Japan 2013: Day 7 Kyoto Part 5

DAY 7 (CON’T)

Back to Kyoto station at around 1800 Hrs.

Stood outside the station fixing my camera settings for night shots, and got a decent shot of the Kyoto Tower in the night.

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Still craving for coffee (since I didn’t manage to get any at Arashiyama earlier) …… walked around Kyoto Station and Portia (underground mall that is linked to the station) and finally manage to locate a Doutor outlet for a much-needed coffee. After a much-needed coffee boost, decided to check out the Bic Camera shop located in Kyoto Station around the Portia mall (saw an billboard advertisement for it somewhere in the station). Walked through the underpass …… but ended up right opposite at the foot of Kyoto Tower instead. Hmm ……

So explored the area a bit and ended up at Yodobashi Camera – a huge building located right behind Kyoto Tower. It is more than just a camera and electronics as the building itself is 6-7 stories high (selling items of all kinds, with 7th storey being a restaurant floor). Only hung around level 1 of the store – where camera accessories are sold. Looked through camera SD cards (as I forgot to bring an extra one with me when I left Singapore) and found it to be quite expensive (in the range of S$20 onwards) as compared to back home …… and then walked out again without getting anything.

Had initial thoughts of heading towards South Kyoto – to either Fushimi Inari Shrine or Tofukuji Temple for its evening illumination. However did not fancy yet another train journey and more walking to either of these temples (its especially eerie walking through the red torii gates of Fushimi Inari at night) …… so decided to take a bus to Gion instead. And hopefully with a bit more luck, get to see some geishas and maikos close up 😛

Spotted the Yasaka Shrine and got off at the bus stop right opposite it. Yasaka Shrine is one of the major shrines in Gion itself. Recall that I saw the same Shrine yesterday as well. Nevermind.

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As per researched the night before, keep a closer lookout for Hanami-Koji Street – where the main Gion area (dominated by the machiyas i.e. tradtional wooden townhouses) is. Kept walking straight and finally chanced upon a small street sign stating Hanami-Koji Street. Yahoo!

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Saw a crowd of tourists along the dimly lighted Hanami-Koji and knew I was in the right place, and finally so! Didn’t take much pictures as 1. camera battery was running low …. 2. my SD card is at full capacity (man! just when I was at Yodabashi earlier. And I still have 5 days more to go!) ….. 3. Saw lots of tourists but no geishas and maikos ……

However the dimly lighted streets do give the machiyas a very romantic and somewhat rustic feel right in the night. It was around 8 …… probably the geishas and maikos are in the restaurants (inside the machiyas) entertaining the dinner guests 😛 …… Found nothing much to eat along these machiyas also as they are more of expensive fine dining.

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Since there were no maikos/geishas in sight (later on after returning to my cabin, I googled and found out that the ‘golden’ time to spot them would probably be late afternoon around 4-plus when they head to work. Wrong timing :S) …… and my SD card is full. Took a bus back to Kyoto Station (finally managed to max out the city bus pass as only made 2 journeys in the day so far) and back to Yodobashi to get a SD card.

SD cards in Japan are not cheap at all. Finally got one that was around S$25 that is suitable for my camera (after asking and asking the salespersons there who barely know English) …… so problem solved without having to try and delete photos in the original SD card (too tedious). So the earlier visit to Yodabashi was probably a hint / a work of instinct. A new realization as a result of this incident in the trip – always trust your instinct! Heh!

Since I was back in Kyoto Station area, it was thus an opportunity to have dinner at Katsukura – which I sort of planned to try the next day (before taking the shinkansen back to Tokyo). Once more, the stars have conspired that since I’m back at Kyoto Station …… I get to check out Katsukura now (and not later …… as you’ll never know if your plans have to change last minute due to unforseen circumstances like schedule delays etc.)!

Not before some Christmas light-ups at Kyoto Station. Similar to at Osaka Station City, found it a tad early to really feel Christmas in the air as it was still November.

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Quite liked the light-up at the stairs leading up to The Cube (Isetan side of Kyoto Station) ……

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And finally late dinner (around 9-plus) at Katsukura! This was definitely one of the best meals I had not only in Kyoto, but throughout the trip as well. Separate review coming up!

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And also chilled to a beer back in my cabin after a long long day! Non-Alcoholic beer from Suntory, heh! Verdict – still prefer the malt version due to the smoother taste 🙂

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