The first thing many travel books like to point out is that countries you are visiting are not monolithic – one area will have certain traits, while another will be almost completely different in foods, personality, priorities. Some of this is that some “country” borders are very arbitrary, not taking into account geographic differences. And some appear to be because of long-reaching traditions or outlooks that have changed in some areas while staying the same elsewhere.

In the case of planning our trip, we didn’t want it to be city to city to city with a focus on being in the newest and modern accommodation – we mixed it up, even if it meant bouncing from an apartment to a hotel to something else.

The photos from above are our first place in Kyoto – the lovely Kinse Inn, which is a 200 year old building which is a pile of history. In some cases, you want to advocate for a business you thought the world should know about – in this case, they’re getting such great business over the years, we were the ones lucky enough to get slotted in.

Besides the clearly wonderful look of the place, was a sense of serenity and quiet within this area that just really slows down the intense pace of the trip. Kyoto is still a city, but the streets and wards were just bundled with all sorts of neat historic callbacks.

Kyoto and the surrounding area have a lot of space for the shrines, and so when we went to them, you got a real eyeful:

The differences have been delightful, to be sure.

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