Beginning Kyoto

Hello Friends,
I hope this finds you in fine fettle.

Sitting in my spacious six tatami room* at the Tomato Guest House. Less than a ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.

Took the overnight bus from Tokyo. Here’s the lovely Willer Express check-in lady at work.

This is a shot with my flash of my ‘cocoon’ on the bus. The actually lighting on the bus was provided by red lights on the ceiling. Very nice as long as you were looking for something big like your seat rather than trying to figure out the controls on the entertainment centre.

The seat reclined way back. That entertainment centre at the front of the space I used to watch a crap Hollywood movie before falling asleep. The ride was very smooth as we were travelling on a main highway the whole time. The main comfort problem was that the length was really for six foot or shorter. I’m six foot two. (Strangely enough, the Indian overnight buses are better arranged. They have enclosed bunks stacked end to end two high that give you a very spacious private place. Very nice for sleeping. Or reading or just looking out the window.)

We arrived at six in the morning at Kyoto Station. As happens so often in this life when one has arrived at an early hour, the guest house reception opens at nine. I hung around a temple for a while,  found the guest house location and happened onto this beautiful mosque.



The ever faithful body was indicating it’s need for sustenance when I chanced upon this nice ‘Morning Set’ brekkie at a small hotel. Such a lovely presentation for a simple toast, tea and a hard boiled egg. (And, a salad.) Tasted good as well. (Very rare to find bread other than this white air bread in Japan 😦


At nine, I dropped off my luggage and headed to a sento (public bath) that is open from seven in the morning. After twenty-six hours on the rode, I was ready. Soap and rinse outside the shallow pool. Then, slip into the water so hot that it melts your bones. Did three rounds of hot, cold. Brushed the trusty teeth. Dragged a comb through my hare and once in my togs, stuck one hundred yen in the slot for ten minutes in the massage chair. I could do this on a regular basis with ease.

The guest house has a 4pm check-in. Six hours and counting.

Midday, I lashed out in a top floor restaurant of Isetan Department Store with a wonderful cold soba set. Yummm.


I looked at the tourist map and headed to an indicated garden only a few blocks from Kyoto Station. This turned out to be a successful move.

This beautiful wall greeted me

and was followed by a couple tea houses beside a lilly covered lake.

As well as this stream.

I found myself a secluded spot and pulled out the old bamboo for a pleasant little blow. Had to cut it short as I was being attacked by the local mozzies. These secluded spots have their drawbacks.

Following on from the garden, I continued to pass my time eating green tea ice cream and wandering from one sitting spot to the next waiting for four of the clock to appear. Wandering from here to there wishing that I were in my soon-to-be-bed rather than seeing the sights.

However, I knew that I owed it to my reader to make that extra effort and not be collected by the police for curling up in the middle of the sidewalk as I felt to do a few times. (As much as that might make a colourful episode.)

Four o’clock did arrive. Check in was a success. Sorted a few things and descended into that delicious snooze land. Am now sitting with a belly digesting  homemade muesli ( smuggled into Japan) for dinner. Feeling invigorated and looking forward to tomorrow. Will be seeing some sights and locating one or two of the vegetarian restaurants the I have a list of somewhere. On Monday, we begin the Summer Shakuhachi Camp of the Rockies (transplanted to Kyoto) in a lead up to the World Shakuhachi Festival. Yeah, Team Kundan.


* A tatami mat is approximately 0.88 metre by 1.76 metres.


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