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Archive for the ‘Kyoto 府’ Category

I forgot my notes

Posted by Heliocentrism on April 3, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

All Pictures

Nothing like starting the day with sugary cereal.

Let’s take the bus.

We arrived at Kyoto on the night of the 2nd in the middle of, what seemed to be, a snow storm. Luckily, we live in a boondock town without the modern-day conveniences like salt trucks or snow plows. Everyone in Miyoshi puts snow tires on their cars in December and we had ours on for the trip.

We got to the hostel safely, but it kept snowing the rest of the night. When we woke up the city looked like… Well, you can see for yourself in the photo above.

I have no idea where our car is.

Rather than spend half an hour shoveling our car out of its parking space and then navigating Kyoto under piles of snow, we chose to use the bus. A day pass for the bus cost 500 JYN and the bus stop was not too far from the hostel. We bought the pass from the reception desk and went on our merry way.

I don’t know what to do next.

We got to Kyoto station. This was where the tour I had planned would begin. But, when I put my hand into my pocket to get the paper with the lists of things to see, it was not there.

My notes where back at the hostel. In them I had information about the things we should see, when they opened, how much it should cost, and interesting trivia we should think about when looking at the sights. But, now I had none of that with me.

I tried to remember what it was I wanted to see in Kyoto. But, this was a 2 week trip that I had planned months ago. I wanted to see lots of things in many cities. Kyoto didn’t really stand out in my mind.

“I think there was a temple with steps, but we could or should only go there in the morning. Or, maybe there was a garden, but we should make sure to get there before 17:00…”

Map, what do you think we should do?

We looked at a map of the bus route. A few things on it jogged my memory. Like there was definitely a temple I wanted to see, but I couldn’t tell which one from this map.

In every Japanese city there are temples that are important to Japanese tourists because some famous Monk or writer lived there. Non-Japanese (or rather non-Buddhist/ non-Shinto) tourists might not care so much. One temple pretty much looks like another. Unless the temple has a beautiful view of a lake or bamboo forest.

All the geishas are asleep.

I remember that Gion was a place I wanted to see. So we went there. We walked through the overly crowded streets and tried no to bump into anyone. We found a tiny tempura place to have lunch. What didn’t find were any geishas or maikos; not even someone pretending to be a geisha or maiko.

Aren’t you glad we came all the way to Kyoto to see this shopping area that looks like it could be anywhere in Japan?

Then we followed the crowd and ended up at the Nishiki Market. Mark was unimpressed. “This looks like it could be Oita or Hiroshima!”

The Nishiki Market is one of the famous landmarks in Kyoto, but I’m not sure why. Almost every city in Japan has a shopping area that looks just like this. (Miyoshi doesn’t have one, but Miyoshi doesn’t even have a movie theater.)

Bamboo forest

We wondered around looking at random temples, shrines, and palaces.

Many of the bus stops in downtown Kyoto have free wi-fi. I stood at one, hoping that at some point in time, I emailed my notes to Mark. I didn’t. But I was able to do a google search of things to do in Kyoto and was reminded about Arashiyama.

“We need to go there. That name sounds familiar!”

What’s down here?

We walked around some island but found nothing interesting. I couldn’t remember why I wanted to get to this place so badly. We found a train station and walked into a 7-eleven nearby.

I was about to ask the lady at the counter for information on the area, but she beat me to it. She pulled out an English tourist map of the area. She circle the spot where we were now standing.

Then she drew arrows across the bridge. Her arrows led us off the island and near a temple. The temple’s name, Tenryu, looked familiar. The arrows stopped at a trail through a bamboo forest.

“That’s it! The bamboo forest. Oh, and we need to get there before sunset.”

That’s all the light for today.

