Its a little late for more temple hopping so Eric suggests we visit Lake Biwa, where we see many people fishing from the sides of the lake. The municipal authority actually encourages you to fish for certain species and eat them, or if you don’t like fish, at least destroy these invasive species one of which is the black bass.
Lake Biwa is ringed by mountains, making for gorgeous sunsets, which I am quick to capture on video and in still photography. As the sun sets, the wind picks up and creates a steady breeze that is delightful, as is the entire experience of peace and harmony with nature. After sunset, its time to leave… Eric drives me to the Minami Kusatsu station and plan to meet again for drinks in Osaka.
Dig out change, purchase ticket, insert into turnstile, walk to platform, train magically appears within a minute or two. Damn this is easy.
5:00 – 6:30pm JST
Ok so I’m hungry and have no plans to eat in Kyoto so I try out the noodle restaurant on the platform at Kyoto Station, and I do mean right on the platform. You first get a ticket from a ticket machine which represents your selection and give it to the cook inside, they make your meal and hand it to you from behind the counter. I selected curried rice bowl and a side of udon noodle soup. Busy commuters are horking this stuff down within minutes and then are quickly off to catch their trains, for them eating is tanking up. I have to let my food cool off first. Water is free from a water dispenser with plastic glasses and they even have a small sink where you can freshen up before leaving. This place is the canonical, stand up commuter noodle shop and they want you in, chowing down and out as fast as possible.
6:30pm – 7:00pm JST
FInding the right bus back to the hotel was difficult at Kyoto Station. There are at least nine different platforms and many city bus lines to choose from and its unclear which platform services which bus line. At a loss, I walk into the Bus Information Office and ask one of the bus ticketing agents which platform the number 17 bus stops at… “A2” and I’m back in the running. I think I’m getting the hang of how this works although I am making mistakes in selecting the clockwise or counterclockwise leg of the same line.