At about 4:50 am- ridiculously early again- I was up and packed. One of my bags was filled with snacks and my last carton of an iced chai latte. I woke up my friend around 5:15, trying to make sure we were out the door on time. I placed my bag into the basket of her bike and followed her through the rain to the airport bus exhausted and with my nerves fraying from the sound my suitcase made over the uneven roads in the sleepy morning. For the first time in about a year my 3DS was charged and in exchange my phone had died. Any attempts to wake it from the void caused it to attempt combusting. So, with the battery removed I shoved it into my luggage in the hopes it could be salvaged, having already panicked and come to terms with the possibility of having lost everything, all photos, all notes, that all my cats in Neko Atsume were gone and instead prepared to trudge through the final chapters of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” bleary eyed aboard the bus.
The airport buses request reservations. It was 2,550 yen, at least from where I was boarding, which was the start of the line at about 6:13 am, outside of Demachiyanagi station 出町柳駅. Luckily after going through that mornings’ reservations the bus driver let me pay and assigned me a seat- a seat a woman later said was also hers but she didn’t mind and ended up plopping down next to me without further incident. The driver didn’t speak English but the announcements on board were in English and Japanese. Flying home I was taking Peach, which was in Terminal 2 at KIX. The only thing in Terminal 2.
To get to Terminal 2 ask an information desk for directions and then follow the signs to the bus that will drive you to Terminal 2. Terminal 2 is only Peach Airlines and it’s not particularly close to Terminal 1. So I headed there first. With my phone dead I was a bit concerned at how I would check in but luckily there were self check in booths that open up almost exactly 2 hours prior to your flight. Which meant at about 7 am with my flight not until about 12:30 I had a ton of time to kill and regretted having gone to terminal 2 so soon.
There’s not much in terminal 2. It’s broken up into two sides, the international side and domestic side. There’s a convenience store (where I bought breakfast and more snacks (after weighing my suitcase and finding it 3 kgs below the weight limit) and a souvenir shop. There was a restaurant further down but I didn’t particularly want to deal with that so I just sat in one of the seats, played games on my 3DS and waited for my check-in time to start. Even though I didn’t have the QR code I had my reservation number and that worked. However if you are early and try checking in early the machines will not allow it. Only 2 hours in advance will it stop displaying an error message. Since I just had a carry on it meant after I had my ticket (a huge receipt the machine spat out) I could bypass the front desk and head straight to security, where they weighed my luggage (still well below the 10kg max) and was practically the first person in line for security. I went through quickly and customs also took no time at all. The plus I guess of there being only one airline in the entire terminal. It felt strange.
Once through there was only one gate and plenty of spots to sit so I settled next to huge glass windows watching the rain pour off the roof before checking out the few shops and one restaurant near the gate. Boarding didn’t start until almost a half hour before we were suppose to leave and then it was by row, aka window seats boarded first. The entire process was quick and efficient, and since we boarded from the middle of the landing strip there were yellow umbrellas in a giant bin for all of us as we traipsed through puddles to our airplane. They were so easy to open and close and we just dumped them in another bin by the stairs to our plane that it felt almost like a dance or performance art. And it was fun to watch everyone after me do the same thing from the window seat I’d ended up in.
Kyoto was a vastly more enjoyable experience then last years trip to Tokyo. The weather was cool, it wasn’t too crowded (My friend can’t figure out how we managed that) and I got to meet a ton of cool people. I got to see a lot of temples and shrines including my friend’s local Tanaka Shrine that houses a peacock.
I had such a great time. It did suck going back to work the next day utterly exhausted, but everything I saw and experienced, from watching the music water show at Kyoto Station to listening with amusement to one of the night bus driver elongate all his sentences with sssss at the end like a snake. Hopefully some day I’ll go back and see more. Like the monkey park or visit the manga museum. There’s definitely plenty to do in Kyoto, and now that my phones back from the void I’m ready for more adventures!