We finished packing for a couple of hours and then took way too much stuff down to the Koori-Machi train station. We caught the 15 minute train to Fukushima and stuffed our packs into lockers at the train station there. (Except my pack, which wouldn’t fit in any of the lockers)
We then went to the 100 Yen store – the Japanese equivalent of the $1.00 store, but much, much cooler. We basically were just on an Engrish hunt the entire time, and we found a decent amount, from “Mom’s Milk” filing boxes to wrist bands that were “as cool as the all fashion”. Afterward, we dropped in on April’s favorite Italian restaurant… which was actually pretty good, though Anita and I felt guilty at some place that wasn’t Japanese. After some communication complications we successfully ordered the cheese fondue – which is really kind of ironic in Japan, I thought.
After repacking in the schwag from the 100 Yen store, we hopped on the Shinkansen from Fukushima to Tokyo, where we switched to a Shinkansen to Kyoto. The 2 train rides totaled about 5+ hours of travel time, but it was travel time where we didn’t have to drive and the train, though going 60-100 miles an hour, was a very smooth ride – so we all read a good amount of our books and/or napped.
In Kyoto we only had to walk (with all of our stuff) about 15 minutes to our hotel, the Tour Club. The hotel required us to pre-pay for our room, and it was only 1 room with literally just enough floor-space for 4 futons and a bathroom. It was awesome! We paid under $400 for 4 people for 4 days… and we even had a wall mounted air conditioner! (a mild novelty in Japan) We walked around the station area, looking for food, and ended up at a nice looking restaurant with fantastic French/Japanese fusion food, but the portions were miniscule. This was unusual for Japan as pretty much every meal seemed perfectly sized for a person, usually with a portion of salad and fruit (at least more balanced than in the US). So, after eating our good food, we went to Lawson’s, a Japanese corner store (think a really nice Stop-and-Go), and we got drinks and chosen snacks: really good onogiri, ice cream, and frozen peach chunks in a bottle (so good!). By the time we got back to the hotel room, we crashed.