Of all the places I visited in Japan, nothing comes close to the charm that Kyoto brings. And it does not only charm you with its beauty, but it takes you back to the old Japan.
Imagine this: you are walking along a pathway surrounded by bamboos, then suddenly you see Geishas passing by. How cool is that?
During my 8-day tour in Japan, I made sure that I also spend at least 2 days in Kyoto. The easiest way to reach Kyoto is through Osaka where you can ride a Shinkansen and arrive there in 15 minutes. By the way, you might be wondering why I don’t take the bus and chose to ride a Shinkansen – simply be because riding a Shinkansen is more convenient and is worth the EXPERIENCE. I suggest you purchase a JR Pass for Php11,900 good for 7 days. You can ride all you can in all JR operated buses and trains.
Going back, there’s so much to see in Kyoto especially the temples. Since the options are quite overwhelming, i trimmed down my list and only chose the following spots:
- Fushimi Inari Taisha
- Kyoto Tower
- Downtown Kyoto
Believe me, visiting these spots canproduce hundreds of photos and selfies!
Fushimi Inari Taisha also called the Fox Shrine is most popular shrines in Kyoto. Not only because you have so many things to see there, but the shrine is very accessible to tourists since it has its own train station. Spend the entire afternoon walking along the torii and feel that you are in an old Japanese film. By the way, prior to going inside the area, you will see a lot of food stalls and souvenir shops so you might as well check them out.
Gion is my favorite place in all of Kyoto. It gave me the thrill to walk along the tiled pathway, filling your eyes to the beauty of the traditional machiya merchant houses. If you get lucky, you’ll see a Geiko or a Maiko in full costume. But if not, just check out the show schedules at Gion Corner where you get towatch the traditional tea ceremony, Ikebana, Bunraku, the Kyogen comic plays and a performance by a Geisha.
I found a really nice Hotel at Shirakawa area which is near Gion. Though obviously, it was a bit pricey (at Php2,000 for a night) but i cannot complain considering that you can hear the sound of flowing water from the river beside the hotel. Plus, the experience of staying in a traditional Japanese house is something that you will truly enjoy.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is also a must-see. Like Fushimi Inari Taisha,it is also accessible via the JR Train. The best part of my trip to Arashiyama that I got to see not only the bamboos, but there are also numerous temples, lakes and rice fields surrounding the park. By the way, some temples might require you to pay a certain fee.
Downtown and Kyoto Tower was initially not part of my itinerary. But since the tower is just right beside Kyoto station, I might as well visit it. You need to pay for the entrance (around P500). Downtown Kyoto has this old town vibe that I really like. And what I really find very interesting is that most of the shops close after 9. So the “provincial” feel is there.
I love Kyoto and I think everybody does, too! Always worth revisiting!