<– Part 1 of Kyoto

<– Part 2 of Kyoto

My last day in Kyoto I decided to try and visit one last temple before catching the train back to Osaka.  Just a short distance from my hotel, it would be an easy way to kill a few hours.  I walked to the temple in staggering heat.  When I arrived I was only focused on finding water and a shady spot to sit.  I guess my trip to the temple was wasted.  I didn’t even have the desire to take photos.  Nearing 40c, it was just too hot.

I decided to head underground where it’s cool, even if not air conditioned.  The perfect place would be the train.  I needed to get to the main station to get back to Osaka anyways, so I started heading there.

Catching the metro was easy enough.  I’d passed the station earlier, so I knew exactly where it was.  Buying a ticket was a no-brainer as the pre-paid card I already had was good for this line.  I waited at the platform for a few minutes and hopped on the first train that arrived.  It was then that my jaw hit the floor.  I had stumbled upon a “Limited Express” train.  This train makes very few stops, hence the name.  To make things more comfortable, this car had plush deeply padded seats arranged in a way that you’d expect in business class on an airline.  Only 3 seats per row, and not very many rows.  Lots of space and comfort!

I found a seat and as the train started to move, the joy I had felt quickly turned to panic:  What if this train wasn’t going to stop where I wanted?  Would I be taken past my destination?  Would I end up in the next TOWN?

There were diagrams of the train’s route above every door.  I was able to see in a few seconds that yes, I would be alright.  The train would stop where I wanted to change trains.  What a relief!

In just a couple of minutes, I left my far-too-comfortable seat and got off at my stop.  I knew I had to change train lines, but since I had never been to this station before, I didn’t know where to go.  I started looking for signs.  In short order I was where I needed to be, or at least where I thought that was.

A train soon appeared and quickly passed through the station without stopping.  An exress, I figured.  Then another appeared, but this one didn’t go to Kyoto Station, where I was heading.  The next one and the next too were not heading there.  I guessed that something was wrong.  Did I get off at the wrong stop?

I found an employee at the station entrance and asked as best I could how to get to Kyoto Station.  He told me “JR Line”.  JR is a private company that has a vast rail network in Japan.  He also said “Station that way” and pointed  over his shoulder.  I thanked him and headed off.

Exiting the station, I found myself facing an entrance to the “next station”.  My pre-paid card doesn’t work on the JR line, so I was forced to buy another ticket to take this train.  The trains really are cheap, so I didn’t mind too much.  Entering the JR station, I looked around.  Not only was I 10 feet from where I had started, I was on the *same platform*.  They’ve built a wall down the middle of the platform and given the new “station” it’s own name.  Wow.

Once at the main station, I bought a ticket and asked when the next train to Osaka was.  “In 8 minutes or 1 hour and 8 minutes”.  I asked for the later train.  I was hungry and wanted to find some Ramen or maybe a few dumplings.

Kyoto station is not extremely large in size, but it is a VERY tall glass structure.  I wanted to take a photo of roof from a high vantage point, so I began to look around.  Riding an escalator up one level, I saw a sign pointing to “Skywalk”.  It led me to another escalator and another and another until I was at the very top of the roof.  The entire length of the station has a glassed in catwalk.  It’s not that great for viewing the station itself, but you can find a really nice view of Kyoto from up there.  Before heading down to the 8th floor, where 5 Ramen shops were waiting, I decided to try a panorama shot.

Here it is (and it’s BIG, so it may take some time to load):


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