We got there just in time. We took several photos before it got dark.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Kyoto UTANO Youth Hostel
(京都/宇多野ユースホステ)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°01’37.8″N 135°41’59.1″E

Address:

29 Nakayamacho Uzumasa Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 616-8191

Phone:

  • +81-(0)75-462-2288

Websites:

e-mail:

Cost:

  • About 3,400 JYN/ person/ night
  • 610 JYN for breakfast

Hours:

  • Check in: 15:00 – 23:00
  • Check out: by 10:00

Notes:

  • This was one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in!
  • Children and babies are welcomed.
  • free parking
  • free wi-fi
  • free onsen within the hostel
  • There is a really nice kitchen you can use.
    • all appliances, tableware, and flatware as well as pots and pans are provided.
  • You can buy a day pass for the bus at the reception desk.
    • 500 JYN
    • The bus stop nearest the hostel is called Utano Youth Hostel.

Gion
(ぎおん)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°00’13.3″N 135°46’37.6″E

Address:

Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0001, Japan

Websites:

Books:

Notes:

  • This is the setting for Arthur Golden‘s Memoirs of a Geisha.
  • Gion is around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west.

Nishiki Market
(錦市場)
(Nishiki Ichiba)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°00’20.2″N 135°45’56.9″E

Address:

Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Websites:

Cost:

  • free
  • The are many shop in which to spend money

Hours:

  • typically 9:00 to 18:00
  • typically closed Wednesday or Sunday

Arashiyama
(嵐山)
(Storm Mountain)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°00’59.3″N 135°40’13.4″E

Address:

Togetsukyo, Saga, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8383, Japan

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • free

Hours:

  • It’s best to visit the bamboo forest when there is at least some light.

Notes:

  • See the Bamboo forest inSagano.

Map:

Posted in Honshū, Japan, Kyoto 市, Kyoto 府 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Highways and Byways

Posted by Heliocentrism on March 27, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

Look at all those fools trying to go to Tokyo.

The Long Drive

On this day we just drove from Tokyo to Kyoto. Rather than write an entire entry about how we, “drove for 3 hours, then stopped to use the bathroom, then drove for another hour or so, then stopped for lunch…”

I will tell you all about driving in Japan in general. When to do it. When not to do it. What are the best driving options and so on.

The next train will arrive any day now.

Why should I drive in Japan?

Because public transportation outside the big cities suck.

When I first got to Kyushu I did not have a car. To get to work I had to catch the first train that left the station nearest my home at 6:00 in the morning. This train took me downtown where I would wait 30 minutes for the train that would take me to work. Then I would walk 20 minutes up hill and get to my office all sweaty and ready to start my day almost an hour before I really needed to be there. (A later train would get me to work an hour too late.)

To get home I would sneak out of work, 15 minutes before I was officially allowed to leave, and run to the station. Most days I would get there in time to catch my train; on other days I had to wait an hour for the next one. This train took me back downtown just in time to see the second train I needed pull out of the station. I would wait an hour for the next one.

To put this in perspective, it took an hour and 20 minutes to get to work and 2 hours to return by train. The drive to and from work took 20 minutes with traffic. To walk to and from work; 2 hours. Yes, walking home from work took the same amount of time as taking the train!

Plus, the train isn’t cheap. I got transportation money from work and it never covered the cost of taking the train everyday to work. But once I got a car, that same amount of money covered the cost to fill my tank every month including my driving on the weekends (as long as I didn’t take a long road trip somewhere).

A Japanese driving test course

Who can drive in Japan?

Anyone with an International Driver’s License can drive in Japan for up to one year. You can use an International Driver’s License for another year if you go back to your home country for at least 3 months and re-enter Japan on a new visa.

An International Driver’s License is very easy to get if you live in a country that uses them and you already have a regular driver’s license. It took me about 20 minutes to get one.

As an American, I simply went to the nearest AAA office. (You don’t need to have AAA membership.) I brought my valid US driver’s license, $15, 2 passport photos of myself, and a completed application form. Everything was done right there and I walked out 20 minutes later with my International Driver’s License which did not become valid until the day I planned to arrive in Japan.

After a year of living in Japan, I had to get a Japanese driver’s license. The citizens of some countries just need to show up at a Japanese DMV, show their license from their country, and that’s it. Americans have to take a driving test.

