We woke and I brought Simon a Santa sack (the washing we had done the night before) and did the morning constitutional. We made a plan for the bamboo forest and set off ready to use our JR passes. A quick nip to the convenience store and the post office (read: like 3/4 of an hour), and we were off.
The train stopped in Arashiyama which was close to the Bamboo forest – I was trying to get Swang’s attention as he photographed something up high and once he registers he says, ” sorry I can’t hear you over my artistic licence.”
We paid the 500yen entrance fee into Tenryu Ji which was b-e-a-utiful. Some excellent photo ops there, however a short stop at the toilet and I was offended by the machine dispensing toilet paper at the door in exchange for money, and the cubicles which said no toilet paper provided. I had half a mind to pee on the seat in anger, but I didn’t want to cause someone to spend 100 yen just to clean up my mess.
We wandered out and back into the street which was filled with small shops (something like a market), and ate lunch. I also had a strawberry softcream which I’m guessing is soft serve but it was fantastic. We looked around the shops and shot back into town to get ready for Nara.
At the station we saw a huge Christmas tree and decided to go up the escalators as hour arses and legs were sore. At the top was the Sky Garden. I snapped up a photo of the Happy Terrace and as I headed back down, I had a sobering experience hearing some mellow music box- style Christmas music where I realised I can’t be here forever.
Walking back from the station to the hostel, Swang says to me, “You know what sucks? We have to walk the whole way back again.
You know what else sucks? We will have our big bags.”
The next train arrived as we found the gate and hopped on. The chairs do this cool thing where you can grab the back rest and pull it up and over, this changes the way he seats are facing so you can have rows of two or a group of four.
We arrived in Nara and planned our route to the hostel, ML International. It’s the top floor of a 5 story building and seems to consist of one single dorm of 8 beds – it’s pretty dingy, but it was cheap – and the bloke, Mike, is a kiwi. View out the window was pachinko… which is the arcade/slot machine combo buildings. Jesus, take the wheel.
Had a few good chats with Mike, and sorted it the plan for tomorrow, then set off for some food. We had takoyaki from the place that makes the ‘best takoyaki in Nara’ and then waltzed into town for a gander. I bought a Nara postcard for commemorative purposes and we went back to turn in for the night, but not before trying to organise a ryokan for Hiroshima for one or two nights.
Fortune on our side, we now have a night at K’s House followed by two nights in a Ryokan, which is supposed to, in theory, offer us traditional style Japanese accommodation. Practically it may just be catering for us westerners in a touristy way, though the reviews for the one we picked sounds good.
So that’s it; tomorrow in Nara looking at the deer in the park, and a train ride to Osaka. 3 nights there and another 3 in Hiroshima- and for me, one more night in Tokyo before I leave!