We’ve got some pictures up at last! So perhaps I should finally say something about our trip to Kyoto with Pierre:
It was pretty different from the Tokyo area; I’d recommend Kyoto to anyone coming for a short visit. All the shrines you can handle and nature is relatively accessible from the city. A week was more than enough time to see it all. My favorite days were the Philosopher’s Walk and somewhat-accidental scenic bus ride to the towns up in the hills west of the city.
We stayed in hostels near Kyoto Station; cheap for private rooms, but not by Canadian standards. $120/night for a room just big enough for the three of us to sleep side by side on the floor. The first place was a little bigger but had a 11:00pm curfew. Both hostels also had the questionable system of making you leave your room key at the front desk when you went out, then allowing you to retrieve it with nothing but the room number. Neither place had net access, but we found a Seattle’s Best down the street that could provide.
So, we saw temples and shrines and pagodas and castles and lots of old, old buildings surrounded by expansive gardens. None of it was physically very old due to Kyoto burning down every 100 years, but each time everything was rebuilt just as it was before. The tourist sites got pretty busy by the end of Golden Week (kind of like spring break or the easter long weekend) and we saw a lot of people wearing kimonos and looking all old-timey in the tea houses.