The driving test is mostly non-sense and has nothing to do with proving that you are a safe driver at all. I won’t get into it here, because I wrote about the process in a previous entry.

Now he can’t drive.

Do not drink and drive!

Japan has a zero alcohol tolerance for drivers. You will be fined, thrown in prison, then kicked out of the country if you caught drinking and driving.

You can also get your friends in trouble too. If you got drunk at someone’s house, or with someone at a bar, that person can also be fined and thrown in jail. At the very least, that person could be fired from his or her job and deported.

Even if you are at a party and you know of someone there who drinks alcohol and plans to drive and you do nothing to stop it, you can be held responsible. This too can result in your being fired and deported.

A car slightly bigger than yourself

What can you drive?

You could drive a scooter, a kei car, or a regular car.

I know nothing about driving a scooter in Japan other than it’s a huge death trap. Why don’t you just hand the grim reaper your business card? Scooter drivers believe that most of the rules of the road don’t apply to them causing them to do things like overtaking cars on the left during traffic. (We drive on the left here in Japan.) They ride the knife’s edge of being annoying little two-wheeled trolls of the road and the cause of needless traffic accidents.

So, the two sane options are the kei car or the regular car. The kei cars come with yellow license plates and the regular cars come with white ones. Here are the pros and cons of both types of cars:

Kei-cars Pros:

  • Generally cheaper
  • Generally more fuel efficient
  • They have cheaper fees:
    • taxes are cheaper
    • tolls are cheaper
    • license fees are cheaper
    • insurance is cheaper
  • Smaller and easier to park and find parking
    • Sometimes smaller parking spots are cheaper. SOMETIMES

Kei-cars Cons:

  • You can fit at most 4 people in one.
    • More than that and you are breaking the law.
  • Hills are a problem for older kei cars.
    • Turning off the a/c until you get to the top helps.
  • It doesn’t matter what the highway speed limit is, you will never come close to going that fast.
  • The trunk is a joke.
    • Travel light and don’t buy too many groceries at once.
  • You’re screwed in a serious car accident.
    • Try to only get hit by scooters or other kei cars.

Regular cars Pros:

  • Look at all the trunk space you have!
  • You can blow off that speed limit and have your a/c cranked all the way up at the same time.
  • You can have 4 friends or more depending on how many seat belts your car comes with.
  • Everybody gets an airbag!

Regular cars Cons:

  • You have all this horse power, but with the cost of gas, tolls, insurance, taxes, and price of the car itself, you can’t afford to go anywhere other than work (to earn money to pay for your car).
  • Many of the roads in Japan are slightly wider than your car.
    • Watch out for death ditches.
  • You have to look for the special big-car parking spaces.
  • Snow tires cost more money for regular cars.

Watch out for the cliff on the right!

Where can I drive? (The picture above is of a 2 lane road.)

On the left! For god’s sake, stay on the left!

You gotta pay extra for a median.

What roads should I take?

If you’re not going too far (any trip less than 2 hours) don’t take the expressway. The expressway is a toll road. It has a higher speed limit, less traffic, more signs, and most of the time there are 2 lines for each direction of traffic. The roads are nicer and there are plenty of rest stops to gas up, eat, and use the bathroom. You can even take a nap in your car at the rest stop, if you’re into that sort of thing.

But the expressway is expensive and for short distances, it might not be worth it. You shave off 30 minutes on your commute time, but you pay $20. It might be better to leave earlier or later to avoid traffic.

If the time saved is several hours and taking the expressway means not spending money on a hotel, then it’s definitely worth it. If you plan on using the expressway often, you should get an ETC card. This is easier said than done.

There are many benefits of having an ETC card. The tolls will cost you less at certain times and on certain days. There are even days when the tolls are free only to ETC card holders. You don’t have to stop to pay your tolls. And, there are extra toll exits and entrances that only ETC card holders can use. Best of all, no scooters are allowed on the expressway!

The problem is that it is easier to get into MIT than to become an ETC card holder if you are not Japanese. My friend, Freda, has one and she recommends applying for a Japanese credit card and forcing the person helping you with the credit card application to apply for the ETC card as well. Getting a Japanese credit card is slightly less hard than getting an ETC card.

