Kyoto on a Rainy Winter Day | Japan Solo Travel 2017

March 29, 2017

Kyoto, the capital of Japan for 1000 years and Japan's seventh largest city, is famous for its numerous scenic spots and classic shrines. From Eastern to Western or Northern to Southern Kyoto, there's no part of the beautiful country that doesn't wow you. Even though I love scenic cities for the potnetial beautiful photos, I wasn't excited about Kyoto for some reason, and I only had Kyoto on my itinerary because fear of missing out.

Started my morning struggling with my newly pierced ears. For some reason, my earrings, with backings, fell out of my ear holes and because my piercings were only three to four months old, I couldn't afford to leave the earrings out of my ears. After bidding my couchsurfing host goodbye, I hurried from one convenience store to another trying to purchase a pair of earrings, but to no avail.

Decided I'll walk to Hearton Hotel first since I couldn't afford to miss my tour bus, which was supposed to bring me to Kyoto's best tourist spots. However, as luck would have it, the tour bus didn't appear at the agreed meeting place in Hearton Hotel, and the staff at Hearton Hotel claimed they do not operate such tours!

A kind Japanese lady at a nearby operating bus intrchange lent me her phone to call the tour agency. But I was so lost and cold, plus I had no idea where I was; thank god for the Japanese lady who tried her best to help me out. Communicating via hand signs and bits of Chinese, I found out that the tour operator has cancelled the bus! Geez, at least have the decency to inform me? No calls, no emails, and till today, the refunds haven't been made -__- First and last time I'll ever join a tour.

It started drizzling heavily as I was searching for Osaka Station to take a train to Kyoto, further dampening my mood. Thankfully, I brought an umbrella along and could at least shelter myself from the rain. I struggled with finding Osaka Station, and it didn't help that I was holding on to so many things and had no basic knowledge of Japanese. Thankfully, a woman stopped along the way and pointed me to the correct direction. 

I cannot emphasise enough how importat these little gestures are when I was feeling lonely overseas. I got really frustrated at a point and was close to tears because I just wanted someone to hug me and tell me it's going to be okay. I wanted to speak to someone in my language, and actually understand conversation.

Japan's beautiful countryside did its part in calming my nerves

I had to quickly plan my entire Kyoto itinerary on the train as I had planned to follow the tour bus previously. I was so upset because nothing seemed to be working out, but I psyched myself up by reminding myself that I'm not disappointing anyone by not being on that Kyoto tour. Why does it matter if I miss some scenic spots when I wasn't particularly looking forward to any of them anyway? This is MY solo travel and I won't let anyone ruin it for me.

Upon reaching Kyoto Station, the first thing I did was to locate where should I wait for my Willer Express overnight bus because I couldn't afford to miss my night bus and risk being stranded in Kyoto without a place to stay.

Lockers are abundant in Kyoto — or any train station in Japan, for that matter — so I chose the one nearest to where my Willer Express overnight bus will stop in Kyoto.

Each locker costs ‎¥700 (SGD $9) and the biggest one fits my 28 inch luggage just fine. You may have some trouble finding available big lockers, the more popular choice, during peak hours in the day. There are enough lockers around Kyoto Station though, so you can definitely find one around Kyoto Station, especially if it isn't a popular spot.

Wanted to demostrate locking the locker, but I slot the key in the coin slot -_-

Unlike in Singapore where you have to put in your coins first, the lockers in Japan works by keeping your luggage first, putting in your coins then locking the locker.

Personal tip: take photos of your surroundings after locking your luggage! Because of the abundance of lockers around Kyoto Station, it's often hard to relocate your locker. With the photos, you can easily approach the station masters and let them direct you to your locker.

Kyoto is a quiet, muted town and even their Seven Eleven is in neutral colours, unlike the other Seven Eleven stores around the world that's usually in the iconic bright orange, red and green.


Japan Solo Travel (January 2017)

Tokyo Summary and Getting Around Tokyo | Tokyo Imano Hostel Review | Tokyo Pokemon Centre & Shibuya Crossing Tokyo Lockers and Shinjuku Gyoen Garden | Tokyo Harajuku (Shopping, Food, Daiso) | Tokyo bills Omotesando (Tokyu Plaza)

Hakone One Day Itinerary | Hakone Tozan Railway and Cable Car | Seeing Mt Fuji at Owakudani | Hakone Ropeway and Sightseeing Cruise | Trekking to see Hakone Shrine and Mt Fuji

9 Hours Narita Capsule Hotel Review | Tokyo Narita Airport

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