They say that one of the main perks of traveling solo, is that sometimes you get to meet interesting people. This happens to me back in March, when I was traveling alone on my second day in Kyoto, and I will be forever grateful to Nishitani-san. I just need to write this blog post so that I can always remember this event. Oh and I got very fond of the Japanese after this event.
The first time I met Nishitani-san was when I just finished from Ginkaku-ji, and was waiting for a bus to Kinkaku-ji. Nishitani-san approached me and asked where I was going. He then suggested which bus to take, and to top it all he actually gave me a copy with all the opening hours of Kyoto shrines. He also suggested for me to go to Tenmangu shrine first, because the plum flowers are in blossom and they’re having a festival there – which I did, and I wasn’t disappointed. As at that time I was also planning to go to Arashiyama, he explained to me how to take the train to Arashiyama. Such a kind guy, but it didn’t stop there.
So I went to Tenmangu shrine and Kinkaku-ji. Because it was already a bit late into the evening, I decided to abandon arashiyama and go straight to Nijo castle instead. It was already 3.30 P.M., and spending a night in a bamboo groove doesn’t sound all that fun. So I waited at the bus stop near Kinkaku-ji, and guess what? I met Nishitani-san again! He asked me where I was going, and commented that I won’t make it to Nijo-jo by bus becasue admission is closed by 4 P.M. So what happened next? He offered to take me there using his car! (if a stranger is offering you this in Jakarta, you should run away directly).
So I rode to Nijo-jo using Nishitani-san’s car, and all the while he explained the history of the areas that we passed by in Kyoto. I was actually too absorbed with his explanation and worrying about whether I’ll make it in time for the castle that I forgot to ask about Nishitani-san’s occupation or his email address! Stupid me! Now that everything’s done I wish I can contact him again T_T.
So that’s a little bit of my story about how I received help when traveling solo in Kyoto. Once again, I’ll say this: don’t be afraid when traveling solo, especially in a safe country like Japan.