Our last day in Kyoto was bittersweet, we were all eager to get back to our own comfortable beds after 3 nights of terrible sleep plus we were all coming down with colds and Clio even had a slight fever, but Matt & I both agreed we had merely scratched the surface of beautiful Kyoto and 3-4 days just wasn’t enough.
Thankfully our flight out of Osaka wasn’t until late afternoon which allowed us the morning to explore Kyoto one last time. We dropped our luggage off at the left baggage area of Kyoto Station (it was under 500 Yen but had to be picked up by 2000 – definitely worth doing so you don’t have to lug around your belongings all day).
The weather wasn’t in our favor and since we were somewhat pushed for time we jumped in a taxi for our final attraction…Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally built in 1603 but not completed until 1626 with some of its structures transferred from Fushimi Castle , Nijo Castle is one of the finest examples of early Edo period and Momyama culture in Japan. Inside Ninomaru Palace as you walk around the many linked sections, the floor squeaks like birds, the idea of building the floor this way was to notify the residents of any intruders, assassins or sneak attacks! The ceiling of each section is painted in a different design, and had it not been for Matsumi telling me about it yesterday I never would have known to a) look up and b) pay attention to the different patterns/colors! There are also beautiful wall paintings, which were done by prominent members of the Kano School. Sadly no photography is allowed within Ninomaru Palace.
Outside the Ninomaru Palace are gorgeous gardens; Ninomaru Garden, a large scale garden said to have been designed by master garden designer Kobori Enshu and Seiryu-en Garden, created in 1965 and contains two parts a Japanese Garden with a large pond and a spacious lawn area.
Unfortunately the Honamru Palace is closed to the public, although not the original which was destroyed in a large scale fire in 1788, the present structure was built in 1847 and transferred here from the Kyoto Imperial Garden.
Clio slept the majority of our visit while Eden, a little bored but tagged along as long as we kept the snacks flowing, was pleased when we jumped back in the taxi to Kyoto Station to collect our luggage before boarding the train to Kansai Airport, Osaka.
The train ride was a lot more relaxing than the ride a few days earlier, Clio was easily entertained by raisins and Eden snuggled in and slept.
Once at the airport we hunted down as many different flavor Kit Kats as we could find, ate some lunch and at last boarded the Peach Air flight to take us back to Okinawa. It was a full flight with many people bringing more than their allotted carryon allowance, this ticked me right off when we were asked to put our ONE piece of carryon (between the 4 of us) in the seat in front of us to allow someone to put their oversized suitcase in its spot. Then we were informed of a delay due to mechanical issues, usually not a big concern but with one tired, fevering Clio to entertain I was so ready to be home, as were we all. Clio didn’t do to well this flight home, Matt ended up taking her into the small cubical and holding her until she fell asleep, then of course when it came time to land the poor poppet was in a lot of pain caused by her congestion. Finally we landed in Okinawa, an hour late and to our luck AFTER the low cost carrier (LCC) terminal had closed. They did put on buses to take us back to the main terminal, but because it was closed and this was the only plane arriving into the LCC terminal, it took a long time.
So glad to see the many taxis lined up at the domestic terminal and even better no queue. We jumped in, checked that the driver could take us on Camp Kinser, where we had parked our car, and away we were sheltered from the POURING rain. As we arrived at Camp Kinser the driver then decides to inform us that he actually doesn’t have access to base and had to drop us at the gate. I was beyond livid! It was absolutely down pouring, we were all tired, cranky and less than enthused about the prospect of walking a couple of miles on base to our car, it also didn’t help that I thought I had left my cell phone on the plane, so I definitely let the driver know I was not impressed. The gate guards offered us shelter and ordered us another taxi, one with base access!
Finally we were home, so pleased we decided to go to Kyoto such a wonderful city, but ever so pleased to be home and naturally already thinking of our next trip!