Today, we arrived in Kyoto, Japan via the Shinkansen. It’s really a beautiful ride, and you can even see Mount Fuji from the train.
After arrival in Kyoto, we made it to our apartment for tonight, and then decided to explore Kyoto. For lunch, the place we tried to get lunch was unfortunately closed, so we joined some locals at the supermarket for fresh-made sushi and other pre-made goodies. The amount of pre-made food available at Japanese supermarkets is incredible; not only do they have sushi available, but a whole variety of other things, like skewered meats, stir fries, dumplings, etc.
First, we went to the Nijo Castle, where a variety of Kyoto Shoguns lived and where they have preservations of a whole collection of beautiful paintings and restorations. We were able to see the internal layout of the castle and then tour the gardens, which were beautiful.
The gardens surround this main palace and a secondary palace and living space, as well as a giant moat.
After seeing the palace, we wandered around Kyoto for a while, trying to find the Imperial Palace, which unfortunately was closed when we did find it. So, we went to the International Manga Museum, which was actually fairly interesting and not at all as sub-culture filled as I had suspected it might be. It was really interesting seeing a lot of locals just sitting and reading different manga, almost like a library setting (and we arrived just before closing, so this wasn’t people bored in the middle of the day). Then, we continued walking and saw many of these shrines along the roadside (hopefully we’ll be able to see more of these tomorrow, as we got a rather late start today).
After visiting the manga museum, we decided we were going to grab coffee/tea and figure out where to head for dinner in Kyoto. We ended up using the guidebook and headed to a cute little pub called the Pig and Whistle in a neat, trendy neighborhood across the river from the area of Kyoto that we are staying in. It had a great staff and really fun vibe, and they provided us with directions to a small ramen shop which had great, spicy ramen on our way home. Perry got the regular and I got the spicy bamboo ramen, which both had nice flavor.
Tomorrow we move to a different part of Kyoto, so more pictures and stories to come!