Hi, there! I know this has been another super duper overdue post, but looking back on our pictures from our Japan trip last year, I believe this is still worth sharing and posting.
This post is the second part of our trip, which is our Kyoto experience. We only visited Kyoto for literally less than 48 hours, but I think we were already able to cover the best parts of the city.
Traveling to Kyoto from Tokyo by Shinkansen
The most efficient way to access Kyoto city from Tokyo is by shinkansen or the bullet train which only takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. During our time of visit the regular one-way fare from Tokyo to Kyoto (with reserved seat) is JPY 13,910 (Approximately Php 6,400). Luckily, we were able to get tickets for the Nozomi shinkansen, which is the fastest one (runs about 185 mph).
We checked-out early in the morning at our hostel, around 7AM, and headed to Tokyo Station, so that we could get the earliest possible schedule for the shinkansen going to Kyoto. But when we were already at Tokyo Station, we got quite lost as to where to get the tickets and for some reason we haven’t seen any signs where the shinkansen terminals are and we also got confused with the ticketing machines. Lol maybe our brains weren’t working properly, since it was still early, but of course we were still able to figure it out in the end.
What’s so great about Japan is how they value time. As what you can see on our ticket, our train is set to depart at 8:40 AM from Tokyo and is expected to arrive in Kyoto at 10:55 AM, and amazingly this schedule was followed without any delays. The details about your train schedule is integrated in google maps as well, which is really cool and helpful.
11:00 – Arrival in Kyoto
When we arrived at Kyoto Station, we decided to take a cab going to our guesthouse, since we still had our luggage with us and it will be a hassle riding the public transportation. Good thing our guesthouse was just around 5-10 minutes away from Kyoto Station, so the fare wasn’t that expensive.
We booked our stay in Kyoto at Colours Guesthouse via Booking.com. I honestly thought it was a hostel at first, but when we arrived, turns out it was a actually a guesthouse. However, no regrets, the place was still lovely since it has traditional Japanese house aesthetics, plus the caretaker was very kind and hospitable.
After checking-in and settling our stuff at the guesthouse, we headed to Sukiya Restaurant to grab some lunch.
Gosh, I miss Sukiya Restaurant so badly. It has been our go-to-restaurant during our trip since their meals are budget friendly and delicious. As far as I could remember, their rice bowls usually costs just about JPY 300 – JPY 500.
Day 6 – Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Sannenzaka, and Ninenzaka
After lunch around, we rode a bus going to our first stop, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and officially started our Kyoto city experience.
From the bus stop, you need to walk going up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple and along the way you’ll be able to access the Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka slopes.
13:00 – Kiyomizu-dera Temple
14:00 – Exploring Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka slopes
16:30 – Yasaka Shrine
While we were at the Yasaka Shrine, there were quite a number of tourists waiting and photographers setting up. We asked one of the locals why, and he told us that there will be a dance performance by a maiko (an apprentice of a Geisha). So we also decided to stay and wait, as it will be a great opportunity to witness it.
It was such a great experience being able to witness a traditional dance performance. I’ve only seen some in the television and finally I was able to see it in flesh. Living the dream indeed!
Day 7 – Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kinkaku-ji, Gion District
10:00 – Fushimi Inari Taisha
I was honestly fangirling when we visited Fushimi Inari because it’s one of the filming locations of the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” – one of my faves!
13:30 – Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
To be honest, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest was my least favorite attraction in Kyoto. We weren’t that impressed, like “Ah okay, so this is it”, because it looked different from what we’ve expected, maybe because of the season when we visited wasn’t the best time? But still, the place was so peaceful and calming.
There’s a lot of attractions that you could visit around Arashiyama like the Tenryu-ji Temple, Okochi-Sanso Villa, and more temples. But we decided to skip them and headed to Kinkakuji, the golden Pavilion.
15:00 – Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion)
17:00 – Strolling around Gion District
After our visit at Kinkaku-ji, we went back to Gion District, or also known as Kyoto’s “geisha district“. We just strolled around to kill time while enjoying the beautiful traditional Japanese wooden houses in the area. We were able to spot some Geishas and Maikos as well, but haven’t gotten a chance to take some photos since they were walking so fast.
18:30 – Dinner at Gion, Kyoto Ramen
After a long day of walking and walking and lots of walking, we finally concluded our last night in Kyoto with this ramen from Gion, Kyoto Ramen.
Getting around Kyoto
Honestly, getting around Kyoto was quite challenging at first because they have fewer subway and train stations going to the major tourists spots in the city as compared to Tokyo. So the best way to get around the city is really by bus and by walking. Kyoto is just small city and most attractions are usually just a 15 minute walk away from each other.
During the time we visited Kyoto, it was showering from time to time, so there were times that we needed to ride a cab especially when going back to our guesthouse. Luckily, our guesthouse was just near the downtown area, so the fare wasn’t that expensive.
But of course, my number one tip when traveling, learn how to use the Google maps app. 😀
That’s it for our Kyoto experience in less than 48 hours! Definitely going back again, maybe when it’s snowing? I wanna experience snow someday too.
Laters! 😀Tags: arashiyama bamboo grove, fushimi inari taisha, geisha, gion district, japan, kansai, kyoto, maiko, osaka, sannenzaka, shinkansen, takoyaki, travel, Travel Guide, travelguide, WhenInJapan