Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Planes, trains and buses

I had hoped to post pictures tonight, however we somehow managed to lose the download cord for the camera.  Hopefully tomorrow we can locate a cord and begin posting some of Greg's fantastic photos.

When we landed at KIX (Kansai International Airport we followed the stream of people to customs.  Is it just me, or are all customs fellas grumpy?  We picked up our luggage, took the escalator up to the second floor, walked across the sky bridge and we were in the hotel!  Talk about convenient!  After getting checked in and dropping our luggage off, it was dinner time!  Besides the hotel being extremely convenient the main reason I booked this hotel is they have an allergy menu.  And while dinner was only one choice, a small steak and veggies, it was a safe and delicious meal.

There was a bit of a worry when we booked this hotel about noise level within the hotel.  We could watch planes take off, the only sound we heard was a very low sound, that if we hadn't paid attention it would have been missed.  After a great nights rest and a fabulous breakfast, that was buffet with allergy cards attached to each dish, it was time to round up the luggage and head off to the train to Kyoto.   We rode the elevator down to the 2nd floor, back across the sky bridge, into the airport where Ta-Dah! the train station! 

Osaka and Kyoto through the centuries have mostly grown together, so its continuous town for the 75 minute train ride.  There was one area that was very rural, with many small vegetable and rice fields. 

Getting off the train at Kyoto station we were gobsmacked.  Where to go?  What to do?  Deciding that untangling the bus system we would take a taxi up to our Otsu house for the next 30 days.  Standing in a very long queue for a taxi, Greg noticed a lovely adorable sign, "Foreign Friendly Taxi".  OH!!!  Quick time step we pulled our suitcases over to the sign and ba-zing! Here comes a taxi!  We showed him the map and the address, he stowed our luggage and off we went.  The road snaked it's way up Mount Hiei, with hairpin turns, narrow roads and luscious scenery. 

We pulled into our home and excitedly unlocked the door, once we figured out the door pulls out rather than in....  Only to be met with a face full of musty air.  Hoping that the house had just been shut up a while, we ran around opening all the doors and windows and I made us lunch.  But as the clocked tick tocked an hour, we both began to lose our voices and my face began to swell up.  This house was not a healthy place for us.  We rode the bus down the mountain and found a Starbucks to locate a hotel for the night.  After checking in, poor hubby had to grab a taxi and ride back up the mountain with a driver who spoke zero English.  That round trip ride to collect our belongings cost us $78.00 USD.  The hotel was ok, but they refused to even attempt to feed me and the room was only for that night.

October and November are busy months for tourism in Kyoto.  People come from all over Japan to enjoy the fall foliage, so far the colors are only hints in random trees.  When they do turn it should be amazing.  The hotel rooms are higher priced than in slower periods and everything is booked solid. 

Just when I was giving up hope, we found a dream of a place with an owner that is 24 karat, diamond studded kind and generous.  Learning that we had food and a few odds and ends left up at the moldy house, she had her Jack of all Trades drive us back in HER car, for FREE.  Refusing money for gas or wear and tear. 

The owner built this for apartments but after they were finished decided to turn them into hotel apartments.  This is a common sized apartment with all Japanese fittings.  I'll post the interesting features of the apartment tomorrow.

Oh, please feel free to leave a comment if you wish.  We would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I found myself reading and saying, out loud - "How nice!" "Oh, no!" "Oh, good!". Looking forward to reading the next installment, and sooo happy you found these other amazing accomodations!

  2. Hi Biki & Greg. Your diary's peaked an interest in Japan for me, TuuXKabin - 2guys . . . is el husbian.

    Looking at photos of the statues made me think of 'The Statue That Survived Hiroshima', in front of the Buddhist Church, located around the corner from us on Riverside Drive.

    Everything I'm reading from your journal has me intrigued. Especially the various foods. The gardens (I'm from SF and the Japanese Tea Garden was always a favorite place for some tranquility for me). And mass/rapid transit a favorite subject for the two of us.

    We marked your 'travels' as a favorite tab for further reading. Thanks for the good read. And, the scarf you created is lovely. Looks like it'll 'breathe'.