Sunday, 22 March 2009

Ninja's, Rain and Crowded Buses

It's Alan again, I hope you enjoyed the guest blogger yesterday. I'm sure you all found it hilarious that I got wet jeans when taking a photograph, or that I felt sick on the Bullet Train after eating shrimp heads. I will wait until I've had some more mishaps and then I'll let Kelly update you on them again..... :-)

Last night we got to our hostel and it was too late to do much so we went for a wander around Kyoto. We walked for about two hours without finding a single bar we could go into. It's weird, they don't really have much of a nightlife for tourists. I'm sure there are loads of bars around, just none that we could find! We did turn off the busy high street with all the family's and street performers into one of the most dodgy roads I think I've been on for a while. It was all strip bars and the first half mile of it was quite funny, and felt pretty safe. However as we got further down it suddenly became huge groups of guys and some fairly big groups of police. We thought it was probably best to turn back at this point and go searching for a bar elsewhere. In the end though we ended up getting a couple of drinks from the 7/11 and heading back to the hostel.

So, it was our first full day in Kyoto today and we woke up to some pretty heavy rain, so we had a bit of a lie in this morning. We both needed it as it's tiring being on the go all day every day.

We set off around lunch time for Nijo-jo Castle, which isn't really a castle, but it's still cool. It was the residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun and as well as all the usual artwork etc. on the walls, it is kitted out with some anti-ninja devices! They have the usual huge walls and moats to keep people out, however on the off chance that someone gets past that, they have 'nightingale' floors throughout. These are specially designed floors which squeak when you walk on them. Kelly and I tried our best to sneak around on them, but neither of us are budding Ninja's it has to be said. Still quite a good way to keep out Ninja's, although it did make me wonder what possessed my mother to Ninja-proof her house!! ;-)

After the Castle we got on a bus to Kinkaku-Ji to see the famous Golden Temple. It is a pretty amazing sight and as all of these things are, it is set in pristine gardens where not a branch or leave is out of place. The only downside to this was that the heavens opened and we got soaked to the skin as we went round. I was then literally force fed a traditional Japanese sweet at the end of the tour. If I had to sum up what this sweet tasted like, I would say something akin to a Jellyfish covered in Talcum Powder! Absolutely disgusting. Honestly, why the Japanese are famed for their food is beyond me.

After being rained on (see picture below for a bedraggled and , soaked Kelly) we headed back to Kyoto station on possibly the busiest bus on the planet, had some food and an early night. We're off to Narita tomorrow for our last night in Japan. We have a really nice hotel booked which will be a welcome break from hostel living.

OK, so it's a busy day tomorrow of moving again which means I need my beauty sleep. Hope you've all enjoyed your weekend and I'll update you tomorrow night on what will be our last night in Japan.

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