Asia 2019, Japan, Katsura Imperial Villa, Kyoto

Kyoto Day 2 – Katsura Imperial Villa

We didn’t get up until 6:00, which meant we were finally over the jet lag. It took a week! We were both quite sore. We decided to take the morning off. We eventually went to the pharmacy and bought Sal an ankle support bandage and me more ice packs. It seemed to help a little bit.

Our plan for the day was to go to Katsura Imperial Villa. We had made a reservation weeks beforehand. We took the bus again, but this time it was much easier. We stopped at a random restaurant on the way, where everyone in the kitchen greeted people when they entered. It was sorta funny — like the Japanese version of Cheers. Sal had ramen again.


We walked from there to the Villa, but with Google giving us wrong directions resulting in extra walking. Scroogled again! We were early so we waited a bit. Then we began the tour. You can click the link above to read more about the villa. Our guide was extremely nice and the gardens were beautiful. In Japan most gardens don’t have flowers. Rather they have perfectly manicured bushes and trees and at least one water feature. This place had ponds, bridges, old tea houses, etc. There were actually a decent number of stone steps. I was happy it wasn’t raining, because it would have been slippery and with my luck I probably would have fallen into the pond. They don’t want you to walk on the moss there, as it is sacred, so it’s important to watch where you step. I wish they would have had a place to have tea because it was incredibly peaceful. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.


We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and highly recommend it. Afterward we were trying to decide where to go. We decided since we weren’t so far away we’d try to go to the Bamboo Forrest. The problem was that we had a walk to get to a bus stop and we were already sore just from walking up and down in the villa gardens. We decided to have them call a taxi for us, but got lucky and someone was dropped off as we were getting ready to walk back and request it. The driver didn’t speak English and it took a little while, but he eventually figured out where we wanted to go. The taxi drivers in Japan dress very nicely, often in suits, and sometimes even wear gloves and/or a chauffeur’s hat. It was extremely crowded where he dropped us off, and the international travel police (again, that’s me!) noticed he didn’t give us the small change from the bills we gave him. I thought Japanese considered tipping insulting! Not that guy, apparently.

It was a Saturday afternoon and it was extremely crowded, but I’m still glad we went.

It’s sad when I crack myself up so much.

Picture taken shortly after monkey comment in video… OK, not really. A stick had poked him in the eye.


Crowds. Note the woman in the kimono? This happened all over Kyoto. Usually Chinese tourists wore them.

It wasn’t exactly peaceful there. When we got to the part where you turn around and walk back, we took a little detour to the side instead. There weren’t as many trees, but there also weren’t as many people.

The black one is a baby bamboo.

It was pleasant walking around there. We could actually hear the hollow sound of the trees hitting each other in the wind. It was very relaxing.

We wandered for a bit, trying to avoid some school kids, and made our way to the water. The next day they were having some sort of boat parade and they were preparing some of the boats. We decided to walk back up to where the shops were and we had our first matcha ice cream.

It was the best from the trip, IMO.

After our treat we shopped a little and then walked to the train station to take the train back to Kyoto station. By this time we were sore again and needed liquid medicine. We discovered a cocktail bar at a hotel and I taught the mixologist how to make a Final Ward (my favorite) and he taught me how to make a Rolls Royce (his favorite). Another fun interaction. He really liked the Final Ward and made sure to write down the ingredients and proportions. Now I’ve taught people in both Japan and Australia; it’s my little way of giving back. Some people donate to charities.

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He did a good job!

We then knew we needed food, so back to the train station we went. We decided to go to the same area as the night before as we saw a OKONOMIYAKI (Japanese layered pancake) restaurant we wanted to try. I always thought that you cook them yourself on the hot top of the table, but this place had it already cooked and the hot plate in the table just kept it warm.

Sal chose one with egg.
I chose one with seafood.
The sake came in an interesting bowl.

We were chatting away during dinner and I said I didn’t understand how there weren’t more chubby people in Japan with all this amazing food. Sal immediately pointed one out (not me). We still have a lot more chubby dubbies back home.

We enjoyed dinner then walked back to the hotel to listen to the live music again. There was a French little person staying at our hotel that we saw a few times. I only note it because I noticed in Kyoto there were three other dwarfs I saw while we were sightseeing. Was it just some weird coincidence? Why did I find it interesting? Hard telling.

I once again iced the knee and we both slept like rocks after our long day.