In Kyoto, I stayed in an amazing guesthouse/hostel called Ichiensou. It’s located in Gion, the “geisha district.” I met a lot of different people from all over the world and had some very…interesting experiences going to Japanese bars with them. The first photo was taken just around the corner from the hostel. Japanese people use bikes as a main mode of transportation much more than Americans do, so seeing Japanese businessmen riding bikes was nothing too out of the ordinary.

This is my room at the hostel. It’s traditional style with tatami mat floors, futons, and paper walls. I actually found it to be quite uncomfortable, but my host, Yashi, kindly offered me an extra futon and all was well.

I saw a few geishas in Kyoto, but this is the only one I was brave enough to take a picture of (and that was only as she was walking away). There was a group of German tourists beside me on some sort of tour that all began snapping photos of her very openly as she rushed by. I felt bad, even though I knew she must have been used to it.

This was taken in the Sagano bamboo groves. Being in the quiet and solitude of those groves was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. I reveled in the cool shade and lingered there for a long time, wishing I could stay all day.