Started off today by heading to the Imperial Palace Housing Office to get the permission slip to visit the imperial household. A longish trek that took around 2 hours to complete. Afterwards, I headed once again for the travel information center, who helped me make a reservation at a “Welcome Inn” for my last two nights in Tokyo before my flight. I needed a base of operations to do my sightseeing (shopping) from, and this seemed to fit the bill. Only around 5,100 yen/night (reasonable).
Went to Kyoto Tower, and paid entirely too much to ride to the top and have a look around. I really wasn’t terribly impressed with Kyoto Tower, it felt kind of like a cheap tourist attraction (which it was). Since the tower was only a few minutes walk from the Higashi Honganji temple, I headed over. Pretty similar to the Nishi Honganji temple, except that it’s located on the east side of the city. (nishi and higashi mean “west” and “east” incidentally).
Back to the Imperial Palace for the tour, which was quite short, and a bit of a letdown. Couldn’t enter any of the palace buildings, just walk around in the (very nice) garden outside. I really expected more for all of the trouble you had to go to (passports, rubber-stamping, forms, signatures and such), in order to get a pass to get in.
Feeling a little “shafted”, I headed for the “Kinkakuji Temple”, which was a building owned by a Samurai, who had covered the building in gold-leaf. I quite enjoyed this temple, very tranquil, and pretty. I picked up a souvenir here for Erin (some nice incense), and a Japanese brush set for me to use for practicing writing in the Japanese languages.
On the way back to the hostel, I had a little bit of bus confusion (actually, my plan was sound), however an overly helpful gas station attendant pointed me entirely in the wrong direction, resulted in two things when I took his advice:
- I didn’t find the bus I wanted.
- I did find a store which had the entire set of City Hunter Manga (comics) in stock. For 7,700 yen, I purchased the whole set. This works out to around $110. The normal cost in Canada would be over $300.
Since buying this manga set was one of my “vacation goals”, I have to assume that some sort of fate moved this gas attendant to point me in the wrong direction. I couldn’t have been happier.
I figured that the easiest way to handle the (quite heavy) comics was to throw them in a box, and ship them to my pal Mujib back home. I didn’t have a box though, and because my train was leaving quite early the next day, I had to scramble a bit to get organized.
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