diary · Travel

Exploring Kyoto

Hey everyone!

This is part 2 of my Japan travel adventure. Check out my Osaka post here. In this post I’m going to be talking about my two days in Kyoto. Kyoto is a gorgeous city which also shows the traditional side of Japan. On our trip we thought we should experience the history of Japan and we did so in Kyoto by participating in a bus tour. I don’t really recommend bus tours if you want to explore the places you’re visiting in depth, however if you’re on a time crunch then definitely give them a go.

On the third day of our trip we travelled to Kyoto from Osaka by train. It wasn’t the bullet train so it took around an hour in comparison to the 15 minutes a bullet train would take. After arriving, we dropped our luggage off at our Airbnb and explored the city around the station. I recommend staying at an Airbnb because they hotels are very expensive in Kyoto. We then headed for the Kyoto sky tower and got the chance to see the whole city. It was incredibly crowded in the sky tower, so if you’re claustrophobic, don’t go up there.

There was writing on the window to display how far away landmarks were.

Surprisingly, in Kyoto, especially near the station, there were these multilevel floors that had classes (cooking, etc) food courts and souvenir shops. I’ve never quite seen anything like it. We came across this store that made fake food and we had a class in the making of fake food. We got the chance to make parfait. They also had candy making classes, cooking classes and kimono rental.

My parfait is the one on the left and the right is the sample. It’s pretty cute, I never knew I needed a memo holder until now.

Afterwards, we headed back to our Airbnb to check in, relax, order some Uber eats. Of course, I can’t go a night without having my 7/11 Suntory whiskey. I love 7/11 in Japan. They have everything anyone could ever need. You could live off the food. After getting a little intoxicated, I wanted to adventure more so we went out to play some pachinko and get ramen from this famous ramen restaurant. Pachinko is an interesting game. It’s very loud and in your face. People also smoke in the game room so be warned. After losing $10, we headed to this famous ramen place. We waited half an hour in the line and this was at 10pm. It’s pretty popular. The ramen was delicious, it was definitely more on the meaty side in terms of the broth. The broth was fantastic, a little under spiced but regardless I wanted more.

This is the name of the ramen shop. My kanji skills aren’t that up to scratch yet so I’m unsure what it’s called. If you can read kanji, please let me know in the comments!
This is the beef ramen. It’s not the most photogenic but it was delicious.

The next day we headed on a bus tour. First we stopped at Nijo-jo castle. It was pretty cool, the floors were called the nightingale floors because they sounded like birds. The whole time I was walking I thought there were birds singing outside until the tour guide said that it was the floors. The story behind the floors is that they were built to make noise in order to prevent assassins from attempting to kill the occupants. Overall, it was a nice, though be warned most historic places you need to remove your shoes. Outside most of these traditional sites, there are little stalls you can buy souvenirs. I always get really caught up in tasting all the free food, it’s great.

The castle wasn’t as big as others, regardless, it was still gorgeous.

The next stop was the Golden Temple. It’s a temple that’s lined with gold and it is a must see. In autumn the leaves go orange and it’s gorgeous to see the golden temple amongst the leaves. The tour guide told us a story about the Golden Temple. Someone attempted to commit suicide by burning down the temple with them inside. They had second thoughts and escaped, though the temple still burned down. The temple we see today is not the original, it has been rebuilt.

This is the Golden Temple. Because it was November, it was too early for all of the leaves to change to that orange colour unfortunately.

After visiting the Golden Temple we stopped and had a traditional Japanese lunch. It consists of pickled vegetables, miso soup, a chicken soup and tempura. The lunch was delicious and after refuelling we headed for the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The shrine consists of the famous 10,000 tori gates. We didn’t climb the whole thing as that would take too long but we went up a quarter of the way. The shrine was guarded by these adorable fox statues which I loved.

The Shrine was packed with people. It wasn’t particularly hard to climb as the stairs weren’t steep, so it’s easy for any fitness level.
The Inari fox. Ft a random man. The fox is believed to possess superior intelligence, long life and magical powers in Japanese folklore.

We also visited a few other places, I cannot remember the name of them for the life of me. However, I do remember the final destination required the bus to navigate through these narrow streets with other tour buses coming in the opposite direction. It was terrifying.

Soon after that we returned to Airbnb and went in search of some food. Incredibly drunk and lacking Japanese skills, my mother and I decided it would be best to eat at a barbecue restaurant that didn’t have an English menu. We ordered the mixed meat and shortly after were informed by the chief using google translate that we had in fact ordered internal organs. Now, we are not internal organ kind of people, as we prefer the more conventional cuts of meat. Well…conventional by western society’s standards. Am I adventurous? Slightly. Although I had whale bacon sushi previously in Osaka and was scarred by that. So I was playing it safe for a while. We then proceeded to order other cuts of meat, we still had no idea what it was but it was amazing. Best meat ever. Better than the Kobe. The Kobe was worth it but this blew it out of the water.

Best meat ever. Nothing can compare.

Thank you all for reading my travel post! I loved to travel and share my adventures. Travelling helps me clear my mind and grow as a person. I hope to write about our time in Tokyo next.

6 thoughts on “Exploring Kyoto

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