My husband and I had the opportunity to spend five days in Kyoto in May, 2009. This blog post is just an attempt to share some of that journey. Unless otherwise noted, we took all the photos, which are just our snapshots, minimally processed.
Of course any trip really starts when the decision is made to travel and planning starts. One suggestion is that if you want to buy yen at your local bank, order the money at least a week before your departure. Turns out most bank branches have euros but not yen, and need a week or so to order them. ATMs connected to
Japanese yen notes and coins
Health clearance, in English and Japanese
You can't tell in this poor photo, but the pages are bright yellow
The white-garbed health team seemed very interested in a Japanese teenager in my row, but, fortunately, on the other aisle, so I escaped the dreaded red dot on my seatback. Others in his vicinity were not so lucky, and had to remain on the plane when we were finally processed, clutching our yellow certificates. Finally, off the plane and into Narita airport.
Jay navigated us to the Narita Express (NEX) which took us into
Bullet train platform, Kyoto
Checking departure times
From the window we viewed many small rice paddies in the leftover space between the suburbs and the train tracks. The small plots were shiny with water; bright green shoots were already well-established. About 3 hours later we were in
At the Kyoto train station we found an ATM linked to US Banks and obtained some yen. We then took a taxi to the Palace Side hotel, our home away from home in Kyoto. This hotel is popularly priced, and caters to both domestic and international clientele, as reflected in the breakfast buffet, which offered traditional fare - including a yummy sort of rice pilaf - and a game attempt at bacon and eggs.
The Palace Side Hotel
The hotel is called the Palace Side, I think, as it's directly opposite the large Imperial Park, where the Imperial Palace is located. The air smelled like jasmine during our stay, which I suspect wafted over from the immense gardens.
The view from our room - the greenery is the Imperial Park
I would recommend this hotel - convenient to the subway, inexpensive but comfortable, with friendly staff who do make an effort, and WiFi, not to mention washers and dryers. We remembered to always carry the hotel business card with us, so we could just show it to the taxi driver.
Our room, complete with automatic tea kettle
I couldn't manage to get a decent photo of it, but the bathroom was a compact cubicle, very clean, with a toilet whose sensor started a trickle of water into the bowl as soon as one positioned one's posterior; this ambient noise, if you will, masks other sounds.
Since I'm talking about plumbing, I'll end this post with an image of a very pretty manhole cover, demonstrating the ability of Japanese designers to make almost any item beautiful.