Kyoto Day 3

We took the scenic route to the train station our last day, and decided to walk and explore along the way.

We stopped by the tallest Japanese temple (at least I think it is...or the tallest of this style anyway..something like that), and then made sure we had enough time to get a nice big bag of fresh Belgium Waffles at the train station before we headed to the airport to fly back to Okinawa. 

Kyoto Day 2

Our second day there we decided to take a half day guided tour...with two kids nonetheless. I'm sure you can imagine how it went, but we survived, learned a few things along the way, and regardless of the tantrums and outburst, deemed it money well spent.

After our tour was up, we caught a train up north to the ever famous bamboo forest, and oh, it was just lovely...as was all of Kyoto this time of year. Seriously, I'm already itching to go back. I kind of want to live there. Forever. But I think I'll say that about most places we visit. I can get used to this traveling the world business.

Kyoto Day 1

With John having a few days off over the Thanksgiving holiday, a trip was in order. If we're going to take advantage of exploring where we live, our travels might as well start now. We decided to travel up to mainland Japan, simply because, it's close, but also because John doesn't have to take leave if we stay in Japan. Win win! I'm not sure how we decided on Kyoto for our first trip in Japan, but goodness gracious, I am SO glad we did. Kyoto is AH-MAZING!

While at the airport we ran into a few Americans who told us, upon hearing we were going to Kyoto, that Kyoto is exactly what you think of when you think about Japan. Temples everywhere. Japanese architecture everywhere. The place just screams Japan. And, they were absolutely right.

Apparently fall and spring are the best times of year to visit Kyoto. Fall because of the gorgeous fall leaves, and the spring because of the Japanese cherry blossoms that blanket the city. I will definitely be visiting Kyoto sometime in the spring, it's on by bucket list to see cherry blossoms in Japan. I've seen them in DC and they're breathtaking, so, now I need to see them in their native land, because I can only imagine how amazing it will be. 

Kyoto is just a short hour and a half plane flight from Okinawa up to Osaka, and from there you take an hour train ride to Kyoto. Not bad, and totally doable for a short weekend. I totally thought our trip was doomed from the start when we landed in Osaka and got separated from John. We all got on, what we thought was our train, to relax before it took off. I had changed Gwen's diaper and John stepped off to throw it away. The train wasn't supposed to leave for 15 minutes, so, obviously there was enough time to throw away a diaper in a trash can that was 20 feet from the train. Or so we thought. As soon as John threw the diaper away and turned around to come back to the train, the doors closed and we started leaving. I'm pretty sure I felt like we were about to be separated for good by my outburst, and immediately following my scream, Preston burst into tears. Looking back, it's pretty funny now, but at the time I literally thought we'd be lost forever. Thankfully, we're still in Japan, and our phones worked, so I called John and we tried to figure out what to do. Thankfully this sweet Japanese lady watched everything happen and totally took pity on us and helped us out. In her little english and my little Japanese, we made it back to John and got on the right train this time...we were on the wrong one and would have never gotten back to him and he stayed on it. Dumb Americans!

Since Kyoto is crazy busy during the fall, especially over Thanksgiving since the Japanese also have a holiday then, there was virtually no place to stay. We looked and looked for a hotel, but we weren't about to pay $400 a night for a room. Instead, we ended up finding the most random place we could, because it was all that was left. We thought we were staying at someones vacation home, but it turned out to be an old dance studio that someone bought and just threw a bunch of cots into and called it good. It definitely made for fun dance parties at night. 

Our first day in Kyoto we rented bikes and rode all over the city checking out the Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Tofukuji Temple, and then up to a gorgeous park that we thought was supposed to have a roller slide but ended up just being a pretty area to walk around. All in all, our first day was a major success...even the kiddo's dozed on the bike ride, which is saying something.