The location of our house was great! We were only about a 10 minute walk from Nijo Castle and maybe 12 minutes from the closest subway. The walk was nice because we were in a community instead of a big hotel infested area. I highly recommend going this route if you have a group. If you're traveling as a couple AirBnB offers other options - rooms, apartments, etc... Try it!
We all noticed from the very beginning that Kyoto was a bike town. Literally, bikes everywhere! They have bike lanes on the sidewalks, but we were often bobbing and weaving trying to avoid getting run over. It gives the town (it's a city, but town seems more appropriate) a really cool vibe. Even restaurants have bike racks outside.
Anyway, back to the adventure! We were pretty much starving by the time we settled into our house so eating was definitely top on the priority list. This is when we started to experience the joys of traveling in a group of six... so many opinions, or lack thereof! Ha! We walked up and down the street before finally deciding on where to go (and this became a trend throughout the whole trip). It ended up being a cute little cafe with lots of options. Granted, I think most of us ordered the same thing but it was delicious regardless.
After lunch, we walked to Nijo Castle, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, since it was so close. The place was huge! We probably could have stayed longer had we wanted to. We were able to take a tour of the palace and experience the nightingale floors, walk around to enjoy the beautiful Nijo Castle Gardens and scenery, and even snag a few fun group shots.
Then, things got crazy! Haha! This might be the funniest thing I've seen in a long time! We stood, 6 grown adults, on a bridge at a castle in Kyoto and tried to take a jumping picture. Well, my cameras flash came on so the repetitive photos were delayed. This was the end result of that... 7 crazy pictures of us just trying to keep moving until all the photos were taken.
We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant not even worth mentioning. The food was okay, the prices were outrageous, and the portions were tiny. We made light of it and had a good time, but were definitely more conscious of our dining decisions for the rest of the trip. It was in a cool area along a canal that we all enjoyed experiencing. Then, on our walk home we took a wrong turn and found this really neat shop. Some of us bought some take-home goodies and then it was time for bed. We had a long few days ahead of us!