Lazy last day in Kyoto

February 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

It seems like each day we get up later and later…the days are increasingly warmer and we are slowing down.  Today we had to get our train ticket so Hakuba to ski.  Unfortunately we won’t get to ride the bullet train for long – just 30 minutes of our 5 hours journey.  I’m not looking forward to such a long ride but we’ll be okay.  The kids have taken long journeys before and we are going prepared with snacks, DSIs, ishuffles and books.   After getting our tickets we wandered at the Kyoto Station looking from the observation deck and exploring.  I don’t think people realize how modern and sleek the station is.  Most people probably just race around going where they need to without looking at the architecture.  It’s quite stunning and the roof top is designed to be “Green” and relaxing.   We decided to have a coffee at the basement of Isetan and try out some of the Japanese snacks available to us.  There are two markets which are interesting, B1 which has all the wrapped food and pastries and B2 which is where all the cooked and fresh foods are displayed.  One never has to learn to cook in Japan.  You can just go by the shops and buy all this nicely wrapped and displayed food…too easy and on top of that – all the staff are cheerful!  One thing the Americans should learn about customer service.   My kids couldn’t drag themselves away from the pastry shop at Andersen.  So much chocolate, flakey baked goods and cute animal and clothes shaped pastries that I couldn’t refuse either.

After coffee and snacks in Isetan at Kyoto Station we decided to take the subway to Toei Movie Studio.   This was a bit tricky but after a couple of tries, Reid figures it out and we are on our way.  We often here people having a lot of trouble with getting around in Japan but we don’t seem to have too much trouble.  It isn’t easy but if we can work it out so can monkeys with a map.

Toei Movie Studios is a real studio set where the Power Rangers are filmed and about 200 movies are created there.  It’s not especially big and slightly silly but it was interesting to see the different sets created for different Samurai Eras and television shows.  There are also a few food stalls and crazy ninja and trinkets shops.  I thought the coolest part of the park was that you could throw real stars at a target and try to win a prize.  I personally, thought it’s dangerous for a kids of any age to thow any crazy metal spiked thing that could potentially blind you but in the end it wasn’t really dangerous.  Still, it creeps me out a bit.  Though it wasn’t completely open, the kids did have a great time just wandering around the sets and watching and participating in a Samurai set.   Definitely a good break from walking around from shrine to shrine to temple.

We read that Kyoto Station is also a good place for food from our guide book….so after a long day we decided to go back to the station for dinner.  There was a recommendation which we tried to find, but I guess it wasn’t so good since it closed down.  William is the finicky eater of the four of us and he wanted either sushi or unagi donburi, but Kyoto being land locked their sushi isn’t made quite the same way it’s made along the sea so sushi was out….we were in a mad search for eel donburi.   Seeing that we were with two kids under 10 years we decided to play it safe and stayed at the station to eat where there was enough variety for our kids and grown up tastes to satisfy us as well.   If we weren’t so undecided and was willing to look around I think the area around Nishiki Market would have been a better idea.

I really like Kyoto.  It has a population of just over 1 million people and has a great small town feel with enough sophistication to attract a variety of people.  I couldn’t say when I would return but I am definitely happy we came.

It’s an early night for us….we are trying to mentally get over the idea of waking up at 8am for a 10am train….

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