A few days doing very little and moving a lot

The few days after Christmas were pretty uneventful, but they involved hopping between a few hostels in Osaka and Kyoto. It’s days like these when we wish we’d planned a little better to save all the checking in and out again.

Every so often our lazy approach to planning our trip comes back to bite us and we ended up in a tiring situation, unsure of what to do next. Initially we’d planned to move on to Kyoto on Boxing Day (that’s the day after Christmas for those not from the UK) but when we discovered we might be able to buy the JR Pass in Japan we were suddenly swamped by decisions we needed to make. Rather than run off before we knew what we were doing, we booked another night in our hostel and gave ourselves time to just think about it.

With a limited budget for this trip and still five more months to go before we head home we have to be careful how we spend our money.  Originally I’d skipped the rail pass because I didn’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on a train ticket when I’d read it won’t save you money if you travel slowly. When booked in advance flights are really cheap but at this point we were too late to grab any bargains, which meant getting to Tokyo wasn’t going to be cheap and buses to Hiroshima were awkward and not cheap either.

Three weeks in Japan is a long time and we had to decide whether we wanted to slow right down and just treat it like somewhere we were living, or spend a bit of money and fill our days with trips to cities that were harder to reach. The idea which tipped the scales for me was the fact that returning to Japan is going to cost thousands and I’d rather spend a few hundred now to experience more than have to wait a few years before I come back.

When 2pm came around we were able to move our bags to the new dorm room and after a couple of nights trying to sleep through drunk people at 2am, early birds packing at 7am and general snoring, I decided I really needed to nap. Mark went off for a walk while I slept and I wandered out myself when I got up again and bumped into him taking photos on one of the main shopping streets. We just went shopping for the evening and I treated myself to some new pens because I didn’t pack anything to colour with for fear it’d be too heavy for me.

We also spent some time using the crazy photo booths they have here which all make us look like creepy nine year olds.

The next day we got up slowly, enjoying the final morning in the hostel before saying goodbye. Once we left we decided to drop off our bags in a locker at Osaka Station and visit the Gudetama Café as we’ve fallen in love with the character over the past week. We treated ourselves to meals in the shape of the little egg guy and I revelled in the silliness of it all.

After a little bit of a shopping trip we picked our bags back up and headed to Kyoto on the next train available. We hadn’t booked a hostel yet and although we were heading to one when we got off the train, we actually stopped for a craft beer on the way and changed our minds. Instead we went for a hostel just around the corner which was cheap with good reviews.

One thing you can’t gauge based on reviews is the other guests you’ll be sharing a room with. Unfortunately we were treated to not one but two snoring roommates who made it really difficult to sleep and seemed to take it in turns to destroy the silence with their loud breathing. We woke the next morning feeling a bit rough and it was then that I decided to check if we’d be there another night.

We’d only booked one night at this place in order to see if we liked it and although it was fine, we weren’t able to book another night. This meant we had to pick our bags up and find somewhere else for the next few nights. Stupidly we hadn’t considered everywhere might be full because of New Year’s Eve and booking a room in the next place got complicated quickly. We tried a private room to catch up on some sleep but the room was only available for one night, so we booked two nights in a dorm room afterwards. It was a little while before we realised two nights wasn’t enough and we hadn’t booked anything for New Year’s Eve. When we asked about adding on another night there was only one bed left, and when we checked online there were very few places available within our budget. We’ve now had to book separate hostels for New Year’s Eve, but hopefully we’ll hardly notice as I assume most people will be out until after midnight anyway. It’s going to be weird waving goodbye to Mark to start the New Year, but that’s our own fault for not planning ahead!

As I’ve mentioned before, Japan seems to have really strange times for checking out and back in again, with this particular one not opening its rooms until 4pm. This meant we could leave our bags at reception but weren’t able to go into the dorms for another 5 hours, so instead we went out for a wander.

I’m not in any rush to see everything in Kyoto yet so rather than run around trying to find which temples to see, we just took it easy and instead visited the market and a couple of animal cafes in the area. I wasn’t very happy with the dog cafe as it was tiny and the dogs just looked like they wanted to go outside the whole time. The cat cafe however was full of sleepy Bengal cats which were more than happy to curl up in a ball on anyone’s lap and go to sleep for half an hour. Mark and I even had two cats each at one point sleeping on top of each other on our laps. It made me miss my cat more than I have before, even though he never actually goes to sleep on me.

We had a comfortable evening back at the hostel catching up on the end of The Apprentice and snacking. It was nice enjoying the comfort of a private room where you don’t need to worry if your quiet conversation is disturbing someone trying to sleep behind their curtain.

This morning we had too move rooms again, but thankfully we didn’t have to check out at 11am and wait until 4pm to move back in, we just had to move our bags across the hallway and we were done.

Mark wanted to head out to see some things today but I’ve been needing a break from everything for a little while now, so we just took a day to write some blog posts and clear our heads. There are loads of things I haven’t written about here and I’m starting to worry that our time in Vietnam and Thailand might disappear out of my memory completely before I get it written down. Hopefully now with four posts about Japan written I’ll be able to go back in time and remember some of the details of November before they’re gone.

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