18th October 2018 (Thursday)
The bus arrived at Hachijo-guchi Exit on the southern side of Kyoto Station, in front of Kyoto Avanti. There was no sign of Kyoto Station written anywhere. I did not know which direction to take to Kyoto Station. I pulled out my Garmin eTrex 20x and set it to go to Kyoto Station. From the direction given, I walked to the building with several vans parked under the building, across the road from Kyoto Avanti. I walked alongside the building and soon, rows and rows of lockers came into view. I continued walking. There were more and more people around. I knew I was at Kyoto Station when I saw Shinkansen ticket vending machine.
Check-in time at Kyoto Guesthouse Lantern in Gion where I had booked my accommodation for two nights was 4:00 p.m. In order to get there, I needed to go to the city bus terminal, which was on the northern side of Kyoto Station. I could cross to the northern side by taking the Pedestrian Walkway.
While waiting for the time to pass, I would go to Ramen Kouji on the 10th floor (American English) for lunch and explore Kyoto Station after that.
I soon came across the staircase & escalator which should lead to the Pedestrian Walkway. There were so many people. I followed the crowd. Near the exit to the northern side, there was another wing to the right with more shops. I could see the open sky. It ended with an open space and an escalator going to the roof-top. This could be the way to the Ramen Kouji.
|On the first floor (or 2nd floor in American English)|
I walked into this wing, and at the end of the floor, I made a u-turn to take the escalator going up. Yes, there was a signage saying Ramen Restaurants (not Ramen Kouji) was on the 10th Floor (American English).
Inside Ramen Restaurants, there were many small shops, like what I read from the internet. It was about 2:10 p.m. and there were still many patrons. Outside every restaurant, patrons queued up waiting for their turns. I went to one offering appetising ramen and two men in coat were in front of me. From their accent, I would say that they were either Malaysians or Singaporeans.
A waitress was there to help patrons in ordering the noodle from the vending machine. After getting my food voucher, I barely had to wait when I was shown into the restaurant and to my tall stool. The eating space was tiny. I had to put my baggage and camera in front of my feet under the long dining table. It was quite uncomfortable sitting and eating in this position. This was my first experience eating in a Japanese establishment.
Now, before you started asking me whether I speak Japanese or not, I don't. This particular waitress spoke fairly good English.
After a late lunch, I wanted to check where all bus terminals, train stations and Shinkansen stations were to prepare myself for the excursions which I would be making the next few days. First, I wanted to go back to the south side to find JR Nara Line station because that was where I would be getting my ticket to Fushimi Inarai the next morning.
From the restaurant, I went straight down to the ground level. The city bus terminal was just in front of the station north entrance. After checking around the terminal and making some mental notes, I decided to go to the south side.
I could not find the Pedestrian Walkway anymore! The city bus terminal was on the north side. The south side should be on the opposite side but when I walked into the station to go there, my path was barred by ticket gates to the train platforms. I went to the basement. No, there was no walkway to the south side. I went up one level on the east side and it led to Hotel Granvia. Looking at the opposite side of Granvia, I saw the staircase leading to Ramen Restaurants. I was cracking my head, trying to remember the direction I came from. I checked the photos I took. It did not help. I just could not remember how I reached the city bus terminal. Where was the Pedestrian Walkway?
I gave up. I would try to find the Pedestrian Walkway again tomorrow. It was time for me to take the bus to my guesthouse. I went to take city bus no. 206 and alighted at Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. From there, I continued walking in the same direction as the bus until I saw 7-11 and from there, turning left to go into an alley. At the end of the alley, I turned right. Kyoto Guesthouse Lantern in Gion was the second building.
|Important: On the north side, Pedestrian Walkway is one level up; on the south side, it is two levels up|
At the guesthouse, the door was locked. I rang what I thought was the bell. Nothing happened. Then I called out. A middle aged woman came and welcomed me into the guesthouse. She was the property owner. Originally from Taiwan, she has been staying in Japan for the last 10 years. She could speak a fair amount of English, though she preferred to speak to me in Chinese when she knew I was from Malaysia. She briefed me on the house rules and showed me the facilities. I had to pay an accommodation tax, and she showed me a leaflet from the authority to collect this tax.
I left the guesthouse at about 5:20 p.m. and went to explore Gion and to go to Yasaka Pagoda to take some night photos. It was only 5:20 p.m. and was beginning to get dark. It was like 6:30 p.m. in Sibu, Malaysia.
I went looking for the alley where Maiko and Geisha have been photographed. However, internet was of no help since I did not find any article on where to find the alley. While walking along Shijo-dori Street, I came across an alley with low, ancient-looking building and lots of people walking about. The intersection of this alley and Shijo-Dori Street was N35.00378° E135.77505°. Indeed, as I explored the street, I came across the Maiko/ Geisha.
The Maiko and Geisha were an attraction, and cameras would be trained on them whenever one was spotted. However, they were a shy lot. They didn't like to be photographed and would walk very fast to escape the cameras. I could only catch a glimpse of one before she disappeared. I would come back the next evening and try my luck to capture them on camera again, and hopefully, the photo quality would turn out better.
|Screen grab from my Gion walking track, displayed on the free map from Open Street Map (OSM) using Garmin Basecamp|