Woke up, got ready, had food in the bar next to the hostel, and spotted some bikes outside – we rented and set off towards Niijo castle. Another thing here is that bike riders never seem to have helmets, AND they are considered pedestrians- as in you ride on the footpath and swerve in and out of people like madmen. I paused while Swang went back to get his little action camera, and we set off again.
It was a pleasant ride through the streets and alleys to Niijo Castle, where we popped off our bikes and toured around the castle and grounds – I paused for a cheeky ice cream in the gift store while I waited for Swang.
He appeared and we shot off in and out of side streets and alleyways looking for the Golden Pavilion. Along the way we spotted a gate and turned off for a better look.
As we were parking out bikes I went to walk away, and an elderly woman started taking to me. I missed some of it but she was telling me to take my key and lock my bike in case thieves came to take it away. I thanked her and grabbed my key, and we went up the stairs.
At the top we washed our hands at the basin, I uttered “Well now that I’ve washed away my sins… it’s time to sin again!”
We biked our way to the pavilion and stopped to eat some pizza – red onion and duck, and miso. I’ve burned the skin off the roof of my mouth near my front teeth with the karaage chicken (as in I peeled it off while I was brushing my teeth) I had this morning, so eating tasty food is a double edged sword.
Inside the golden pavilion was incredible. It’s golden. I also nearly bought another omamori (the most visually appealing one was subtitled “success in love,” because lord knows I need some) but it’s too similar to the last one – however I did purchase a gift by the time I got around the winding paths to the third vendor.
At the exit there was ice cream for sale – I got a combo of green tea and vanilla. And while waiting for Swang I had an absurdly racist moment where I thought I saw him, but it was just one of his many, MANY brothers and sisters.
From here we decided to go all the way back past the hostel and to a shrine on/at the base of Mount Inariyama. By the time we had reached the halfway point it was dark and we navigated the alleys like locals. They should just give us Japanese passports.
The shrine was amazing however upon reaching a small summit I spotted a map which showed how little we had achieved in walking through the grounds. There was a whole mountain of gates and shrines to see!
We made a wee plan to go to the bamboo forrest the next morning, and get to the summit of Inariyama in the noon- back in time for a 6:30 train to Nara where we managed to find accommodation for the night.
Legs and arses sore, we did a quick google map and took one single direct road back to a mall we had encountered earlier in our adventures for conveyor belt sushi. Simon spots a lift going up that looks lit up and pointed where it was going; “it’s like watching a suppository moving around your butt!” he utters.
The sushi was all going around on a belt, different colours of plates were worth different amounts – you take what you want and pile up the plates when you are done. I had a nice stack of ten when I was done, however at 150 yen a plate (like $1.83ish). Most of it was either battered and cooked or raw fish of various varieties. I ATE RAW HORSE AND Simon ate mane, but I’m not sure what that is.
Bellies full, we ambled down the stairs and our knees very nearly gave way, as we walked into Kyoto Avanti for a look around. Once we were finished with he department store, it was a very reluctant bike back to the hostel, where we did something phenomenal. We have now booked accommodation for the next 5 days – and the will to book the rest in the morning…. one can hope.
So Nara on the 8th, and Osaka 9 – 12, then we will need to book for Hiroshima and I’ll return to Tokyo on the 15th in preparation for my trip back home (and to buy as much as will fit in my bag). Simon and I finished the night by sharing a sad moment when we realised how little time we had left. We didn’t hug. That’s probably why we haven’t been booking our accommodation in advance, not because we are lazy and winging it.
All in all we biked something like over 22km, using google maps to work out the shortest route (that doesn’t take into account he fact that we took a lot of side routes).