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October 9, 2005 – A journey to Kyoto, Japan in Asia

Kyoto, A City Of Contrasts

Kyoto Station turned out to be one huge mall as well – the crowds were unbelievable. Walking forth from the station, I found Kyoto to be a city of contrasts. In my mind, I was expecting Kyoto to be a traditional part (physically) of Japan for some reason – just like Shirakawa-go or Takayama (note that the old city of Takayama is separated from the more modern suburbs by the river). But really, what I got was a huge sprawling city interspersed with many traditional sites.

Walked along the main street, Karasuma-dori, towards a Toyoko Inn branch on Shijo-dori. Score! Toyoko Inn Shijo-Karasuma happened to be right smack in the center of many major sites. This business hotel branch came with everything we needed as well, and at a very afforable price (in comparison to other accommodations and even hostels in Japan). Most importantly, they supplied Internet (for some reason, it's been quite hard finding Internet cafes in Japan). It even came with a Japanese breakfast. After checking in, we rested for a bit and then went to the bank to replenish the cash supply. And then on towards Nijo Castle.

We sped through Nijo Castle in half an hour since it was an hour before closing time. Nijo was efficiently mazed out in an organized fashion. So, no problems going on a fast walking tour through the whole castle and the grounds. The squeaky floors, used to alarm castle guards of intruders, were also fun to walk on!

Nijo Castle

girls dressed in kimonos

After resting for a bit at the hotel, we decided to take the bus to the Gion district next. Turned out that the Gion district was only three blocks down! Shijo-dori, one of the main shopping areas in Kyoto, is connected to Gion. Got to see a couple of maikos and geishas along the way. Also wandered through the small side streets and the red-light district around the area.

red light district at night

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