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Travel Tuesdays | Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto_0019Rob and I spent 9 days in Japan in the summer of 2009. It was expensive. It was hot. It was exhilarating and it was beautiful.

We flew in to the Tokyo airport on a double-decker plane arriving from Beijing. We were thumb-printed, photographed, and scanned for H1N1. Originally we’d planned to spend our time solely in Tokyo, with a short break to climb Mount Fuji; travel in Japan is pricey. But we decided to splurge and bought tickets on the Shinkansen (the bullet train) to Kyoto for about $150. After all, how many more times in our lives would we be in Japan? Looking back at our travels, there’s not one splurge we made that I’ve ever regretted. Sure, you need to keep to a budget. And yes, the savings we made while in Korea ultimately became the down payment on our house. But I will always encourage people to travel as much as possible, and to try and have as many experiences while doing so.

That being said, Kyoto was a bit of a break for us. We’d been on the road for three weeks already; three weeks in cramped hostels, with shared bathrooms and no air conditioning. It was amazingly hot out and we were stuck with the cheapest accommodations we could find: a hotel room that we’d booked online for $80/night. Well, when we got there… it was paradise. From the comfortable bed to the soaker tub, the luxurious air conditioning, and the view from the room, we spent way more time than usual sleeping. Sometimes the batteries just need to be recharged! That being said, Kyoto had a lot to offer, including kimonos on the bed when we checked in!

Japanese graveyards are extremely well kept. There were flowers on almost every grave, and even some with shots of sake. Families were visiting and washing tombstones together.The folded-up papers are prayers.Geisha district! I was about halfway through Memoires of a Geisha while visiting Kyoto, so it was pretty cool to walk around areas that had been described in the book.

Kyoto_0028So happy to be feeling grass under my feet for the first time in two years!

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Ottawa, Ontario