Kyoto in August | Travel

Our trip to Kyoto in August was mostly a disaster. We packed as much into the month as we could (like our weekend trip to Onomichi) because Josh only had a few weeks at home before going back out on deployment and we wanted to explore as much of Japan as we could. We quickly learned that August is not a month that you should do anything in Japan. The heat and humidity is insane and completely miserable.

Since Kyoto’s public transport is mostly buses and a lot of what we wanted to see was on opposite sides of the city we decided to drive so we wouldn’t have to be out in the heat waiting for buses to pick us up. We left early afternoon on a Friday and planned to stay for 2 nights. Two hours into our 5 hour drive, our car overheated. Fortunately, we were about 20 minutes from a train station so we just turned on the heat to get the engine to cool down and re-routed. It was in the 90s that weekend but the heat index was about 110. And we were driving with our heat on. Kill me. We got to the station drenched in sweat and got on a train. We made it to Kyoto a few hours later and then had to find a bus while carrying all our stuff in the heat. We were super excited about our Airbnb for the weekend, there are tons of great places to stay in Kyoto and we found one that was super affordable. Aaaand it turned out to not be exactly as advertised. It was supposed to have a kitchen but the kitchen was just a sink in the bathroom with a tiny stove that didn’t work. There were no pots, pans, silverware, cups or bowls. Nothing. There also were no beds or any furniture at all. It had Japanese futons which are thin pads you put on the ground. They aren’t horrible but they also aren’t super comfortable. We laughed it off and ate rice cakes with avocado on the floor for dinner since we couldn’t cook anything and we were too exhausted to go out after travelling all day in the heat. We couldn’t get the wifi to work either so we used a hotspot on our laptop to watch Netflix until the battery died and we couldn’t charge it because the outlets in town are different than our home on base and I didn’t even think about that ahead of time. 

We got up crazy early the next morning to see the Fushimi Inari Shrine before it got too hot. It was amazing! It’s a huge temple complex that you can walk around and wander through. We couldn’t hike all the way to the top because it was getting really hot and the sweating had already begun. I wasn’t ready to waste all my electrolytes by 8am so we left. 

Our next stop was a coffee shop called Weekenders Coffee. We took a train and a bus to get there. It looked amazing. And it was closed. Until October. Facepalm. We found another coffee shop called Arabica Coffee in the Gion district and took another bus and train there and it was open! We got coffee (which was delicious) and then walked around in the area that it was located. The architecture there is old and really beautiful. We did some walking and shopping until we got tired and then got on a bus to go get some lunch. The busses are pretty difficult to navigate if you don’t speak Japanese and we ended up getting on a bus going the wrong way. We didn’t realize it until it was too late and we spent over an hour on the bus.

Eventually we made our way back to the Airbnb and tried to plan the rest of the evening and the following morning. We still wanted to see the golden pavilion and the bamboo forest. We were sitting on the floor exhausted and struggling and I was like yea I kind of just want to go home. Josh instantly perked up and just the thought of going home gave us both an energy rush so we started packing up and checked out early. By that point we were so tired and delirious that everything was funny. Sometimes the things that go wrong make the funniest and best memories. We definitely want to go back, with a working car, when it’s not a million degrees, so hopefully later this year or early next we can make it happen! There is definitely a lot more to see.