Skip to main content

More springs and shabu shabu

"This was the best hotel ever!" said a sad Alex as he trudged away from the Morizuya ryokan. None of us wanted to leave, least of all him.

We had woken up, packed, played trains upstairs for a short while, and returned for the breakfast in our room. Again it was dish after dish. Soup boiled at the table. Disgusting looking pickles and seaweed. Dried fish from the racks outside the fish mongers along the street. More savoury custard. Rice porridge.

I don't mind curry for breakfast, but a traditional Japanese breakfast can be difficult for a westerner (or a Malaysian) to stomach. It was a real struggle, especially as more food was brought out. I upset the old lady serving us when I accidentally dropped a bowl of soup for dessert on the table, my hands slippery from the oily fish and steaming bowl beneath them. Fortunately, it was cleaned up before it touched the beautiful straw floor.

Before the check-out at 10 am there was just enough time for one more bath, at Ichino-yu, right next to the ryokan. The indoor bath was too hot to stay in long, while the outdoor cave bath (a bath under a rocky overhang) was cooler, but crowded. We didn't stay long.

When we checked out Takayuki-san offered to take photos of us in front of the ryokan sign and a couple of other scenic locations. He also drove our luggage to the station, while we had a slow walk, stopping to buy Alex a meat bun for breakfast.

There is a foot bath adjacent to the station. After reserving our seats I had to quickly grab B and a wet and bare footed Alex away from it and race to the opposite platform to catch the Kinosaki Express to Kyoto.

I had left this day free without any planning beforehand. I was going to do it last night, but no internet meant no bookings. As we sat on the train, more modern than yesterday's and with power to the seats, I waited until we were in a phone signal area to generate timetables and search for hotels, while still trying to enjoy the scenery outside.

I have long wanted to travel the length of the San-in line and was now doing another stretch. It was quite scenic, running through grey hills of bare branched deciduous trees or evergreen pines. Snow was visible in the high ranges in the distance.

I wanted to catch slow local trains along odd routes, but B only wants Shinkansens to major cities. This train was headed to Kyoto, so we decided to stop there.

The last stretch, through the mountains around Arashiyama, was spectacular. I could see the Sagano scenic railway winding its way through the valley along the river and so wanted to catch it.

At Kyoto station we visited the tourist information office, which booked us into the Miyako Hotel on the other side of the station. A hotel for tour groups, it's comfortable enough, but lacks anything memorable.

I had to give up my dreams of doing sightseeing in this beautiful city and instead give in to shopping demands. We had an unexciting lunch of ramen, gyoza and rice at a station restaurant. Alex, as he's been doing all trip, charmed the ladies, who bought him some chocolates. He goes all shy when the cries of "kawaii" ring out, hiding behind our legs, then emerging to get more attention, then hiding again, saying (I don't know why) "wooly!".

We rode the subway into downtown Kyoto, walking until we found Tower Records (no luck), then a floor below Book Off, where I discovered a CD's I'd been looking years for and some others really cheap. Then it was off to Loft for an amazing fold up bag and some kitchen ware. And I discovered the works of a true Japanese genius, silicone ice block trays shaped like Darth Vader's head, a stormtrooper's head and even X-wings. Best of all was a mould for an Alien egg.

After much searching we finally located the last of the Uniqlo down jackets (wrong season).

Dinner just had to be more shabu shabu at Fufutei along Kiyamachi street, with its cherry tree lined canal. The shabu shabu here was both nicer and cheaper than in Osaka. If only we'd known we'd be back on this trip...

The walk back along Kiyamachi Street was slowed by the need to admire the cherry blossoms and the lights shimmering off the canal.

At least we saw that in Kyoto.



Popular posts from this blog

My first overseas trip: Singapore and Malaysia

I've always loved to travel. My first memory is of sitting in a an aircraft, aged 18 months or so. Yet I never believed that I could travel overseas. To me, it seemed like something you did when you retired, or if you were rich. That all changed when I met B. She had not only travelled overseas, she was from overseas . B was born in Malaysia and arrived in Australia, with her family, in 1988. She still had relatives and friends in Malaysia and Singapore and she, along with the remainder of her family, planned to return for a visit during the Australian summer of 1995. At the time I was staying in B's mother's house while we were studying at university. After B's father passed away the year before I was the nominal "man" of the house and its high maintenance garden; her brother Michael was studying up in Queensland. B and I were quite inseparable and her mother kindly offered to pay for me to join them on their vacation. So it was that I obtained my very firs

One night in Canberra

It's the April school holidays and we are too busy to have a break but need one because of that. And because it's the Easter weekend the options are limited, so we just drive down to Canberra for the night. No, this isn't our first trip for 2023. I wrote about Japan on another site .  I refuse to wake up early so we depart after 8.30 AM. There is not much to say about the drive except that the clouds seem so low and Lake George is very full. We stop at a rest area and at the lookout up the hill to take it all in. Everyone is hungry so we first stop in Dickson and then can't think of anything to eat, so I drive us to Civic, where we can't decide and end up eating at the Singaporean Killiney Kopitiam branch.  The Canberra Centre has nice shops. I dream of getting an iPad from the Apple Store, we buy a blanket and toothbrushes from Muji and wish that Lego wasn't so expensive. Nothing we can't get in Sydney, but then we rarely go out shopping in the city. It'