You don’t have to get a Japanese credit card to get an ETC card, but if you are a foreigner, it is damn near impossible without one.

On the free roads, you are guaranteed nothing! You may get 2 lanes of road for each direction, you might get one lane to be shared by both directions of traffic. You might have a tunnel that goes through a mountain, or you might have to drive up the mountain on windy roads with death cliffs. Most likely you will get stuck in traffic.

If Mark and I did more trips like this one each year, I would have put the effort into getting an ETC card. But we don’t, so…


Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to ask whatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Map:

 

Posted in Honshū, Japan, Kyoto 市, Kyoto 府 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2 Days Away from Our Prefecture

Posted by Heliocentrism on October 10, 2014

December 21-23, 2013

All Pictures

We’re going to a Park!

A Vacation for Pennies (uhm… yen)

Mark planned this trip. We wanted to do something for winter break, but we did not want to spend a lot of money. In Okayama we live near some nice big cities in Japan. Many of them are less than a half day’s drive. So we took two days to see 3 cities each with a tourist attraction that was not too expensive.

This is where all the flowers would be, if there were any flowers.

The first stop was the Expo Commemoration Park in Osaka. If I lived in Osaka and had kids, I would get a year pass for this place. It’s a huge park filled with stuff for kids to do. In the spring there are lots of flowers to admire. In winter, not so much.

We walked around the park exploring each section. When it started to get dark, we headed for the main gate. But, first I needed to use the restroom. We took a detour to pass a certain set of bathrooms and in that process, we found a group of people playing loud music.

Mark swore he heard K-pop and we marched into the crowd to check it out. We stood in the middle of herds of people. Half of them were standing in line the other half were jostling for seating space under several tents. We looked around for a sign to explain what was going on.

Ramen Expo!!!

“Mark, Mark, it’s a ramen expo!!!!”

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on this blog yet or not, but I LOVE ramen. I am also quite an artist when it comes to making ramen at home. Depending on the mood I’m in I might add extra things to my ramen to liven up the flavor like, cheese, kimchi, vinegar, hot peppers, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, sake for rice, lime, I could go on.

The Ramen Brochure

The lines people were in, where for the many types of ramen for sale. Mark got a brochure and we looked through it. I’m sure the booklet explained the history, making, or ingredients of each of the ramen, but we could not tell. We had to make our decisions based on pictures and the little Japanese we could read. Luckily for me, most of my Japanese vocabulary is centered around food.

Yum!

I knew I wanted one with meat (にく), an egg (たまご), and some kimchi (キムチ). We searched through the booklet and found a vendor that sold kimchi ramen with beef or pork. Almost all the vendors gave you the option of adding an egg or two to your soup. We walked to the back of the crowd and bought tickets for ramen. Then we looked for our vendor.

Which one is the one in the little ramen book?

We stood in several lines, trying to find the vendor we had chosen from the brochure. Many of the vendors used kanji to write their names, and fancy kanji at that. Everytime we thought we found the correct line, it turned out to be the wrong one. We gave up on finding this particular vendor and just went to the one with the shortest line. When we reached the front of the line I saw a sign that advertised extras like kimchi and ramen eggs for 50 yen per serving. “That’s good enough!”

What Luck!

We took our food and headed to one of the tents. They were heated and were a lot warmer than the benched outside. Just as we entered the tent a large group of people got up and left the tent. I think they were from a school field trip or something. We sat at an empty table and ate our ramen. By the time we finished our table was full, so we didn’t stick around to chat. There were more people who needed seats.

Christmas lights of Osaka

Next we headed downtown to look at the Christmas lights. Well, they didn’t have so much of a Christmas theme as a Christmas feel. There were a couple of displays that were Christmasy, but most of them were just nice lights to enjoy near the end of December.

winter garden

Christmas in Japan is not like Christmas in the states. You order some chicken from KFC weeks in advance along with a cake from some bakery. Of course you can decorate your door with red and green kitsch. You might even buy an already decorated 5 inch Christmas tree to place in your apartment or shop window. But, no one celebrates Christmas day here, anymore than one would celebrate Groundhog’s day, assuming you don’t live in Punxsutawney, PA.

