Surprising City – Kyoto

Before visiting Kyoto, I always thought that this historical city is similar to the typical historical city especially KyeongJu in South Korea. However Kyoto is more than that and it caught me surprise to realise how beautiful and lovely the city is!

Continue from the previous post (Winter Toyota), I will share my experience in Kyoto in this post. Me and my companion traveled from Osaka by express train in the morning and getting down at Fushimi Inari station for less than an hour. Make sure you are taking the express train to skip some stations and save some times.
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Fushimi Inari Shrine is within walking distance from the station, they were some attractive local shops along the way, be it gift shops or restaurants. Do hop in and take a look on those adorable gifts. Behind the shrine, there was the “Senbon Torri” or 千本鳥居 in Kanji, thousands of torri gates, tailing the hiking path to the mountain. It was such a magnificent view. It was excited to walk towards the famous Shrine, anticipating to shoot a nice pose along with the thousands of “torri gates” and post it to Facebook.  It turned out to be impossible to get a nice photo shoot without photo-boom – it was crowded with tourist all along the narrow path on the torri gates! So better go there during weekdays or non-peak season to get nice photo in peace.

Kiyomizu Temple is one of the must-visit-attraction list. Being one of the UNESCO world heritage site, famous for its breathtaking architecture. Built in year 780, the temple main hall has a wooden stage standing 10 meters or more above the hill. Kiyomizu temple is located quite some distance from the train station in around 10 minutes walking up the hill. Along the path, there were some shops renting Kimono for visitors to dress up in Kimono to visit the temple. There were quite a number of ladies dressed in Kimono and went up to the temple. Also, there were plenty of souvenir shops selling muochi mostly on the way down the hills.

Gion is famous for the Geisha district. Coming to Gion, it impressed me with the traditional shop houses but well decorated with simplicity yet classy touch. There were dining shops, tea house and “alcohol house” and also you can enjoy the Geisha show in the culture center. Walking up for few minutes, there was Sanjo street with plenty of restaurant and cafes. There you can dine for cheaper price than having in Gion. =D

Kinkaku-ji is one of the most beautiful place in Kyoto and also listed in UNESCO world’s heritage site. As its name suggests (金閣寺 or Golden Pavillion), Kinkaku-ji looked like a golden sculpture in the middle of the pond. I was amazed by the sculpture itself and its reflection from the pond making it a remarkable scenery.

Ryokan is the “Kyoto-style” of hotel to spend a good night. The pronunciation just sound alike “hotel” in Chinese. There are many Ryokan with different range of price and services. The main and common attraction of Ryokan is that you get to sleep in Japan traditional tatami house, change into their yukata (onsen/hot spring cloth) and enjoy the warm and relaxing public shower – a moment of truth with naked everything! Living in South Korea for a decade, getting into the public shower room naked is a piece cake for me, easy breezy! Remember to find Ryokan for accommodation instead of ordinary hotel for different experience.

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Food. I did not try much in Kyoto but most of the meal I had was always pleasant one!
Donburi in Fushimi Inari. Worth every penny and it tasted awesomely good!

Ichiran Ramen nearby Sanjo – The most delicious Ramen franchise in Japan I had! Never goes wrong with Ichiran!

Teppanyaki in Sajo street – The authentic teppanyaki!

Kyoto is quite big and most of the attractions are scattered here and there. Therefore it is recommended to buy a day-pass ticket for bus or train to travel around within the city. There are more places that I did not visit, I definitely want to go again in different season. Looking forward to next Japan trip!

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