Yesterday I decided to take a break from traveling. When coming back from Sendai, I arrived at my dorm around 6:00am. Since I didn’t get very much sleep, I decided to push my travel plans back and take a day to simply catch up on my sleep. Now that I’m all rested up, I’m off to Nagoya.
I decided to take a bus to Nagoya, but this was the first time I had gone on a long distance bus during the day instead of at night, and I have to say that the day buses are way more enjoyable than the night buses. When you’re not trying to sleep, the bus really isn’t that uncomfortable. I spent most of the ride reading on my tablet or just looking out the window. The scenery on the way to Nagoya is actually really beautiful. Including stops, it took about 5 and a half hours to get there, but it definitely didn’t feel that long. Maybe that’s just because I was enjoying the ride.
I finally arrived in Nagoya and was off to visit Nagoya castle. I’ve been to other castles before, but what I really liked about Nagoya was that I was actually allowed to take pictures inside. I could take pictures of the samurai equipment, statues, and anything else they had on exhibit. Also inside the Nagoya castle gates is Honmaru palace. It’s doesn’t cost anything extra and it’s definitely worth exploring. The building is made of really fine wood, and the sliding doors are decorated with exquisite paintings.
After the castle I made my way to Tokugawa Garden. Honestly I was a little disappointed with this. It was small and didn’t have anything over spectacular. It was a nice place, but it pales in comparison to many of the other gardens I have been to. It has one big pond, and on the opposite side of the pond is a traditional style building which you can rent out for events. There is also a small path that allows you to stroll around the pond.
After that, I made my way to Osu Kannon Temple. On my way to the temple, I passed through Osu Kannon Dori, a popular shopping street, along with several other shopping streets. They sold all sorts of food, clothes, accessories, and Japanese souvenirs.
When perusing the different shops, I happened to see a sign that said kimono for only ¥100 (about $1). Cotton kimono are normal around ¥4,000 or ¥5,000 (about $40 or $50). Silk and Wool kimono are over ¥20,000 (over $200). So when I saw that sign, I couldn’t believe it. I stopped inside and found that it was run by an elderly couple who spoke zero English. I did my best to ask them about why the kimono was such a low price. He then took the kimono I had been looking at and held it up to another one that was ¥21,000 (about $210). The one I had been looking at for ¥100 was used and the color was faded. However, when not held up to other kimono, the ¥100 kimono looked just great. Only somebody who looked really closely might notice that the color wasn’t as dark as it should have been.
I decided to buy it. I’ve been considering kimono for a while, but haven’t been able to bring myself to spend that much money on something I wouldn’t have an occasion to wear back in America. However, for only ¥100, why not?
Eventually I made it to Osu Kannon Temple. In front of the temple, there was a guy with some bird seed, and he must have been surrounded by more than 50 pidgeons. They all wanted the food so badly that they were actually flying onto his arm. It was pretty amusing to watch. The temple itself was lively with many people. Plus the many flag poles that surrounded the temple gave the place a festive feel.
Once I was done there, I got onto the Shinkansen (the Bullet Train) and made my way to Kyoto. Staying the night in Kyoto was a little more expensive, but I had decided to book my hotel there instead of staying in Nagoya, that way tomorrow I can leave a majority of my stuff in my hotel and travel around with a light backpack.
Before going to bed, I decided to stop by Kyoto Tower. Unfortunately it was closed by the time I got there, but on the first floor they had a bunch of souvenir shops. There I found a guy who would do engravings for free. I just had to buy whatever I wanted engraved. I decided to buy a keychain and a lanyard. I had one side of the keychain done in Japanese and the other in English. It reads, “Kiyoko, Japan, 2016.” I thought it would be such a great souvenir.
On my way to Kyoto Tower, I happened to see the Aqua Fantasy Water Show, which was pretty cool (see below).
Well, that’s it for my adventures today. It was a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!