Konnichiwa from Kyoto!

It’s been a very long day. We booked our ride to SFO early to avoid most of the traffic, so we left the house at 6:30am and got to the airport at 7:15…a bit earlier than necessary for a 10:55am flight! We wandered around and looked at some of the art on display, then spent a couple of hours at the Polaris Lounge.

Our flight to Kansai International Airport (KIX) arrived a few minutes early; the line for immigration and was fairly short, and we’re traveling with carry-on luggage, so we were out of customs with plenty of time to meet our group transfer to Kyoto. Not everyone was as lucky, but we headed to the bus right on time at 4pm…only to be told that there were still a couple of passengers who hadn’t emerged. So we waited. 45 minutes later, we drove off, still without those passengers!

The ride from KIX to Kyoto is nearly two hours long; we stopped at a rest area along the way for a water break. There was a convenience store there, complete with vending machine.

Eventually, we got into Kyoto; it was getting dark, but we could see a few trees still in blossom along the river.

Our group is staying at the Hotel Okura Kyoto for the next three nights. Our room was ready and so were we…but we were hungry, so we asked our guides for recommendations for something simple, small, and close – and it had to be suitable for our no pork/no shellfish restrictions. They suggested Sojibo in the Zest Oike shopping mall in the basement of the hotel (well, it’s really the shopping mall attached to the subway station).

It was harder to find something we could eat than I expected (they cook their duck in lard), but with the help of our allergy cards, a very helpful waiter, and Google and Apple Translate, we succeeded; both of us had soba noodles. Diane had hers with “wild vegetables” and mine was with yam. It would have been easier going to a Western restaurant, but we probably couldn’t have gotten two meals for just over $12!