We have decided to stay today as well in Kyoto before moving on to Kagoshima in the afternoon. Anders’ Achilles tendon is still acting up so he is staying at the hostel to rest a bit while Hasse and I are going to look at the Golden Pavilion. To get there we need to take the bus and while finding the right one isn’t that hard with enthusiastic Japanese to help us out, the payment system is another story. We go up to the driver and each plop a 1000 jpy bill into the machine that looks like a payment thing and out pours a bunch of change. Satisfied with figuring it out we move back and take our seats when the chauffeur calls us back, turns out that Hasse had left his Travel Pass up front! No biggie, that’s only about 4 ksek…
The bus ride is rather long, but I always find it fun to ride public transport abroad since you get another sense of day to day activities that you otherwise miss when just catching a taxi. Speaking about that; after observing the other passengers for a while we realize that we haven’t at all paid for the ride! The system works as follows: When you get on you grab a little note from a machine that tells you the number of the stop where you got on, then you have a meter in the ceiling that advances for every stop and tells you the current fare from the start of the trip. Then when you get off you go to the front and pay the difference from when you got on and where you hop off, easy!
The Golden Pavilion is nice, but maybe not as impressive as we’d hoped, most fun is taking pictures of Japanese taking pictures. They love to pose and take every chance they get. The park surrounding the Pavilion is really nice too and we spend some time exploring it, we come across a bunch of people throwing coins at some kind of bowl. They’re really enthusiastic and every time someone hits the mark there is widespread cheering, I guess it’s more interesting than throwing coins in a fountain at least. We meet up with Anders back at the train station and set out to get something to eat before going on to Kagoshima. By asking around we find a Yakiniku place close by that treats us to a really excellent meal with high quality marbled meat, really fun to introduce the guys to some proper Japanese Yakiniku!
Anders had found a palace/fort in the central parts and had been walking around there before meeting up with us, no wonder really, Kyoto (and most other Japanese cities I guess, are littered with temples and such). Talking to the the ticket lady we find out you can’t actually go to Kagoshima (which is at the very southwestern point of Japan) because the area has been flooded! Ooops, that means that we have to come up with a new plan. We decide to take the stop at Hiroshima now instead of the way back, which is no biggie really. Hiroshima isn’t that far so we arrive in mid-afternoon. On a hunch we go and talk to the people at the information desk and ask if there are any updates on the flooding. They act confused and say that there is no problem going to Kagoshima, apparently the flooding was rather minor and the tracks are once again open.
So we hop on the train again and arrive in Kagoshima in the evening. We grab a taxi to get to the capsule hotel we found and then head out to explore the town. There isn’t a whole lot to explore though and very few restaurants that are open. We do happen across an oddity though; a guy with a wagon full of cats, where you can pay in order to pet them. Veeery strange and a bit creepy for sure. We end up dining at the Japanese burger chain Mo’s and flirt shamelessly with the flustered Japanese girls at the next table.