Travels in Japan :: First Impressions of Kyoto

This happens every time I come back from a country, I go to post about it a few weeks later and I get this overwhelming feeling of longing to be back there. I said the same about India when I came back, but editing these photos last night made me really miss Japan. Why can't I just be adventuring ALL THE TIME!?

When we were planning the trip a few months beforehand (we left it kind of late), Kyoto was the place I was most looking forward to visiting. My Grandmother was really into everything Japan and always used to tell stories about her trips to Kyoto, the summer after she passed away and I moved to Bermuda to be with my Grandfather, I read through almost every book she had on Japan (there was a collection of quite risqué novels which I found both shocking and hilarious). I had built up so much anticipation for visiting Kyoto over the years that almost the moment Adam and I arrived in our airbnb flat, we turned right around and left again. I needed to get out and explore!

Everything was just as I hoped it would be, and more. Like we always do, Adam and I just wandered for hours through all the back streets, markets and parks we could find. We ended up in a park near the Kyoto Imperial Palace and decided to have a sit-down on a bench - Adam promptly fell asleep and I watched a yoga class that was going on close by. You know those moments where you just sit down and think, but there's not a thought in your head but pure contentment? It was one of those moments. It was a beautiful, breezy day and right at that moment, everything was perfect. 

When Adam finally woke up we decided it was time for dinner. We went to Pontocho which is a beautiful little street full of old-fashioned looking restaurants we had spotted on our way through town. We may have thought it would be easy to find somewhere to eat but goodness we were wrong. The street looked quite touristy and so we just assumed that we would be able to walk into any restaurant that didn't require a reservation, but when we got there it was mostly full of Japanese businessmen and barely any tourists.

We had already discovered that a lot Japanese foods require an explanation on how to eat them, and while we had often been lucky and relied quite heavily on the kindness of strangers to explain what goes where, some restaurants will be quite frank about whether or not they feel they have enough English to explain the way things are done. They aren't rude about it! Just honest, and they'll tell you if they think that restaurant probably isn't for you. I eventually spotted a sign for wagyu beef in a restaurant window, and I was hungry enough to decide then and there that we would give it a go.

Eating in Japan is always an experience, and always so much fun whether you know what you're doing or not. More Japanese stories to come!

Oh, and something SUPER EXCITING to share next week!!!!