Golden Week Kyoto/Gion Trip
Golden Week is the name for the set of holidays which all line up to create Japan’s main holiday, where everyone goes on vacation. This year, it was April 29-May 5. For two of those days, Emily, Nathan, Roisin, Hoshiko, Lauren, and I went on a trip to Kyoto. We left on Thursday after class, and took a bus to Kyoto from Nagoya. We arrived at night, and looked around Kyoto station (which is freaking huge!) before getting ourselves some ramen. Kyoto has its own famous variety.
We then went to the karaoke place where we would spend the night. Yes, we decided to save ourselves some money by staying at an all-night karaoke joint. It’s not as cool as it sounds. It was impossible to sleep because, even though we got our own karaoke box, it was very easy to hear all the other Japanese people doing karaoke, and you couldn’t mute the TV, so there was always noise and light. Eventually we gave up and sang karaoke for a good portion of the night, until we were made to leave at 5 AM. We walked around Kyoto, looking at the temple district before, desperate as we were, stopping at a Starbucks, and waited for it to open. When it did, we went in, bought ourselves coffee, and crashed. Most of us slept for around two hours, allowing us to regain a good amount of energy. From there we went to the big sites around Kyoto, but most of significant of all, we went to Gion.
Gion is famous for being the geisha capital of the world. This was especially important for Emily, since she is obsessed with geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha). We even got to see a Maiko-odoori (a dance show performed by maiko) at the festival. It was quite the show, and we were given a nice explanation of it by a kind Japanese family that sat next to us.
It was an unfortunately short trip, but with the funds we had, it was all we could do, and it was worth it. Tiring and a lot more exercise than I’d like to admit, but still fun.