You could almost fit a double bed in here.

We spent the night in a tiny hotel room. The hotel was really not nice. We only put up with it because it cost 2,000 yen ($20) and it was only one night. I would have prefered staying at an internet cafe, but this was cheaper.

Hurry up and take your photo!

Because our hotel was so dreadful, we got up early and drove to Nara. Mark wanted to see this temple just to feed the deer. Mark loves feeding things. They sell deer food from wooden boxes placed around the temple grounds. It’s based on the honor system. You put 100 yen in the box and take out one bag of deer food.

“It’s too early to eat, human!”

Since we got there so early the deer didn’t seem fully awake yet. We went into the temple and looked around there, before going back outside to feed the deer.

He reminds me of Zoltar

We found this wooden statue in the temple near the main hall. It is a Pindola called Binzuru. If you touch a part of your body that is ailing and rub the corresponding part of the statue’s body, you will be healed. I’m not sure what to do if one has, say breast cancer…

Now, who’s the popular kid?

Once the deer were fully rested, they were more willing to chase Mark around as he bestowed deer pellets upon them. Mark spent more time with those deer than he did in the temple.

The nicest entrance ticket I’ve ever had.

Next we went to the Kinkaku Temple in Kyoto. I really was not expecting much from this temple. I’ve seen many temples before. This wasn’t even the first temple I had seen that day.

Wow!

But when I saw it. Wow, that was one hell of a temple. We could not go near it of course; we were only allowed to admire from afar.

Try your hand at some good luck?

There were many stone cups for you to try to toss coins into for good luck, wealth, or health. Look at all that disappointment.

Hooray for English!

There were machines that sold fortunes. Usually there is a paper and drawer system of buying oracles at temples. I have never been able to crack it. But that doesn’t matter anyway, I can’t read Japanese. So even if I did find my correct fortune, I can’t read it. But this temple not only gives their fortunes by way of a vending machine, there was one in English!

My 2013 Oracle

It’s in English, but I’m still not sure what it says…

I have no idea where this is. 😦

After getting my oracle that told me to stay where I was, Mark and I left Kyoto and went home in Okayama. On the drive home we found this park, but I just can’t remember where this is. I wrote the name of the park down somewhere, but I can’t find that notebook. I only know that this park is in some town between Kyoto and Okayama.

…Maybe that was what the oracle was warning me about.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Expo Commemoration Park
(万博記念公園)
(Bampaku kinen kōen)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°48’44.1″N 135°32’20.0″E

Address:

Senri-Banpaku-Koen, Suita-shi, Osaka

Phone:

  • 06-6877-7387

Websites:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Adults – 250 yen
  • Kids-  70 yen
  • Under 7 – free
  • Parking –
    • 800 yen weekdays
    • 1,200 yen weekends

Hours:

  • Closed Wednesdays
  • 9:30 ~ 17:00 entry stops at 16:30

Notes:

  • Sometimes there are exhibits that cost extra to enter.

Tōdai-ji
(東大寺)
(Eastern Great Temple)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34° 41′ 21″ N, 135° 50′ 23″ E

Address:

1 Zōshi-chō, Nara, Nara Prefecture

Phone:

  • +81 742-22-5511

Websites:

Cost:

  • 500 yen (museum only)
  • 800 yen (museum and Temple)
  • Parking is free (I think…)

Hours:

  • 8:00 to 16:30 (November to February)
  • 8:00 to 17:00 (March)
  • 7:30 to 17:30 (April to September)
  • 7:30 to 17:00 (October)

Notes:

  • constructed in 752
  • There are many deer walking around the grounds you can feed.

