Japan trip, day 12 – goodbye Kyoto, hello Tokyo

On Saturday morning, it was time to say goodbye to Kyoto. I wasn’t as sad to leave the place as I’d been to leave Osaka, but I think that’s just because I found it easier to navigate Osaka and also I thought the girls there were hotter 😉 And also because I knew it meant I was on my way to Tokyo.

That would be after one last bit of Kyoto sightseeing however – I was determined to make a trip to the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Southern Tokyo.

It’s a Shinto Shrine, rather than a Buddhist one (I think I’m right in saying that), but what you might recognise it for is these:

At the back of what looked like the main temple are thousands of red torii gates leading up a mountain path. It takes three to four hours to reach the top, time which I unfortunately didn’t have, but I was determined to see them and try and get some good photos.

Getting the good photos was tricky as the place was heaving with people. But it was still an amazing experience seeing all these gates.

Each of them has been paid for by an individual or company, and their names are engraved on the back of each gate. They don’t come cheap either….!

After about 45 minutes following the trail and passing lots of small shines (and weirdly cafés), I came back by another path weaving past graves and caught the train back to Kyoto. Time to pick up my luggage, and lug it on the subway to Kyoto Station and catch the last Shinkansen (bullet train) of my trip, heading to Tokyo.

As usual the train arrived bang on time, and having devoured another sushi bento box from Isetan, I caught a subway train and arrived at Tokyo’s Shinjuku station. It’s the world’s busiest railway station, handling around three million passengers a day, and with – incredibly – a train arriving every three seconds. With something like 40 different exits it’s also absolutely enormous and a complete maze.

It took me about 20 minutes to find my way along corridors, past shops and numerous staircases, and on to the street at the point where the hotel shuttle bus would pick me up.

I have the amazing luck to be spending a week at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, the hotel featured in Sophia Coppola’s film “Lost in Translation.” It’s five stars, and I must point out that if it weren’t for a very generous donation of Hilton points, I would definitely not be staying here. I paid for one night myself and it was £360. A night!

My luggage was taken from me before I’d even stepped off the bus, and I was escorted through to the lifts to take me to reception – on the 42nd floor. Not that I was there long, as I was taken to my room to check in. Never had that before! The room is really lovely, and big for a Tokyo hotel room, but the view is something else….

I had to be up in the middle of the night, so I quickly headed back in to Shinjuku for a quick wander around and a Burger King (Whopper with avocado anyone?!) Shinjuku’s a shopping area in Tokyo well known for its neon. It was pretty heaving as well.

And that was my Saturday really – mostly travelling, nothing too exciting! But it felt great to be in Tokyo.