Return to Japan: Day 0

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Two years ago, I spent three amazing weeks in Japan, gallavanting through several regions and cities. It was exhausting, but enjoyable and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Well, I’m back! However, this time, I’m focusing more on Kyoto and the surrounding region. If you might recall, I was sick during the Kyoto portion of my trip last time, so we were not able to cover everything we had wanted to. I’ll also have a chance to see Himeji  Castle, which was still under a scaffolding for renovations two years ago, and if everything goes according to plan, I’ll attend the Plum Blossom Festival to see the Kamishichiken District geisha (called geiko and maiko in Kyoto).

Anyway, I had a direct flight from Toronto to Tokyo (via Haneda Airport). It was over 13 hours long and, as with pretty much all long haul flights, it wasn’t fun. I barely slept. What helped was that they allow knitting needles on board, so I got a good amount of knitting done. And, as usual, I watched a lot of movies (plus The Big Bang Theory). Something on that flight really upset my stomach, though, so again, not fun. Oh well.

I had a short layover in Haneda, where I managed to spot the famous Pokemon ANA plane! Sadly, I did not get to fly in it, but it was in the gate next to my flight’s, so I got a good look and managed to take a terrible picture of it through the window.

By the time I got on my final flight to Kansai International Airport in Osaka, I was exhausted and napped for the whole flight, although it was only 1 hour and 15 minutes long.

By the time I got to Kansai, it was already about 10 pm. My hostel in Kyoto only takes check ins until that time and it takes over an hour by train to get to Kyoto, so I made the decision to spend the night in the Kansai airport. I found a nice, cozy spot to stretch out in. Believe it or not, those chairs are moderately more comfortable than they look and I managed to get a few hours of sleep. My spot was also close to a bathroom, a 24-hour convenience store, and an electric outlet so I could charge at least my cell phone,so it wasn’t all bad. I was also far from alone – there were lots of other travelers camping out pretty much everywhere here.

I won’t lie and say I had an amazing sleep. I think I got just enough to not feel like a living zombie, though not quite enough to feel properly rested. Because I have been having a lot of acid reflux issues in the past year, I have pretty much given up coffee, so I can no longer rely on it for a quick caffeine boost.

I woke up for good just before 5 am, when I gave tossing and turning and got up. Fortunately, this airport has showers, although it took me forever to find them. Still, the search eventually paid off and I feel loads better, feeling clean and in some fresh clothes. I then returned to Terminal 1 to grab a quick convenience store breakfast (I thought about getting something more substantial but my stomach still feels sensitive and I’m not a big eater in the morning, anyway).

I’m currently waiting for the post office to open so I can pick up my pocket wifi device, then it’s off to get my train ticket to Kyoto!

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