Day One – Osaka – Kyoto

June 20, 2016

The eagle has landed! After departing Melbourne at 6.30 Monday evening, we touched down in Kansai Prefecture this morning at 9.00am. This was followed with our first experience of Japan’s train network, which had us in Osaka by lunchtime. After checking into our traditional guest house (a short stroll from the main Kyoto station) it was time to explore. We started with a wander down the main street and Kyoto’s famous Nishiki markets. Here the boys had fun exploring the alleyways filled with light, colour, atmosphere and most importantly food and conversation. Many a local has already said hello or welcomed us as we’ve passed, the boys smiles and efforts at conversation going a long way.

Kyoto literally means ‘capital city’, hosting the seat of the Emperor for over 1000 years. Today it is highly regarded for the plethora of shrines and temples which adorn the ancient city.

The 29oC heat was a welcome change to the rain we left behind. Unfortunately the rain seemed to follow us and made an appearance this afternoon (much to the chagrin of those of us who left their raincoats at the guesthouse). As many of the boys commented, the streets here are very clean and most buildings aren’t too tall due to the ever-looming threat of earthquakes. We finished the day with a(nother) meal at the main train station and an early night, ready to hit the pavement tomorrow to see what else Kyoto has in store.

Highlights so far include the variety and frequency of vending machines, katsudon, pokemon cards and opportunities to practice their language skills. Already the discussion regarding the variety of words, phrases and cultural highlights that they’re already familiar with is impressive!