Welcome back to my travel journal. The Day Number Seven was in fact a “day off”. And also the day when I turned 40. This was one of my strongest desires: to spend my 40-year-old birthday in Japan, not alone, but with my wife and best friends. It turned out this wish became reality and I was really happy about that.
What does it mean a “day off” when you are on vacation anyway? 🙂 It means no precise destinations, no time schedule to follow, no rush, only the Zen attitude and the ability to observe and be happy with everything, enjoy every step in no predetermined direction. And this is exactly what we did.
In fact, a free day like that one was ideal for walking, discovering new streets, places, great for street photography (even though it felt like I’ve taken a day off from photography, too), well suited for occasional shopping and perfect for enjoying traditional Japanese food. And enjoying each other’s company, as well.
We started as usual, by foot, from home, heading to the center, looking for a place to have a coffee, maybe shopping, without searching for any items in particular.
Even though it is Kyoto we are talking about, I had a feeling of tranquility – a paradox that I have enjoyed discovering : a crowded city in a distinct quietude.
Of course this could be a very subjective perception of a man on vacation, in his day off, without the urge to run and solve problems. But the people are calm, they preserve the calmness of their environment, which could be the street, the metro, train or bus. Even here, on this crowded Shijo Dori, which leads you towards Gion, across the Kamo River.
After the Shijo Dori walk and after visiting its shops, our steps led us to Teramachi and Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcades, a place we already knew, famous for its small boutiques, full of souvenirs, clothing, shoes, accessories, small restaurants, cosmetics, tea products, sweets and so on.
After that, we arrived in the vicinity of Kyoto Station. Here, there is a superstore dedicated to all fans of electronics: audio, photo, video related products, anything you want, could be found here at Yodobashi Camera. As a travel photographer, I was looking for a neutral density filter for my Fujifilm camera.
I have found and bought my filter and while I was there, I was testing a fantastic zoom lens for Fujifilm cameras. If you love those kind of things, it is a tragedy when the time comes to leave the store. There is so much to discover in a place like Yodobashi Camera – you need to dedicate one day to explore every department.
Kyoto Station is an impressive place to visit. It feels like a heart of public transportation, a place to start a journey, do shopping, eat international, or traditional meals and also a place to meet people. An immense space, so well-organized. People flow through its wide corridors and open spaces like colorful rivers – it is a great place to photograph, too.
Close to Kyoto Station was Aeon Mall, our next destination. A place we have visited before, so it was quite easy to get there, even by taking the small backside streets.
Shopping, souvenirs for some dear ones at home, this is a great place to be and to buy whatever you might need. The diversity of products is simply spectacular.
By the time we have finished our adventure at Aeon Mall, it was already night. Our path for going home was by going back to Kyoto Station and wait for the bus to get us to Imadegawa Dori.
Our final target was to find a large table in a very small restaurant, located really close to our home, where we had a traditional Japanese diner for my birthday, with ramen, tempura and ice-cream for dessert, in a very cozy atmosphere. And it was a great evening, with great food in a funny, relaxing ambience. Such a great way to finalize a very peaceful day. We went home, tired, but happy, sharing travel impressions from the closing day, thinking and discussing about our next destination for the day to come, as our first time to leave Kyoto. Where to? Osaka!
All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2016 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com