Kinkaku-ji
(金閣寺)
(Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
(Rokuon-ji)
(鹿苑寺)
(Deer Garden Temple)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35° 2′ 22″ N, 135° 43′ 46″ E

Address:

1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto City

Phone:

  • 075-461-0013

Websites:

Cost:

  • 400 yen adults
  • 300 yen kids
  • There is no free parking. You can pay less and park further away, or pay more and park next to the temple’s entrance.

Hours:

  • 9:00 ~ 17:00

Notes:

  • This is one of the few places in Japan where you can get a fortune-tell paper in English.

Map:

Posted in Honshū, Japan, Kyoto 市, Kyoto 府, Nara Prefecture 県, Nara 市, Osaka 市, Osaka 府 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Capsulation

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 14, 2011

December 28-29, 2010

All Pictures

inside the temple

We went to a beautiful temple and walked through an interesting market, but so what?

Of course, since this was Japan and it was near New Year’s day, we went to a beautiful temple and walked through an interesting market, but so what? After living in Asia for 5 years, I stopped caring about that sort of thing. I just went there for the sake of Alex and my mom. To me the exciting activity for the day was checking in to a capsule hotel!

checking in

There are mostly just for men, so when Makeeya and I read online that there was one in Kyoto that offered accommodations for both males and females we jumped at the chance. Yes, they cost less than a normal hotel in Japan when traveling with 4 people, but it wasn’t just about saving money here. It was an opportunity to experience the quirky part of Japanese culture.

the women’s elevator

Except for the first floor lobby, everything is segregated by gender, even the elevators. The women’s elevator only goes to the ladies’ floors. There is a bathroom floor where the lockers, bathrooms, showers, and hot tub are. There were 2 floors of capsule rooms for women and 4 for men.

the showers

Everything was clean, well labeled, and small. It didn’t matter that I could not read or speak Japanese. Everything I needed had a picture label. I did have a hard time getting all my stuff to fit into the locker. But if it didn’t fit I could have put my stuff in a locker at the reception.

in my pod and 9h pajamas

The pod in which I slept was not too tiny. I had no problem sitting up in it. There was a shade I pulled down for privacy when I was ready to sleep.  I didn’t hear anyone snoring until I got out of the pod. The pod kept out most of the noise. The only time I heard people talking was when they stood right in front of my pod.

I must say that now, I prefer capsule hotels to hostels!

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Kyoto JR Station
(京都駅)

How to get there:

  • 34°59’07.5″N 135°45’34.7″E

You can get to Kyoto station by subway. It has the station code K11.

Websites:

Downloads:

Hours:

  • Most shops and restaurants open around 10:00 and close around 20:00.

Notes:

  • There are many lockers at this station.
  • You can go to the top of the station where you will have a great view of the city.

Higashi Honganji
(東本願寺)

How to get there:

  • 34°59’27.9″N 135°45’30.2″E

From Kyoto Station –

  • Take the North exit near the taxi stand.
  • Walk straight f0r 2 blocks down Karasuma-Dori.
  • It will be on your right.

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Mar – Oct — 5:50 to 17:30
  • Nov – Feb –6:20 to 16:30

Notes:

It’s a 10 minute walk from Kyoto Station


Nishiki Market
(錦市場)

How to get there:

  • 35°00’20.1″N 135°45’57.0″E
  • You can go to Shijo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line

or

The market is one block north of Shijo Avenue and runs parallel to it.

Website:

Hours:

  • around 11:00 – 18:00 (individual shops vary)

Notes:

It gets very crowded at night, so you might not want to bring a big backpack here.


9 Hours
(ナインアワーズ 京都店)

How to get there:

It’s a 2 minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station.

Address:

9h ナインアワーズ 京都寺町 〒600-8031
京都市下京区寺町通 四条下ル貞安前町588

Phone:

  • 075-356-9005

Website:

e-mail: contact@9hours.jp

Cost:

  • for 9 hours ~ 3,000YEN
  • for 17 hours ~ 4,000YEN

Notes:

  • They provide towels, 1 packet each of shampoo, condition, and body wash, and pajamas.
  • If the pajamas do not fit you can ask for a larger or smaller size. They have S, M, L, XL, and XXL.

Map:



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