Technically, day one of our honeymoon was when we arrived at Kansai International Airport in Osaka. We were completely disconnected from the modern luxuries that allow us to stay out of panic and not get lost when Mark and I realized that I completely failed to write down the address of our hotel–in English or Japanese–which was a good 102 kilometers away. (To Americans like me, I’ll save you the Googling: 63 miles!) We took the train according to my half-finished notes, found ourselves in Kyoto station, and I found myself nearly hyperventilating as we tried to figure out how we were going to navigate this city based on my half-finished notes. Always a problem solver, I managed to find tourist information and a shuttle service to Westin Miyako Kyoto.
It was about 6 p.m. Kyoto time when we were in our hotel room, but about 4 a.m. Houston time. Though I had slept for hours upon hours on the plane, I still was exhausted and promptly PASSED OUT with the lights on.
Our first full day, however, was far more eventful and without any panic. (PHEW!)
We woke up around 3:30 a.m. local time, relaxed, made sure our day was better planned than our arrival, had a quick bite to eat, then headed out toward the Philosopher’s Path. There were plenty of spots for hanami on the way.
(Warning! I’m obsessed with cherry blossoms. When I was 18, I discovered that cherry blossoms represent life being overwhelmingly beautiful while tragically short and a depiction of the flowers was my first tattoo. Trying to be picky with the TONS of pictures I took of the trees is hard.)
We eventually made it to Philosopher’s Path. When we first arrived, it was early and few people were there, so it allowed for the peaceful contemplation that the name and history imply. However, this week, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and Japanese tourists from the whole country took a weekend to enjoy and admire the sakura. It got busy.
When we got to the end of the path, we explored Ginkakuji Temple. It had a beautiful zen garden/rock formation, a nice view, and a great spot to sip tea.
After that, we headed to Kiyomizu-dera temple, by far the most stunning temple we have visited so far (and we’re nearing the end of day three as I write this).
Truth be told, I still hadn’t fully adjusted to the time change. On our way back to the hotel, I began getting verrrry sleepy. We walked through Gion (which was less exciting and more crowded than I had read) and though we had just snacked on a bit of street food in Sannenzaka Ninenzaka, Mark was still on the prowl for more delicious eats. Delicious eats are pretty easy to spot in Kyoto, because all of the restaurants have fake representations of their meals outside of their doors in glass cases, if not photos of the dishes. We stumbled upon a place with some yummy looking crab pots, and were in!
Though Mark intended on it being a late lunch, dinner ended up being the same as the night before: with full intentions of going to dinner, we instead fell asleep with all the lights on just prior. Whoops!