Kyoto Station is huge and futuristic, and it took us a bit of figuring out to find our way to the correct subway to get to our hostel.
I’d booked us into this place before the earthquake but due to it being cherry blossom season it was so busy I had to book us two different rooms for each night we were staying in Kyoto. After the earthquake loads of rooms became available & I could change our reservation so we had one private double room for both nights. A small reward for not cancelling our trip. The staff were very friendly, the lobby was very cool, our room was tiny but very clean & perfectly adequate.
If you only stay in these type of hostels you can travel around Japan really cheaply & safely. Most work out at around £15-20 a night per person which is pretty much what you’d pay in Western Europe but you can be pretty sure the Japanese hostels will always be clean & neat (never a guarantee in Europe or elsewhere, probably). Quite a few of these Japanese hostels have different branches across the country and offer free night offers on a loyalty scheme so you can save again.
We dumped our stuff & decided to try to catch some Kyoto culture before sundown. Free wifi helped us figure out what bus to get where. The bus has a ticket machine onboard that you buy from & we went all the way to the Silver Pavillion. By the time we got there the temple was closed so we didn’t get to see it but I had cleverly chosen this temple so we could walk the Philosopher’s Path from it.
This is a 2km canal-side path which is saturated with cherry blossom. It was so pretty I can’t even begin to tell you. I’ll just show you photos.
The hostel is near Gion which is known as the Geisha district. There’s a lot to do in this area. Loads of bars, restaurants, and shops. We wandered through a covered shopping street nearby and saw an Okonomiyaki restaurant called Mr Young Men so we went there for dinner.
This was my first experience of okonomiyaki & I bloody loved it. It was huge. I had a set meal which included miso and some onigiri (which was far too much food for me) for about £6. As an extra treat each okonomiyaki dish had names like Mr. Modern Man and Mr American. It was a really local seeming place. Dim & a bit grubby. Very authentic feeling. I’d definitely recommend it. Cheap, tasty & huge.
There’s a pretty good okonomiyaki place in London where they cook it on teppans at your table but it’s so expensive! It’s called Abeno & is a good bet if you want to try okonomiyaki authentically but while paying twice what you would in Japan.