By the time we reached Kyoto, we were already travelling for 7 weeks in Indonesia and Japan so several routines start to occur especially before reaching a new destination: First we do some research on sights, best quarters to stay and restaurants in blogs or in the Lonely planet, followed by an overview of the transportation opportunities (UBER, Metro, scooter, bicycle, walking, tuc tuc?) and last the options regarding accomodation. Therefore we read reviews of hostels on booking or tripadvisor but the final decision is often made after having a look on our prioritized stays on site to avoid bad surprises.
For Kyoto we were lucky to stay with another workaway-host for 2 weeks so we were warmly welcomed by the team of Gojo Paradiso. This place offers 7 Airbnbs for short- and midterm stays and a nice litte restaurant. The staff is partly consisting of volunteers that stay between 2 weeks and several month to support the little business. Overwhelmed by the nice people we settled down and were happy to unpack our backpack for 2 (!) whole (!) weeks. The next day we started working: for 3 hours/day we prepared the guest houses for the new arrivals. Again we quickly adapted to the new rhythm and were happy about the routine that we gained by the fixed working shifts. You maybe notice already, in daily travel grinds, some routines are worth a lot because it gives me a little stability somehow. In the afternoon we still had enough time to visit the best places in Kyoto like the Imperial palace, the Higashi Hongan-ji (for free, 5 minute walk from Kyoto station), Fushimi Inari (went there by bile from Gojo quarter, also no entrance fee) and the market Kobo-San (15 minutes walking from Kyoto station) where you can buy traditional porcelain, Kymonos, good food and further local crafts (every 21st of a month, surrounded by impressive temples).
A typical view in Kyoto: a crane just sitting close to the many lakes
The roofs of Fushimi Inari
Sky garden at Kyoto station
We worked together with travellers from Chile, Australia, Italy, Spain, Brazil, US, Britain, Switzerland, France and Guatemala, and could share our experiences, thoughts and plans what was just so sweet! A real melting pot when it came to spoken languages, cooking habbits and cultural backgrounds! We learnt a lot about Kyoto from the guys that arrived before. We even enjoyed a traveler´s luxury like chilling on the sofa, watching a movie, cooking together or having a beer in our living room. Ha, I´d never imagined that this can mean so much to me but it was great to live together in this colorful and very diverse
Tequila friends are the better friends
Running along the river or renting bikes was part of our daily plans what made this place feel like home within only days!
… at night
View on the parade of the festival
Our beautiful neighbourhood
We were lucky again to join a festival, the Jidai Matsuri where the whole town joins a parade and several fire ceremonies to rememeber the time when Kyoto was capital of Japan. Representatives of every epoche since then walk through the city, wearing the traditional cloths of the ancient times until the croud reaches the Heian Jingu temple.
Vintage represenatatives of the ´10er years
One of the many participants dressed in traditional cloths
Especially Arashiyama, a quarter famous for great bamboo landscape fascinated me a lot. Walking along the river, we saw beautiful views with the”momiji”, the changing autumn colors. Visiting the monkey park next to the river, we got an idea of how Kyoto looked like without the human influence- the flora and fauna is so diversified in Japan, I never saw such a variety before! Especially in spring and autumn, the cherry blossom and the momiji attract lots of visitors, there is even a japanease expression for people following the changing leaves (momijigari) as it is part of japanease tradition. We also enjoyed one day on the philosopher´s path were we were also doing momijigari:o)
The view from the monkey park
Two new friends
Bicycling around the Philosopher´s path
Beautiful autumn leaves
Following a hidden park
Beautiful garden of the Imperial palace
Kyoto has so much to offer that it´s impossible to name everything we did and even more difficult to put the impressions in words because it was not only about the great places we saw but more about the vibe, the positive experiences with japanease culture and the lovely relationships we built within our team. We even won a further travel mate, Yasemin who joins us for some more months on our way through Vietnam, Kambodia and Thailand. I am very thankful for this great and haunting time and again it was so hard to say goodbye to all the gorgeous people but this experience gave me lots of confidence for our oncoming destinations as I know I will never be alone but surrounded by impressive people.