The aquarium

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16 days in japan series

We had reserved bikes directly from the hotel the day before, which weren’t cheap because they get them from Kyoto Cycling Tour Project (KCTP) and sub-rent them to their guests for a considerably hefty commission.

We could have gotten them directly from KCTP which has multiple terminals across town, but the reality is that the hotel was far away enough from the center and this was way more convenient. Stepping out of the hotel and grabbing a bike, imagine that.

Kyoto is the perfect town to cycle on, since it’s more flat than hilly, and you can easily access any point on the map relatively quickly.

If you ever find yourself in Kyoto, do yourself a favor and get a bike from these guys. Their bikes are nice and comfortable (unless you’re super tall), you can pick them up and drop them at any of their locations, and they don’t even ask for any ID — that’s how trusting Japanese are.

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With that, we headed straight to the city center and found ourselves near the Kyoto Station. Just across the road, the Kyoto Tower. Seemed like the touristy thing to do to avoid the scorching sun for a few minutes, so we headed up convinced it would be packed.

But we even felt kinda uncomfortable when we saw 3 young female workers waiting for some sort of business and had the elevator door opened for us when we got there.

Upstairs, the same scenario, just 3 or 4 couples and families wandering around. I guess it’s not that touristy, but the sights are certainly worth the admission price.

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After we chilled — literally — for a while, we decided to hit the road again and visit the Kyoto Aquarium. Seems kinda strange that an inland city, considerably far away from the sea, has its own aquarium. Well, not all aquariums focus on the sea, and Kyoto, vastly bathed by fresh waters, holds a whole different ecosystem.

Notably, the giant salamander, that enjoys the humid weather and the abundance of water, is a prime example of that network. It has become such a symbol for the aquarium that almost the entire gift shop was crammed with its kawaii plushies and other plasticky paraphernalia… which, regrettably, I don’t have a picture of.

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Moi

The final shot

Hi there, welcome to my blog! I'm Filipe Varela, a designer at Automattic, and am passionate about photography and video. In this site I post photos from my journeys and daily ramblings — in sum, a slice of life. Browse through the archive or check the homepage for the latest posts.

  • I can’t tell you how many times we were also hiding behind a lamp post or skinny tree. Damn it’s hot on the other side of the world!

    Also nice to see the trust in Japan. Thailand is way different in that, most of the times you pay in advance, hotels and all. The only time they trusted us, amazingly, was at a bike rental place. No ID was asked, but they knew we were staying at a guesthouse across the road…

    • akanekinomoto

      The level of trust in Japan is baffling. Women leave their expensive designer bags (full of whatever) outside of the toilet. Guys leave their laptop bags also outside… Leave your iPhone on a Starbucks and I can guarantee it’ll be there when you go back, no matter how long it takes you.
      I think it’s a mix of trust and respect for the rules. And maybe even shame.

      • Not sure if in Thailand it’s a cultural thing, or if they’ve been ‘burned’ by a lot of stupid foreigners (there’s plenty of that around).

        But I have to get a little pissed when you go back to a hotel for the second time around, almost a week each time, no issues with us (we’re extra polite over there, much more than here) and they already have your credit card on file, plus you’ve payed for the whole week in cash when you arrive, and they still try to make you pay for breakfast (not included) right after you finish it!

        The thing they trust you with is the communal fridge. You can take whatever your want, at most places, and write it down. Apart from that, it seems they’re always scared you’re gonna run away with two euros worth of goods… Bah.

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