We have officially been travelling for exactly a month as of today and I think I’ve done more in the last month than I have in my whole life! The fact we’ve only been gone thirty one days doesn’t seem real; it feels like so much longer. But at the same time, the more we’re away the quicker the days seem to be flying past. It’s a weird concept to get your head around.
We’re leaving for Vietnam tomorrow and I’m sooo ready for it. Japan has been everything I wanted it to be and so, so much more, but as sad as I am to be leaving, I’m really looking forward to the next adventure.
I’m really going to miss everything about this special place; Japanese people, the fancy toilets, food and supermarkets (those sushi snacks are just too good) and it is going to be strange adjusting to somewhere completely different. However, Vietnam’s cheap prices couldn’t come quick enough. I can’t wait to get back to getting up XE converter on my phone and going “18p!!! For a bottle of rum!! Are you serious?!”
Anyway, despite my newly grown addiction to American Horror Story, I’ve got back into my routine of being able to sleep at night again (thank god). Speaking of American Horror Story, it’s sooo nice to finally have the time to binge watch a series again. Obviously I’m still going out in the day and doing things, but I haven’t had the money to go out drinking in Japan every night, so I’ve had a couple of evenings watching episode after episode until I’m too scared to have any part of my body out of the duvet.
The last couple of days in Kyoto were spent just how I wanted them to be. Going to temples and shrines and eating Japanese food and just admiring every building and person and dog and smell and everything.
The Kinkaku- Ji (Golden Pavilion) temple was number one on my list to check out and it exceeded my expectations. I never thought it would look like any of the photos I’d seen online or, but it did. It was as if I was looking at a giant, blown up postcard.
The pond and Bonsai trees and small rocks and islands around the bright, gold temple gave it such a calm and peaceful image. The greenery emphasised the colour of the temple even more than it already did. I’m surprised it didn’t blind us!
The only issue I had with this visit, was how people there were. Somewhere that looks so peaceful and like it should be hidden in the middle of an enchanted forest, was interrupted by crowds and crowds of people from all ages and ethnicity, taking photos and pointing and shouting. I can’t be a hypocrite because I was there too, for the same reason as all the others. But I would have loved the chance to go along and sit and listen to the birds and read.
We had been warned the same about the Fushimi- Inari Taisha shrine, but luckily the thousands of torii gates go up so, so steep and far, that most people leave after going up the first few slopes once they’ve got their selfies. In other words, the higher up you go, the less people you see, the better views and photos you get.
We met back up with Moira (who we met in the Philippines) to go there and it was lovely to be reunited! I was thinking how crazy it was that we’d known each other for less than a month yet already been to two countries together!
The thousands of bright torii gates made twists and turns and lefts and rights and took us past the shrine and other places to pray or purify yourself with water. The surrounding woods gave it such a special and sacred feel.
We ended up going a completely random way back down to the front, getting lost and walking through the woods due to being in deep conversation about various topics once again. But we found our way in the end and spent the rest of the day eaten green tea ice-cream and noodles, before heading back to Moira’s hostel for card games. She gave us some great tips and ideas for Vietnam as well, as she’s been there and travelled the lot, so it just got me even more excited. A good end to our last night in Kyoto!
Reflecting on our two weeks here, I’ve realised a number of things. I LOVE the fashion out here; the girls dress so cute and sophisticated and girly in long netted skirts and frilly blouses or baggy jeans with bows in their hair. The bakeries here are TO DIE FOR. They’re better than English bakeries and I never thought I’d say that ever. They love their dogs which makes me really, really happy. And, most importantly, you can come here on a tight budget and still eat well, do fun things and buy souvenirs!
All in all, Japan is number one on my list so far for places to return to. And I will be coming back when I’ve got enough money to buy EVERYTHING. Until then, I’m going to continue smiling, lugging around my bags, rapidly ticking things off my bucket list, meeting people and making amazing memories.
I will be writing a top tips post for travelling in Japan, so keep a look out!