Around Kyoto Station

Another day I didn’t need to work. I was tired of doing absolutely nothing. That’s why I decided to discover Kyoto a little bit more. But before that, I had some necessary things to do, which couldn’t wait.

Straight after I woke up, I went to the next Post office to pay my accommodation bill for the next month. The apartment owner gave me a description of the different steps I need to follow and which buttons I have to push. Of course, there wasn’t an English version. Therefore, I was really happy about the description and it actually worked. Thanks god! I was really worried about it.

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Afterwards I asked the Lady at the Post office for her help. I receive tons of post and advertising which I can’t understand. I mostly ignore them, but when my name is written on some of these letters it might be important. I just don’t know what to do with that. It was super surprising that the Lady spoke a little bit English. She sent me to another, bigger post office, where I suppose to receive another parcel.

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Therefore, I was on my way to Nakagyo Post office, but instead of arriving at the post office I ended up at the police. Don’t ask me why! It was so funny. The police men came, and I just showed them my letter and told them I am searching the post office. All of them escorted me to the right building. Oh god! I received another letter, which I can’t read. So annoying! I am just going to take it with me to work and asked them what to do.

On my way back I bought some food at the supermarket. Back in my room I just chilled, had breakfast, watched Netflix, took a shower and started to learn a bit for my exam next week. Everyone who is working at The Ritz Carlton needs to pass a special test on day 21. To be honest, I didn’t take it so seriously, but apparently it is super hard. Especially in Kyoto they are very strict and serious about it. The interns, who started earlier than us, all failed. You have to have over 80% correct in order to pass the exam. If not, you fail and need to retake is every month again, until you pass. I really don’t want that.

Everyone who is working at The Ritz Carlton has the gold standards on a written form of a pocket-sized card. For the exam we need to know the credo, the motto, the 12 service values, the 3 steps of service, the employee promise, the history about the Ritz Carlton, of course facts about The Ritz Carlton Kyoto, the F&B outlets, the Spa, all the names of the Guidance team, etc. It is a lot to remember. You just need to know it by heart, otherwise you fail. I hope I can pass it right away.

Around 1:30pm I left the apartment. I took the subway to Kujo station. From there I made my way to To-ji Temple. It was pretty warm today. Finally, a sign that summer is coming! I am sick of that rainy and cold weather.

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To-ji is an area of beautiful temples and a pagoda surrounded by a beautiful little garden. I really want to come back in spring or summer, when everything is blooming. But it was already very pretty. Especially the five-storied pagoda is amazing to look at. It is the highest pagoda in Japan, measuring 55m. The present pagoda was built in 1644 and never knocked down by an earthquake. Each level would move independently of the others in a motion knows as the “snake dance”. Such a clever construction.

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Inside the two main temples, Kondo (Main hall) and Kodo (Lecture Hall), you can see golden Buddhist statues. You are not allowed to take any pictures, but it is really worth visiting.

On the 21th of every month is a big market, called kobo-ichi market, next to To-ji temple. Because I went at the 20th, I saw them already building up the different stands.

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After To-ji Temple I went north to Nishi-Honganji Temple, as well as to Higashi Honganji Temple. Both of them are free to visit and very similar in structure. I was amazed by the huge wooden temples. Not that many tourists were here, which made it very enjoyable.

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Shosei-en Garden was my next stop. You need to pay an entrance fee to enter the garden, but I really liked it. It was different than anything else I saw so far and so peaceful even though you are in the city centre next to Kyoto station. It is not a main attraction that you have to visit when you are in Kyoto, but definitely a beautiful spot.

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My sightseeing for today was nearly finished. I walked to Kyoto station for my final spot. At the very top there is a sky garden, where you have an overview of the city. The view isn’t that great, but alright. In the Kyoto station building is a huge department store, called Isetan. The shopping centre has literally over 10 floors. You can buy there everything, from clothes to books, cosmetics, souvenirs, food and luxury goods. At the bottom floor is a big fresh food supermarket, with many foreign products as well. I was so happy when I discovered it. They had different types of tea, couscous, pasta, coconut milk, kidney beans and chick peas, jasmine rice, pasta, spices, etc. Of course, very expensive, but at this point I didn’t mind. I just bought what I was craving for.

With the subway I made my way back and started to cook dinner. I made a chickpea, vegetable, coconut curry with couscous. Yummy!

I did everything I wanted to today and just chilled the rest of the evening! Soon, the cherry blossom season is starting. I am very excited and definitely willing to see some good spots. On the other side that means, that it is going to be extremely busy at work. They say, the Sakura season in Japan is comparable to the Christmas or New Year season in Europe. Busy! But we will see!

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