As we get closer to Tokyo, accommodation gets more expensive. So, for our first hostel, dorms are a must. There are a variety of friendly people of various nationalities. All good stuff.
Kyoto itself is a beautiful city. Described as the walking city, it stands out as a mix of the old and new, separated by a river. As it is autumn all the trees are a wonderful palette of full greens down to deep reds. The river is shallow, with fish, herons and ducks. The air is crisp and clear, every time we go for a walk we are filled with a sense of well being.
We spent our first 2 days here not doing too much, resting mostly and going for a local wander. A shame as we want to stay longer, but every is booked for the weekend? A possible autumn festival.
Today we went for a shrine tour, next to the Gion district (the old district) we had a planned path to follow which would take us half the day. Very early on our walk, we got a Japanese couple walking up to us and talking to us. They wanted to chat using their English (much better than Rics Japanese) and they were also visiting Kyoto (a day off) visiting the shrines, but without a route. So, from there they wanted to follow ours and we set off with new travelling companions. We chatted about anything and everything, being from Japan they could translate more and talk with cashiers etc. We got chatting with an artist who had come to paint the shrines, to us random stranger talks is a bit awkward, but our new found friends were more than happy to chat with anyone and everyone.
The walk itself was a good summation to the splendour of Kyoto, all very picturesque with some old buildings to match.
After we had parted, our next plan was to go Geisha spotting. Apparently the district where they hang out is right next to our hostel, but you have to be careful because a lot of people wearing the costume are not true Geisha, but tourists or locals dressed up for the fun of it . Our first early attempt yielded nothing, we had probably gone to early. Later when we went for dinner (without our camera) we spotted a couple of real Geisha, unfortunately surrounded by old businessmen, gross. Who else could afford $3000.
Tomorrow we head for the bamboo forests on bikes. More fantastic scenery should follow.