, but sites like this make it all worth it…

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Heck Yeah!

Before you knew it, we were there.

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I guess we weren’t the only ones who decided to show up.

As loud and crazy as it may feel outside of the temple… Inside, it was straight up peaceful, son.

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Inside the Temple

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Mad Peaceful

After a bunch of site-seeing, we headed back to the inn to freshen up.

Now…

When I say that this is a traditional Japanese inn, I mean it.

When you walk in the place, you kick off your shoes and put on slippers before entering.

You kick off those slippers, and put on a different pair before you use the bathroom.

There are no chairs.

The floors are bamboo.

You sleep on a futon.

Check it…

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Kara made me take this picture of our futons before I messed them up.

Then it was off to dinner…

Aim E. and PB treated us to a fancy steak house called Nan Zan…

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Just in case you wanted to know what part of the cow you’re eating.

The food was on its way, but first a beer…

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Asahi Super Dry. Just like what you’d find in the USA, but the alcohol content is a little higher.

The meat comes out raw, and you get to cook it how you like on a grill in the middle of the table…

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Waygu. Soooooo good.

We finished off the meal with some great jasmine tea.

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Yum.

On the way home, we stopped at a convenience store to get some snacks, but we waited until we got to this vending machine to get some beer…

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I love this place!

We all headed back to the room and hung out on the floor…

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I had the Kirin Classic and some Rich Cut chips.

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Kara had a Chu-Hi. It’s a lemon flavored drink made with shochu (a Japanese liquor).

I slept great.

Up early the next morning, I sat on the floor and drank some tea.

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The sun comes up around 5:30 am here. The tea makes it easier to deal with.

For breakfast, we stopped at an eatery…

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Aim E. was all like, “We have to go here!”

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These triangles of rice are kind of like breakfast sushi. The one on the left is topped with salmon. The one on the right is sort of a fried rice dish with egg and mushrooms all squished together. Very good.

After breakfast, we hopped on a subway to go to the Shinto Shrine, Fushimi-Inari Taisha…

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Here’s the village, with tons of souvenir shops and eateries.

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One of the first shops you’ll find there sells chopsticks with free engraving for about 2000 yen (a little more than 20 dollars).

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Outside of the chop stick store was one of Kara’s favorite vending machines that sells Boss iced coffee. Tommy Lee Jones is their spokesman.

Okay…

On to Fushimi-Inari Taisha.  This shrine is home to over 10,000 torii gates (those are the red arches you’ll see everywhere).

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The beginning of Fushimi-Inari Taisha. Did you know that Inari is the god of rice, sake, and prosperity?

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The first torii gate.

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A man was selling takoyaki on the way in. It’s a ball made of wheat flour batter, with octopus inside. I only really wanted to try one, but he gave me seven for 500 yen. They are good, but extremely rich. And the batter on the inside of the balls are like lava. Be careful if you get these. I burned the roof of my mouth pretty bad on my first bite.

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I asked PB what the writing on the back of the gates meant. Apparently, they are just ads for the people who paid for the gates.

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Tiny torii gates.

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It’s a long walk if you want to cover the entire shrine. There are rest stops along the way. Many of them sell beer. This is a good thing if you just burned the roof of your mouth on some takoyaki.

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Halfway up the top of Fushimi-Inari is a great place to take pictures of the city of Kyoto.

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Walking down back with some new friends.

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More torii gates. Nothing new here, I just really like this picture.

With the day nearly done, it was time for us to make the trip back to Nagoya…

But we did have to make one last stop…

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Costco

PB calls this the American Embassy.

It is exactly the same as you would find in the United States.

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Even down to the food court, where I had a hot dog and soda for 180 yen. Who says Japan is an expensive place?

So, that was Kyoto.

The rest of this week, we’ll be checking out what Nagoya has to offer.

Tonight is Karaoke!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

8 Responses to “Japan Fun Time 1.2”

  1. Evan Jones Says:

    This post reminded me that I have been meaning to find a place that sells takoyaki in the bay area for like, 2 years. Time to redouble my efforts.

  2. jonnybrandy Says:

    amazing post

  3. Jeff Eckles (@JeffEckles) Says:

    Great post, Jeff. But where is the video of you singing Karaoke?

  4. D'Arnold Says:

    Please get a hold of some natto while you’re there. Also, video your first sampling so your followers can see you enjoy it!

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