Day 7 dawned crisp and clear, what would have been perfect skiing conditions but we were heading off the mountain so no more boarding for Adam.
Maybe it was the thought of this that made him accidentally smash his head on the boot of the shuttle bus that took us to Hakuba station in the hope we’d stay longer…(one of those moments you really shouldn’t laugh… and then really do. And still are at the memory)
The view of the mountain from Hakuba station (which incidentally was like 8 minutes from the hotel by minibus) was stunning and we were sad to be leaving. It is a great place and we’d certainly consider going back. I feel I may say this often of Japan!
Once Adam had remembered his name, and considered how big the bump on his head was – we managed to chat to the clerk at the ticket office and reserve our seats over to Kyoto. Frustratingly I think we ended up in the wrong carriages (we’d splurged on green car – first class – seats) but hey – you live and learn.
We arrived about an hour early so read for a bit before getting onto our 10.13am train. The journey was awesome, we went past some stunning scenery on our 1.30 local train and though it was a bit like a big version of the overground – it was surprisingly OK for the 90 mins we were on it.
We did manage to get confused at the end and thought we’d missed the stop as it was shockingly running 2 minutes late (that never happens here) but we were fine. Saying that – the transfer was now down to 4 minutes so was a bit touch and go.
The next train took us from Matsumoto to Nagoya and was a limited express train – very comfy!! We played cards for a bit and had a snooze – great way to travel.
Then the exciting one – we had 10 minutes to change in Nagoya to board the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto. This was very easy and we were onboard quickly. The bullet train really is super fast, 36 minutes to do over 100km – impressive!
We arrived in Kyoto around 3pm, starving though impressed and tried desperately to find something we wanted to eat. At this point our bags were feeling very heavy and we were both feeling the strain… so we went for… Mcdonalds. I know! Its dreadful! But my god it was worth it.
Once finished we kept on trudging around and picked up some city bus and subway passes (more on these tomorrow) and two singles to our nearest station Maratumachi.
The subway was again easy enough and we got to our hotel (Kyoto Garden Palace hotel) about 4pm. I’d booked too late to have much choice of hotel so its a bit further out than i’d normally go for, but its a lovely hotel and right next to the imperial palace.
Bags dropped and a quick freshen up and we realised they do a cake happy hour 3-6. A CAKE HAPPY HOUR. I was straight down there, i’d not had proper cake in ages.
The cafe was lovely and we sat next to the window with a view of the small garden to enjoy our treat.
Now I say treat. Singular. Because Adam sort of mumbled at the waiter and didnt realise a ‘set’ meant a piece of cake and a drink – and thought we got the whole plate!! So I got the cake I ordered, and a delicious orange juice – and Adam got a coffee. No cake.
Instead of asking the waiter for another slice he just ate half of mine to (and I quote) ‘help me out’. Unbelievable. I get one sugar laden piece of joy and he takes half!! I am pretty sure I could file for divorce over things like that…
Anyhows, cake semi scoffed, we decided to go have a wander around the palace gardens which we thought would be open until about 6. The sun was starting to set so it was very quiet and tranquil. The coy pond was a stunner.
After our wander it was time for more food (standard) so we went in search of dinner and found a place down the road which looked good value and poke me with a fork – it was amazing.
I went for the Korean bbq chicken set, which now we know a set means it comes with other things. In this case – a oolong tea (nice), rice (yum), tofu (not so yum), coleslaw (getinmybelly), pickled veg (tasty) and miso soup (meh). Overall though this was a massively tasty bargain. The chicken was freaking delish and the coleslaw was soooo good. I even liked the tea!
Adam went for the ginger fried pork and had the same thoughts (though he donated his coleslaw to the barrow cause – which was gratefully received)
On the way back into the hotel it was pretty busy, and it turns out there was a wedding going on! They looked amazing as well… (sneaky pic coming up…)
Full and tired we decided an early night was in order so we could get up at the crack of dawn ready to climb a mountain. Which is exactly what we do tomorrow. Not before we tried on our complimentary Yukata (light kimono to wear casually inside) and took ridiculous photos. Standard.