On our 6th day, we moved from Tokyo to Kyoto. We were using shinkansen, thanks to JR Pass, we can use shinkansen (except NOZOMI and MIZUHO trains) anytime and anywhere we want for 7-day yayyy! You just need to buy your JR Pass before you arrived at Japan (you can not buy it when you in Japan), and activate it in any JR station.
My advice is activate it several days before the first day you're planning to use it, as the station can be very busy in the morning, especially for a big station like Shinjuku or Tokyo. So when it's the day, you just need to show it to the officer on the gate and off you go :) If you're travelling in high season (Sakura season or Golden Week), I think it's better if you reserve your seat in the train, just to be sure.
Do remember if you reserve any seat that means you'll be taking the train from that station. We activate plus reserve our seat in Yokohama station, but we are taking the train from Ueno station so our reservation are not valid and we need to take the non-reserved seat. I think this is the only shinkansen reservation we made. But even if you don't reserve any seat I think it will be very easy to get a seat because (usually) car no 1-5 are for non-reserved seats, and each car is large enough for about 60/70 persons.
If you happen to need to drop your luggage for a while, coin locker are available everywhere. For bigger station, they have more coin locker with various size from small (hand carry/cabin size suitcase) to extra large. I happen to need a locker for several hours when I reached Tokyo station on our last day, but we couldn't find any available locker. Thank God they had cloakroom service (at Gransta) so we can drop our luggage for several hours. I think Kyoto station also had this kind of service, but I don't know about the other station. Remember, always have plan B! :D
The shinkansen is very neat, much much much better than Indonesia CL (of course!), and I love how spacious they are. We are using 2 suitcases, one is cabin-size suitcase and the other one is medium-size suitcase. I can put our medium-size suitcase in front of me!
|buying bento before leaving|
Of course, one of my must to do list is eating bento in shinkansen! Been watching this scene so much in the manga, I wonder how it feels. Truth to be told, I don't like it very much since the rice is cold. I'd rather having some sandwich instead hehe...
|bought an onigiri, DELICIOUS!!|
Btw we were seating next to a middle age lady, who barely speaks english. I offered her some blueberries, so that's how our conversation started. It's one of the beauty in travelling I think, to meet new people and heard about their culture and language. Even though she can't speak English (but can heard some), and I can't speak Japanese, but somehow we understand each other. Even Mr Chubby doesn't understand how can I communicate with this lady, I think this is girls language? haha!
Well anyway, she told us that in front of her mother home, there's a bluberry tree and she had a daughter and a grandchild, and so on. She also asked about our itenary and I showed her, she kindly giving some recommendation to eat in the places we were planing to visit. When we were passing by a mountain I asked her is that Fuji-san? She said no. After that, she showed me a custard-filled chiffon cake. She pointed to the brand, Fuji-ya co, and then gave it to me. It was surprising, as it's not common in Indonesia to give food to unknown people, when you do it in Indonesia, people will get suspicious haha!
I eat it right away, and it was soooo sooo sooo good. The chiffon cake is very fluffy and the custard is very good, it's creamy but not so sweet. OMG! I think it's the best cake I ever had in Japan haha! Thank you so much for the cake miss! If only we had it in Indonesia :( we only found one store that sold this baby (only 100 yen!) in Osaka, next to Tempozan Wheel.
|My lunch box|
|Mr Chubby's box, sorry for the messy photo hehe|
So it's lunch time already and we opened our bento. It was okay for me. The lady next to us also eating bento, accompanied with a small bottle of red wine. Wow, Japanese women are very classy! When I'm old I want to be a classy lady like her, eating lunch by the window, sipping some wine, and enjoying the day :)
When we arrived at Kyoto station, it was a bit snowy. Very little actually but it was the first time I'm seeing snow , so horray! :D The station is very modern and I love the architecture. We were staying at Hana Hostel, so we need to take the underpass from the station to the hostel. I am amazed with the underpass, it's so clean! haha!
|The main room|
For the first 2 days we booked the double room, as for the last day we chose the twin room, because I want to try the futon in double and twin size. The room was very spacious compared with our last hostel ^^ As for the futon size, let's say I'd prefer the twin size, more room for me hehehe...The hostel staff was very kind, they'll move our suitcase from the double room and twin room if you already prepare it in the corner. Their facilities are complete, from fully equipped kitchen to the common room and fast wifi everywhere! :)
Since this is a hostel, you need to pack and unpack the futon by yourself. Sleeping using the futon is very relaxing, compared to what I expected. It's so fluffy and comfy :D
|Mr Chubby diligently preparing the futon|
|The bath room|
|The twin room|
After check in, it was already 3 PM. We rushed to the Kyoto station again and took the JR to JR-INARI station, to visit the Fushimi Inari shrine. If you ever seen the Memoirs of Geisha movie, this shrine is used for the scene where little Chiyo run in happiness after seeing the love of her life. Ever since seeing the masterpiece, I've been meaning to see it in eyes.
The Inari station only took 15 minutes from Kyoto, and it's located next to the station. When you get off from the train, you'll see the bright red torii in front.
|very calming landscape|
|the famous tunnel in Memoirs of Geisha|
|The ema in this shrine is shaped like fox, because of the fox believed as Inari's (God of rice) messenger|
After the hike, we were already famished and freezing. There's some souvenir shops around the shrine but we straight to the food stall!
The takoyaki wasn't so special but damn it's cold and all we need is hot food! We also spot many places sell kitsune udon (it's believed to be fox's favorite food) and kushiyaki, but we had another plan at our next stop, so we hop on train as soon as we can!
Btw, the shrine is located in rural area but as you can see, the digital clock is there and the train arrival is still precise. wow.
|Train in rural area|
The market was said closed at 5 PM and it's already more than 5 PM when we arrived. Most of the shops were closed :(
|Scored some Senbei, yumm!|
|Shrine inside the market|
We also found another shrine inside the market. We don't visit it since we were super hungry (again). Cold makes you eat more than ever! T^T Quick dinner at First Kitchen, it's a fast food chain that has Japanese-Italian menu. I loveee their sauce, they had about 6 choices (I forgot) and one of them is spicy mentaiko. It was so goood and rich! As for the food, it's like Waraku japanese dining but with pork menu, tasty and cheap! :D
So that's it for the first night at Kyoto, hope you enjoy!