Wandering down the cherry blossom streets

Hello!! WOW what a day! I think I walked atleast 20 kms today – and boy are my feet sore. Where to begin?! I guess at the beginning! Oh by the way anyone interested in seeing more photos than the ones I put on my blog, can go here to my flickr There just isnt enough space to put them all on here!
So this morning I went down to breakfast and chose the ‘bread’ and ‘fruit yoghurt’. This is what came..


I do like my pastries! I think maybe tomorrow I’ll get the buffet as it will be my last day here! So after stocking up on that I grabbed a map from the hotel desk and headed off. I was determined to walk myself and not get a taxi… and let me tell you by the end of the day I was barely hobbling along. But I did it!

There are some really beautiful streets in Kyoto. You’ll be walking along and then there is a stream and lots of pretty trees.

I asked several people to take photos of me today. Here is one of them!

So my intention as you may remember was to go to a shrine and to find the philosophers walk. I can proudly say that I accomplished both of these things and much more!!
I felt pretty safe walking around – infact I have done so the whole time I’ve been in Japan. Even though at times I’ll look around and notice that I’m the only foreigner in the crowd it hasnt phased me too much. I’ve seen some beautiful things.


All this walking and I was only about 10 mins from my hotel. So much to see!!

Ok eventually I found a sign that said Nozonji Shrine, I was on the right track! I wandered down the road a little bit and came across this path that everyone seemed to be following – I thought at first it may have been the philosophers path but I was wrong. It was still pretty though!

So I followed the flow of traffic, jumping on the pebbles and we headed down to a waterway.

When we came out at the top I saw a sign for Kyoto Zoo! That wasnt even in my plans – nowhere in my mind at all but I found myself being drawn in. It cost me 600 yen, which is I think about $10 and it was an adventure!

Seeing Zebra and Elephants and Giraffes against the cherry blossoms was a real unexpected sight. Now, I’m not a big fan of animals in captivity and some of the cages were quite small but it was interesting to see how it differed from Melbourne Zoo.

I got to see a badger! And an Andean Condor – I couldnt believe how HUGE they were!! After some more wandering around I got this photo.

As I was walking along I realised that I have hardly said anything since being here – apart from ‘Arigato Gozaimasu’ but it didnt feel strange. I often find myself wandering along without speaking, lost in another world. Here are a few posters or strange things I have seen on the streets.

And look Uncle John, they grow your grass on the stairs here! hehehe.

My goodness! Thats a big post already and I’m far from done about my day.
Stay tuned for part two 🙂

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The rest of the day

Where else do you go that you can make three blog posts about one day?! Gotta love travel and adventures!! Hope you’re still with me, peoples! Ok, so where were we? Thats right, I was at the platform. They have a thing with cleanliness in Japan – as soon as the train pulled up and the passengers departed a team of brightly dressed women boarded to clean. You can see them there in pink – and the guy in the blue with the white helmet was I think the leader? Or maybe he had another job – there was one of him for every cabin. I watched them work through the window and it was like magic. They had a special brush to brush the seats down, a cloth to clean the armrests and then they would clear the bins and just make sure it looked tidy. I appreciated the effort when I went to my (very clean) seat.
Unfortunately I had an aisle seat, so it wasnt as easy to take photos or look out but I did my best. I got the payload shot too that I was hoping to take and forgot about but then I saw it (more on that later).
Here are some random railway window shots.




We passed all types of terrain – at one point I think I saw an ocean or maybe it was a huge lake, mountains, cities, fields, everything. Are you ready for the money shot?

We passed a few mountains and I wondered… but when I saw this peak I knew without a doubt. Hello, Mt Fuji! I am so glad that it was sunny and I got to see the icon!
I just tried to relax and listened to my ipod and the 2 and a half hour train journey seemed to go quite quickly! As soon as we got off the train I headed for the taxi queue… after a few moments of feeling lost looking at all the screens to find the exit! Haha. On the way I was tempted by the bakery shop, so I picked these up for lunch.
Yeah, just like me to stop for cake. hehehe. I had no idea what these were – they cost me about $4 for both I think. This whole money conversion rate isnt too precise with me! Anyway, the triangle one tasted like a cinnamon donut but it had custard in it! YUM! And the round one had a different custard in it and it was sweet too. I thought they were nice. Now – I know I’m not doing too well on the whole ‘different foods’ thing, but hold on until you hear about my dinner!

After checking in to the hotel I decided to go for a wander around Kyoto. I went out into the street, thinking I’d go find some shops! I wanted to go left but as soon as I got there I noticed a huge amount of noise coming from the other way. At first I thought there was a fight or something as a mans voice was booming loudly. I followed the croud, crossed the road and then came across something I certainly didnt expect to see.

This was Kyoto town hall, and the banners said something special was happening today. Boy, was I lucky!!


It seemed to be some kind of dance competition or exhibition! There were many, many different teams dressed very uniquely – almost harajuku!

They were reeeeeally getting into it – so energetic and passionate!! I stayed to watch 3 teams before heading to the shops. I couldnt believe the crowds!! I think I was the only one there who wasnt Asian. Speaking of, several times people have thought I was! I have had to tell a few locals that I dont speak Japanese as they had been expecting me to answer them. I know a few phrases but thats it – all I have been game enough to say is ‘Arigato Gozaimasu’. My brother will love that story, he is always going on about how I look Asian even though there is none in the family.

Did someone say shopping?

I bought a few little souvenirs for friends and myself but Mum will be glad to hear that I didnt even really look at clothes. Maybe tomorrow? Hahaha.
I went back out to grab dinner and after walking past a few shops I ended up down an alleyway, where I was enticed upstairs to a Russian/Japanese restaurant. I ordered cherry juice (for a bit of Japan), Borsch (for a bit of Russia) and Naan bread (lets add some india too!). It was actually really nice!!

Ok, now that you are all caught up on the news I’m going to work out my plans for tomorrow. Shrines, cherry blossoms… we shall see!
Good night!

I love my city

..and I love my town. I have been lucky enough to live and work near the city (Melbourne) during the week and then come and stay with mum down the coast on the weekend for a while now and I love it!! With my departure coming quickly I have been appreciating the best of both worlds, and would like to share some of my fave photos of the areas.

* Sunset at Dromana in summer. I remember salty sand, cold water and yummy icecreams. Growing up near the beach was a wonderful thing, and weekly family fish and chips every friday night after a swim.

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* My fave view – Seawinds gardens. Many a time over the years I could be found sitting on a blanket, with a picnic and just enjoying nature. With a view like that it really helps to put things into perspective.

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*Melbourne – this is a shot of the iconic trams and flinders st station. I remember growing up down the coast – an hr and a half from the city – it always filled me with awe to go to the city. Everything was so exciting, and busy, and there was a real pulse and atmosphere. I still see that now.

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I love new adventures, and exploring around new areas. You never know what amazing things you will discover!

I hope that everyday is a new and fun adventure for you!