AsiaJapanKyoto

Exploring Kyoto.

Kyoto Travel Blog

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Model posing posing to have her picture taken at Fushimi Inari shrine.
Fushimi Inari Shrine

Woke up around 7 am Friday morning, and I still wasn’t sure where to start in Kyoto.  So I got dressed up, and bought the Kyoto one-day bus pass for 500 yen at the hostel lobby, which is a bargain if you plan to use the Kyoto’s extensive bus system to get around.  I then went ahead to Kyoto station to obtain the bus map routes and a nicer map of the Kyoto sites and attractions.  I decided that I was going to visit the sites that required a lot of travel time by bus or by train, and since I was in Kyoto station already, I hopped on a JR line to visit Fushimi Inari shrine, which is famous for its multiple red torii gates that you can walk through.
Tenryuji temple garden.
  Supposedly it takes 2 hours to walk the whole trail, but I must have spent at least 1 hour or so around the area.  I took many pictures of the torii gate paths, and it’s one of the more beautiful picturesque places to do that.

Arashiyama

At first I planned on going to Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji temple by taking the bus from Kyoto station, but since I was already at the station, I took the JR line for Arashiyama instead.  Arashiyama is a little district on the western side of Kyoto, mainly I wanted to check out their bamboo forest, which many draw comparisons to the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and possibly get on the Sagano Romantic train ride.  Well I ended up going to Tenryu-ji Temple first because I followed the other tourists after I got off the train.
  This temple among many in Kyoto is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is famous for their garden.  Access to the garden area is 500 yen, but if you want to walk inside the temple itself and sit on the tatami floor overlooking the pond just to relax, it costs an extra 100 yen.  The garden area itself is really big, and you can take a glimpse of the bamboo forests.   

Next up I went to Togetsukyo Bridge, I didn’t cross the bridge, instead I made a quick right and walked down the path.  They had river boat rides, but decided to continue on to try to find the path leading to the bamboo forest.  I walked uphill and eventually found the bamboo forest.  It was a hot and humid day, so I was glad to find out that the path in the bamboo forest was shaded by the trees.
Tenryuji temple building.
  The bamboo forest appeared dry, and the green color of the trees appeared pale and sickly.  But that’s just my opinion; maybe I’m comparing the color to Crouching Tiger.  Nevertheless it was still a nice stroll, and I’ve never seen a bigger collection of bamboo trees since my childhood in the Philippines.  I got back out in the open road, the sun started beating down, and I started sweating again.  I went back to Kyoto station to visit Kinkaku-ji Temple. 

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple

I had a hard time at first trying to figure out Kyoto’s  bus system, which bus number to take, and which platform the bus stops at, but after looking at the signs I figured it out.  I was feeling a little tired, and it took a while to get to the temple due to traffic, I must have dozed up for 10 minutes listening to this white foreigner and this Japanese girl behind me talking in English, there were too many uncomfortable silences during their conversation, I knew they like each other, but they were just too shy to admit it, that’s how tense it was.
Bamboo forest.
  It was mid-afternoon by the time I arrived at Kinkaku-ji and the pond overlooking Kinaku-ji (Golden Pavillion) Temple was crowded with people trying to have their pictures taken.  I took several pictures, but since it was too bright outside, most of my images came out overexposed, and I’m not pro when it comes to balancing and changing settings to get the optimal picture.  But I really liked how the temple reflected on the water to create a mirror image.  I still haven’t had lunch yet, and it was already 3 pm, so I ordered a green tea flavored soft-served ice cream on a cone, that was the first time I’ve had green tea flavored ice cream, the taste was a little shocking at first, but ended up liking it in the end. 

Ryoanji

Near Kinkaku-ji is a bus stop which you can take to Ryoan-ji temple.
Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
  I asked one of the traffic officers how long it would take to get to Ryoan-ji from here, he said 20 minutes if I walked.  So I took the bus instead.  I made it to the temple with 1 hour to spare before they closed at 5 pm.  Ryoan-ji is a zen temple famous for their rock garden laid out in a simple pattern with jagged rocks and moss grass sticking out in different areas.  Each person has their interpretation of what the rock garden signifies, but it reminded me of the many small islands that I saw in the Philippines when I took the ferry from Negros to Iloilo.

Yasaka shrine and Gion district

From Ryoan-ji I tried to find the bus number that will take me to Kyoto station, but I was still having a hard time understanding it, so I ended up walking for the next 30 minutes or so to a JR station nearby, and from there I went to Kyoto station.
Ryoanji rock garden.
  From the station I hopped on the bus to Gion hoping to catch some geishas.  My roommate said he saw a bunch of them when he went around 6 or 7 pm the other night.  I arrived at the Gion bus stop around 530 pm, visited Yasaka shrine, it was practically empty except for some stragglers like me and locals coming in to pray.  I then proceeded to the Gion district near the shrine.  I spent an hour there staking out with my camera around my neck and my camcorder on one hand.  I walked up and down the street dodging cars and taxis as they passed by.  A group of tourists also came in hopes they would find a geisha.  But sadly I only saw 4 geishas that night, and even then I wasn’t sure if they were real geishas because they didn’t have white make-up on.
Entrance to Yasaka shrine.


Downtown

Well after I’ve had some fun I visited the Kyoto downtown area and walked around a bit.  I visited this mall and ordered this tasty looking strawberry fruit parfait ice cream.  I thought they were going hand that thing to me, so I could eat it right away, but they wrapped it in a small box and put it in a nice paper bag.  I was like, “whaaaaaaat the h….?!?!.”  Apparently almost everything you buy in Japan gets wrapped up, even small keychain souvenirs.  I walked around a bit more and arrived at an arcade shopping area, and ate at this non-Japanese food restaurant.  I had rice, burger patty, potato and sausage. I walked around a bit more and decided to get back to the hostel.
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Model posing posing to have her pi…
Model posing posing to have her p…
Tenryuji temple garden.
Tenryuji temple garden.
Tenryuji temple building.
Tenryuji temple building.
Bamboo forest.
Bamboo forest.
Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Ryoanji rock garden.
Ryoanji rock garden.
Entrance to Yasaka shrine.
Entrance to Yasaka shrine.
Gion district.
Gion district.
Walking towards the downtown area.
Walking towards the downtown area.
Shopping Malls in downtown Kyoto.
Shopping Malls in downtown Kyoto.
Shopping Malls in downtown Kyoto.
Shopping Malls in downtown Kyoto.
I  still cant believe they wrappe…
I still can't believe they wrapp…
Downtown area arcade shopping.
Downtown area arcade shopping.
Kyoto
photo by: ys484