We decided to start our first full day in Kyoto by going out for breakfast. Round the corner from our hostel we found a bustling Japanese cafe. When we were seated we were shown a button in the middle of the table, when your ready to order or need help you just press it and a waitress will come. What they didn’t tell us, was when you pressed it, a buzzer gets played across the whole cafe. So everyone then turned around to watch us attempt to order in Japanese. I ended up with a toastie but Juna got the greenest drink I have ever seen, accompanied by a scrambled egg sandwich with a pizza on top. A very odd start to the morning, but when we asked how to get to the subway the waitress sweetly walked us all the way there, a good 10 minute walk.
Aiming for the International Manga Museum in the centre of Kyoto we took a subway (a lot easier than in Tokyo) and walked a few blocks. On the way we were able to catch the Gion Matsuri parade, huge floats being carried down the roads followed by hundreds of people dressed up and chanting. It was loud, bright and big but very enjoyable to watch as they walked past.
We then made it to the Manga museum, it houses thousands of Manga books dating back to when Manga first appeared in Japan. Near the entrance there was a workshop where they taught you how to use a traditional ink pen and allowed you to make your own postcard. A 5 year old would be embarrassed at my attempt!
I’m not a big fan of Manga myself but the exhibitions were brilliant, including the main exhibition, showing the work of famous Manga pop artist Eguchi Hisashi. He creates details in the face using the least amount of lines possible. If you are around Kyoto I would definitely recommend the museum just for the Hisashi exhibition itself. The museum is based in an old elementary school and is tastefully done with rooms dedicated to reflecting on the past pupils and principles.
After the museum we decided to explore the packed streets of Kyoto, including the Geisha District and Imperial Palace. The area is beautiful but due to the festival there were lots of people around so we might go back one evening when it’s less busy.
After another day long day of walking and exploring we decided to end the night with a walk down the riverside bars. We used our trusty map and got to the crossroads of the street we were looking for. Now we just had to decide whether to go left or right. We went left. Turns out left is the red light district. After some funny looks we sheepishly did a u-turn and found the bars.
We have planned to go to the famous Bamboo Forest tomorrow and visit as many temples as possible. Hopefully it won’t be as hot as today (34 degrees!)