Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Finally in Kyoto! It's Gion matsuri time today!

I woke up at 8 a.m. to get going towards Kyoto today. Quick shower and freshening up and I was set. 
The weather was just so hot outside again!
I walked to the station with my luggage and when I finally got there, my back was already moist! So typical. 
Todays Bento!
So headed towards Hakata and bought my tickets there and everything was going fine and dandy. Bought myself a Bento (boxed lunch) and something to drink with it.
Still loving the bento culture of Japan and how easy it is to buy a good meal on the go here ! 

Something happened on the way tho and  my Shinkansen arrived to Shin-Osaka a bit to late to change my trains. But it was OK since I just went and got new ones. I was not the only one you see.
I just asked them to book me new tickets and the next train leaved already in 5 minutes so I was soon on my way.

Shin-Osaka and Kyoto are really close so the train ride with the shinkansen took only 15 minutes and thus I was soon in Kyoto!
Since I had arrived at around 1-2p.m. I still had time to kill before the check-in at my hostel would begin so I went to get a Matcha frappuchino in the nearby Starbucks. Matcha is powdered green tea and of course when you hear Kyoto you think of green tea! They seriously have green tea everything in here.

In Gion
So as I had finished my delicious drink I started to head out to my Hostel which I had realized was near Gion where a event in the Gion festival was to be held in. What a coincidence and a good twist of faith.

The hostel is called Jam hostel (http://www.jamhostel.com) and it is really worth mentioning since the staff are so kind and helpful here and it is in a convenient place. It is well kept and clean so big plus. 
In Gion

J-hoppers is not a bad hostel either and that is where I will be staying from tomorrow on. 
They even  helped me to book a restaurant where I will organizing a little event or get-together for Couch Surfers. I could have easily done it myself but since they offered to call on my behalf (when I asked if I could borrow a phone) I just thought that "hey, what the heck! why not." 
So they did it for me and now thanks to them we will surely have a great time on the 19th! 
I went to walk around Gion for a while and ate some Ramen (Chinese noodles) before the event started.

6p.m. the event started with the beating of the drums. The floats made a chiming sound when they were carried around and shaken by the bearers. It was a sight to be seen! It is so different from the Hakata Gion matsuri. The one in Kyoto is more calm and gentle compared to the Hakata one. But both are very exiting to watch! 
I recommend visiting both festivals and this is easy if you have the JR-Railway Pass. (Find out more about it here).
It was getting late and the festival was over so I went quickly to the Yasaka shrine to see around. They had some food stalls there selling sweets and salty stuff. I bought myself a Chocolate covered banana after finishing my tour there. 

After that I went to find a Pub to get a beer and from there I returned back to my hostel.
I had a Guinness at the "Man in the moon". Yummy. 

So tomorrow I will be changing the hostel and biking around Kyoto. If you want to see today's video of the Gion event go check out my YouTube channel HERE!

Cheers!
Robert