From Kyoto, we decided to take a day tour of Hiroshima via the Shinkansen train. We left from Kyoto on the Shinkansen train at 7:40 in the morning and arrived in Hiroshima a little after 8:30. For those who are familiar with WWII history, the U.S. government dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in an attempt to end the war. We wanted to pay homage to the bomb site and also tour the Mazda factory in town. From the JR station in Hiroshima, we had to make one transfer to the local train near the Mazda factory. The factory tour started at 10AM in the morning so we had time to stop by the pastry shop inside the train station for a little snack before heading to the tour. The pastries are made fresh in front of you and they are served warm. The shop we bought the pastries from had two flavors, red bean and white bean. I preferred the red bean because it is less sweet compared to the white bean.
We had two days to spend in Kyoto, on the first day we brought a daily bus ticket for $5 to get around the city. First stop was the Golden Pavilion or Kinkaku-ji, it’s about 8 km from the Kyoto train station but it takes about an hour to get there, it is definitely not the most efficient way to move such a distance but it was the cheapest.The entry fee to the Golden Pavilion is $5 per person, it is a short walk around the garden with a beautiful but crowded view on the pavilion. The top two stories of the pavilion is covered in gold-leaf coating, although this is not the original structure, it is almost the exact replica before the 1950 arson incident that destroyed most of the building. The garden is small and takes about 30 minutes to walk through.
The most entertaining part of the park was not the place itself but conversing to the elementary school students from Northern Japan about their English assignment. Their task of the day was to practice English with tourists, their eagerness to learn was adorable. Continue reading
We woke up in Tokyo the next day and had a big breakfast before taking the JR train to Kyoto. The weather took a turn for the worse and it began raining hard early in the morning. Thankfully, the weather got better by the time we arrived in Kyoto.
The train ride from Shinagawa to Kyoto is a little over 2 hours. We are staying at Hotel Keihan Kyoto. It is a modest hotel at about $80 per night and it is within walking distance from the Kyoto station. We left our bags with the front desk and ventured out the a Kyoto for a place to eat lunch since we arrived much earlier than the check in time. We discovered a line of restaurants at the basement of the hotel we are staying at and each enjoyed a steamy bowl of udon for lunch, it was perfect rainy day food.