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Our short stay in Ōsaka was over, so we checked out of our hostel, and spent a good long while trying to find a direct entrance to the subway line we wanted out of the area. At last we took whatever way down we could find, and followed the signs below to the right line. We made the rest of the trip to Kyōto Station without incident, but the station itself proved on this and subsequent occasions to be even more disorienting than Ōsaka, so that we were reduced to asking directions to practically everything.

The interior of Kyōto Station, where we declared this Endless Escalator Day.

Our first such adventure at the station was getting money for our Kyōto rental. Like most places, they wanted payment in cash, and as expected for a 10-night stay, that was more cash than was reasonable to carry around with you most of the time. Katie had some American money which we got changed, and then we found the post office across the street, the closest place with ATMs. However, the post office ATMs have a limit of 10,000 yen per transaction, and I'd only withdrawn half of what I needed before the repeated transactions must have triggered something at my bank and it declined me.

Hungry, we decided to eat lunch and figure out what to do on full stomachs. After getting sandwiches at a cafe, we returned and tried the bank adjacent to the post office, to see if we had any other options, like cashing a check or withdrawing with credit cards that had no PINs. Although we were able to explain ourselves surprisingly well, the lady we spoke to told us there wasn't anything they could do. We returned to the post office ATMs and decided to try one more time at a different machine. Magically, it worked. I don't know if the other machine was just out of 10,000 yen notes, or if the fact that it had passed midnight back home had released some hold on my account.

The entrance to our shopping arcade.

Our check-in window wasn't until later in the afternoon, and we were too worn out by all our walking in Ōsaka and our little money adventure to do any exploring yet, so we just sat around in the station for a while talking. Eventually we went down to find the subway (for which we had to ask directions), and navigated to Higashiyama Station easily enough.

The inn, Sakara, was supposed to be down a covered shopping arcade very close to the station. So close, in fact, that we initially walked right past it before we even began looking for it. Luckily we backtracked before we'd gone to far, found the place, and went inside. The lobby was empty. We waited for about 40 minutes before deciding action was needed. Neither of us had a cell phone that worked in Japan, but there was a phone just barely within reach on the other side of the counter, and it had the owner's number on speed dial so we didn't have to repeat the disaster of our airport phone call. He picked up, and his wife Yuko came out shortly to check us in. She was very pleasant and provided us with a walking map, on which she pointed out a few key locations like bus stops and restaurants.

Once we had dumped our stuff in our room, we located a Lawsons whereby we obtained food, and used the remainder of the day to unwind. The room itself exceeded our expectations. We had expected it to be small, and while everything was very compact, it really had everything that we could want, including privacy from each other at the end of the day.

Our room's genkan and kitchen table.

The entirety of our kitchen.

The steep steps up to the futon loft.

December 2016

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