Yasui Konpiragu

Our last day in Kyoto started very early. We had grabbed some stuff from FamilyMart the previous night while pedalling to the hotel. FamilyMart is another Japanese-owned convenience store chain, like 7-Eleven, Lawson, Circle K, Sunkus, and more.

If that little list didn’t tell you enough, Japanese looove their convenience stores — also called konbini/kombini — and in both of our trips we didn’t see any major shopping center, but these stores are everywhere and serve everyone from a salaryman in the middle of Shibuya, to a farmer on the outskirts of Osaka.

Actually, a lot of their life revolve around these, both during day and night. Here are a few numbers if you’re into that: the total convenience stores is close to 55000 in all of Japan. 7-Eleven alone has 17000 stores. And most konbini are open 24/7.

We grabbed a hiyashi chuka, fried chicken fillet, tamagoyaki, a few onigiri, some sweets and drinks for the way, and we were off to the Kyoto station to drop our backpacks so we could wander around light and freely until it was time to grab the last train to Tokyo.

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At a bathroom entrance inside the station, we noticed something familiar out of the corner of our eyes — maybe it was the colors, maybe the shapes? I went back, smiled and pointed, hoping Lena would notice too. A traditional hand-painted ceramic plate of Alfama, Lisbon and its trams. So cool to see one of those so far away from home.

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Stepping out the heat was unbearable. We quickly ran towards the center and tried to escape it with an Oronamin C and a visit to Nishiki Market. There’s no such thing as experiencing too many markets while having street food and watching the locals. The smells, the colors, the pace, it’s all so fantastic. We also had the opportunity to see a personality making a TV show right there — the guy with the moustache — don’t know who he is, anyone?

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After that we headed to Yasui Konpiragu, to freshen up a little bit surrounded by vegetation and watching people walk through the rock covered in prayers, in hopes of being blessed by good fate. As for us, the description on their site says it all:

When married or dating couples, who are matched by good fate, visit the shrine, their good relationship will not be disturbed. They should have no concerns, since they will be blessed with an even deeper and stronger connection.

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