Friday, 11 December 2015


Travel day today. Our bullet train for Shin-Kobe

We savoured the last of our king bed sleeps and breakfast buffet before making our way to catch our 2 shinkansens for Kyoto. The total trip time was about 2 hours and the journey was easy and pleasant. When we arrived at Kyoto Station, the first order of the day was to buy a new lens for my camera at Bic Camera which was conveniently right at the station. Even that didn't take that long...

I was on a mission to try everything green tea. Here was my train "drink"!

We hunted for lunch at "eat paradise", a floor of restaurants within Isetan (another Japanese department store) again right at the station. Our challenge was to find a place that could accommodate all our suitcases and that had no lines. No we were not picky or anything...

We went into the first restaurant that fit the bill. And what a lucky find it was for us! The food was absolutely delicious and the children found it a novelty. We later found out that what we had was Kushiage (or kushikatsu - kushi meaning skewer and katsu meaning fillet of meat). It was short for deep fried goodness on a stick. They had several lunch set menus with a variety of meat and vegetables coated with batter and breadcrumb. The batter and breadcrumb though, was superlight and it didn't feel heavy or greasy. The chef prepared and deep fried the skewers in front of the patrons and placed it on a dish directly in front of each patron. There are several choices of sauces to dip the skewers in.

Always excited at meal times to see what surprise awaits us!

Bar like seating

Chef cooks deep fried skewers and places it on the dish in front of us

Variety of sauces to dip skewers into

Place finished skewers into fish mouth!

As we had decided to take a taxi to our accommodation, we shopped for provisions at the station as well. It was looking like one could easily live at Kyoto Station...

Our abode for our stay in Kyoto is Aotake-An, a machiya (traditional wooden townhouse) rental. Machiya rentals can range from budget to luxurious. Ours was in the modest price range. The machiya was in a tiny lane and the front very ordinary. The inside was cosy but super clean. As with most Japaneses apartment rentals, there was only one bath and one toilet. However, this time around, we had 3 tatami (straw mat) rooms to use along with a lounge/kitchen/dining area. The stairs leading up to the bedrooms was steep and narrow. I would definitely not recommend this place for anyone with mobility problems. The children thought the futon beds were "awesome" and volunteered to sleep on the floor.
The little alleyway where our machiya is

Futon very popular

Malcolm was set on cycling around Kyoto. After securing our rental bicycles, we proceeded to ride along the river. All was good until we reached Gion. Oh the stress of watching Jonah nearly collide into a car, a post or a person every five minutes! Some people probably thought we looked ridiculous as they asked if they could take a photo of us...Fortunately Gion was really close to our machiya and thus the ride home via dinner was short! Heaven help me tomorrow...

Lara was happy to get a canary yellow bike. Jonah loved his gears. Elliot didn't care...

Cycling down the Kamo River


The rest of evening was engaged in doing the highly glamourous job of...laundry. So over and out from me!

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