Thursday, 29 September 2016

The long road to the Imperial Palace.

Thursday 29th September 

         After one of the most comfortable and painless train journeys we arrived into Kyoto.The only downside was that Mount Fuji was doing one of its Scottish mountain impressions as it was covered in cloud.Hopefully it will be clear on the way back.
          Kyoto is a bit more laid back than Tokyo but there is still plenty of hustle and bustle.Our place of abode is only about 3/4 of a mile from the station but we still took advantage of the wonderful subway system arriving at our port of call only to be met by an enormous thunderstorm which proceeded to last for hours.Since we still had an hour before we could check in we headed for one of the local culinary hotspots-Macdonalds to dry ourselves out.On perusing the menu I saw that in true Japanese Halloween style they had fries with chocolate and pumpkin sauces.It sounded that weird we had to try them-they were different.
             We decided to have a quiet night in due to the weather which meant an eye opening visit to the local supermarket.The traffic passing the flat continued to be busy right up until about midnight but the sound of sirens continued all the way through to the morning.
        Morning arrived and the rain had disappeared so after brekkie we headed back into the main railway station so we could go our separate ways not in a Brief Encounter way but a difference of venue way.Lady Watson headed for the local market whilst I headed for the Kyoto railway museum-well it had to be done.
   All the guides say that the museum was right outside the station.Obviously they regard a mile as being next to the station.After a brief walk I heard the sound of a train which sounded as though it came out of a cowboy film so I knew I was headed in the right direction otherwise I was going to have to get my six gun out.Voila-Railway museum and the first train I set my eyes on was the 60's bullet train whose sibling I had just seen inYork railway museum.
          I went through the museum dodging schoolchildren by the dozen looking at all the exhibits and engines all the way through from the Japanese railways genisis through to the present day.
      There were diesel engines all the way through from the fifties which would be regarded as modern on British railways.
The one I've noticed is that Japanese railway officials through the ages didn't take any s**t and although today's conductors and guards are very polite,I'm sure they would act the same as their samurai ancestors if somebody tried to p**s them off.
      After spending an hour so at the museum I decided to visit the Kyoto Aquarium for a wee while and found it to be more fascinating than the railway museum.Maybe it's because I work with trains all day.
        The Kyoto Aquarium museum is well worth a visit even although the other half of Japan's schoolchildren seem to be in attendance.
   The displays were fantastic from beginning to end and the end of the tour was a typical Japanese garden complete with a miniature paddy field.
       They started of with a tank inhabited by a giant salamander which was an awful lot bigger than the specimens we have as pets back home.
       The displays continued with exhibits of the local aquatic wildlife both in the sea and the rivers.  
     The next display were seals in a tank which had to be seen to be believed.A recess had been built to let you walk under the water and see them from underneath.A separate cylinderical tank has been built to come out of the floor but still be connected to the main tank.
This was occupied by a large male seal who disappeared every so often back into the main tank in order to check on his harem. 
   My highlight of the museum was the feeding of a large tank of various fish ranging from sharks to rays.This was done by a scuba diver who literally fed every ray personally which was amazing as they looked just his pets.From two plastic tubs fitted on to his belt he produced fish after fish to feed the rays before heading into the Shark cave-albeit small sharks-to pander to their every whim.
      Moving on through the museum we next came to the penguin enclosure just in time to watch them being showered by the their keepers.As usual with penguins they just stand around all day looking bored but I'm sure they would look the same in the Antartic.
        Throughout the museum I was amazed by the different number of species on view including of all things jellyfish who had their own displays complete with sci fi mood music.
The conclusion of the tour found me in the museum's own Japanese style garden complete with its own paddy field.I've seen some allotments in my time but growing rice in their own back garden takes the biscuit.
    As this detour had taken up a bit more time than I had planned I hurried on to out next port of call which was the original Imperial palace of Japan.
     This was one of our holiday must do's as I'd read about it in both fictional and non fictional books.The palace was just I'd imagined with buildings and gardens right out of Shogun.We made our way around the outside of the palace buildings as we weren't allowed inside the buildings although we could see inside a few of them.
       One thing I found peculiar about the history of this building was the amount of times it burnt down.I'd have hated to pay the premiums on that building especially the way insurance companies charge you
The day was rounded off with a meal in a Japanese restaurant which was a tad unusual as in the middle of our table was situated a large metal heated flat grill and when our dishes were cooked in the kitchen they were literally placed without the plates onto the grill from which we just helped ourselves.Sounds different but it was delicious.
      Tomorrow we're heading for Osaka and Kobe to visit more film locations from Shogun and You Only Live Twice.
     See you when I see you.
         I'll put more pics on display when I get access to my laptop.


  1. Was that a train conductors dagger in the case?

    Looks great.

    1. It was.I'll be asking for one when I get home