From Kyushu To Kyoto

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the week-long absence of a post. Since my last post back in Aoshima, I was in Beppu for 4 days, where I met up with a friend who studies there. It was fun going out at night since Beppu is a very multicultural town by Japanese standards because of the international university there.

Afterwards, I spent 1 night in Yufuin, a small, traditional tourist town about 1 hour south of Beppu. I stayed in a traditional Japanese inn there (called ryokan), which was a really interesting experience. The service is amazing – at dinner, which was very traditional Japanese cuisine, they basically hover around and know exactly when to pour more green tea, or mix your rice, or bring the next course. I also of course took full advantage of the 24-hour onsen about 10 steps from my room. Again, the hot spring waters (derived from the volcano nearby) are extremely relaxing, and it’s all the better in the dead of night when you can peacefully look up at the starry sky.

Dinner in Yufuin

Dinner in Yufuin

Finally was able to take a picture of an onsen since no one else was in it

Finally was able to take a picture of an onsen since no one else was in it

 

I then went to Fukuoka, the entrance and largest city in Kyushu (the southernmost main island), for 1 night, yesterday. It’s an extremely friendly and vibrant city, with a very modern shopping mall, neon-filled streets, and also a giant, circular park.

'Canal City' shopping mall - a fitting name

‘Canal City’ shopping mall – a fitting name

Bridge in Fukuoka

Bridge in Fukuoka

Ohori Park at sunset

Ohori Park at sunset

By far the best part of Fukuoka were the people at my hostel. After my short sightseeing trip mentioned above, I returned to my hostel. There, a Japanese guy and girl, also guests at the hostel, approached me in the common area and asked if I wanted to join them for some light drinking just inside the hostel. I said of course, and we went to the nearby supermarket to buy drinks and snacks. Eventually, we roped in 6 other people, including a staff member of the hostel, and had our own little party for several hours. It was a blast – we tried our hands at Jenga, shared stories about our travels, and just chatted in general. Out of the 9 people, 6 were Japanese, so I went ahead and spoke to them in Japanese to take advantage of the opportunity.

Drinking party in the hostel

Drinking party in the hostel

This is why traveling is so much fun, and why staying in hostels is the best way to meet and interact with people who are there for the same reason you are – to have a good time.

Anyway, I left Kyushu today after about 2 weeks, and I have to say they were some of the best parts of my trip so far. I’m back in central Japan now, where I arrived in Kyoto earlier today. Once the capital of Japan a thousand years ago, Kyoto was largely spared from major bombings in WWII because of its cultural significance. As a result, you probably can’t find more shrines and temples cloistered in one area anywhere else in Japan. Almost everyone I’ve met traveling in Japan has said Kyoto is in a world of its own regarding picturesque shrines and traditional districts.

First taste of Kyoto - Yasaka Shrine

First taste of Kyoto – Yasaka Shrine

Still, commercialism and modernization are abound here, and there are many, many streets here lined with malls, restaurants, Starbucks, arcades, and the like.

Intersection in the Shijo district of Kyoto

Intersection in the Shijo district of Kyoto

So many lights...

So many lights…

I’m in Kyoto for about 11 days total (with some side-trips in between), which may seem like a lot but there is so much to see that I’m positive every day will be busy (and that’s how I like it!).

Thanks for reading. As always, here are some more pics:

Ohori Park, Fukuoka

Ohori Park, Fukuoka

Everyone enjoys parks

Everyone enjoys parks

Very famous food stalls along the river bank in Fukuoka. Called 'yatai'

Very famous food stalls along the river bank in Fukuoka. Called ‘yatai’

Kyoto hasn't escaped shopping malls

Kyoto hasn’t escaped shopping malls

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4 responses to “From Kyushu To Kyoto

  1. Hi Bittu, thank you for updating, we all look forward to read your blog Amazing pictures and when I read your blog, it feels that we are there.
    Thank you again for sharing your travel experiences. Take care, be safe and healthy.

  2. Was eagerly looking fwd to reading ur next update. Knew that u were busy & Internet access was difficult but have kinda got used to waking up to ur amazing stories. Continue enjoying ur trip to Kyoto & beyond.
    Safe travels & JSK.
    Love always,
    Mom.

  3. Amazing stories and pictures Bits! Can’t wait to hear it directly from you once you’re back. Maybe we can have a big dinner and you can share all your stories and pictures with friends and family? Love from Boston!

  4. Dear Bittudada, you have chosen the best place to stay in hostels.
    You come across people from various walks of life, which broadens
    your outlook in life. Well done, Kyoto seems to be a beautiful city,
    its sort of mix- old culture with modern world.

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