Kyoto, a historical and must visit city of Japan. I have been imagining the city setup ever since I read the book - Geisha about 10 years ago. Honestly, it looked more modern than I expected. Of course, the refurbished buildings and architecture still preserved well, the wooden blocks. It was amazing, and I am very much salute the Japanese determination and persistent. Its the right attitude to build positive energy, lock through one's will and work towards it, without blame and hate.
Shrines and temples are the most a must visit around Kyoto. Especially for one who likes photography. If I am walking alone, I will spot and stop longer for "the moment" type of photography. Too bad, time was the limit, and weather did not seemed doing well with us. We had a 5 days 4 nights stay in Kyoto, a little more than Osaka for a stop.
First meal in Kyoto - Ramen at Kyoto train station. I recalled a friend told me about the small shop with vending machine. Upon checking against some Chinese travel guide book, this food court located very much top floor of the station, to access it, it's via the open air escalation way. They have all Japan famous ramen shop, with some brief introduction. I choose the one without bamboo shoots, namely Hakata Ikkousha Ramen. Tasted good! They have its branch in Singapore, should try them.
|Ramen vending machine|
|Wait to be seated once ticket bought|
|Geisha spotted but she walked really fast|
|Another Geisha at Gion|
The following day was raining and we decided to forgo our cycling tour to the following day. I didn't pack my camera at all, walking around with just a Daiso transparent umbrella and raincoat. We hit the bus and trains. Towards the shrine and famous tourist spots, around Arashiyama. We got lost at the train station walked many KMs until we get to the Bamboo garden. Unfortunately, the rain didn't stop at all. We continued our walk around the area. Hopped to Kinkaku-ji Temple (金寺) a.k.a. Golden Temple with its surrounding stunning garden. Again, my only tool was my handphone.
Did I mentioned that touring into the Shrine or Temple, especially those with nice garden requires entrance fees. Hence, plan your trip, unless its necessary for a good sigh seeing, else one may omits visiting those temples.
|Garden near Kinkaku-ji Temple|
|Kinkaku-ji Golden Temple|
Since the rain didn't go. We decided to hit back to the town center for more shopping, including the areas around Kyoto station, GU and Uniqlo were the hit most shop. Supermarkets were our frequent visiting targets too. Grabbed some good grounded coffee and liquors too. We usually prepare quick bites for next day breakfast, before heading for brunch. Green tea latte sachets accompanied with buns or biscuits had been our must everyday. It's kinda budget travel though.. (shameful smile).
We discovered this simple restaurant while walking back to our hotel. Decided to give it a try, since its kinda budget style. Honestly, we didn't spend a lot on luxury food over this trip, due to many reasons. One of it was time constrain. The shop name in foursquare らーめん恵比朱.
The ramen was simple with lots of huge spring onions. Love the simple soup base. The rice set with pouched egg was wonder too. I just feel comfy with such restaurant. In fact, we had dinner here for 2 consecutive nights.
|Ramen and Rice|
We landed with Nanakomachi 七小町. Bike rental for whole day, return by 7PM was affordable. The only downside for cycling around was the parking fees. Yes, not a surprise as Kyoto has strict municipal council where bikes are not supposed to park along side of the road or even shop lots verandah, especially near Kyoto station or any tourist spots. We targeted back the Kiyomizu Shrine area, and ended up parked our bikes with almost a typical Shrine entrance fee (500yen). Nevertheless, it was a great experience, especially with the old fashion Japanese bike. Don't underestimate how these bike can go, it's light and very easy to control. Perhaps these had been re-engineered type.
Upon heading back to the city center, we needed (in fact was instructed) to push our bikes along a stretch with crowd along the Damaru shopping center. I was hoping to find my Phiten HQ, but to no avail. :( *sad face*
|Bike rental and tour shop|
|Kiyomizu area - day time|
|Love cherry blossom|
|Poor me on double rain coat|
|Our biking route|
Weather the following day was shiny! Oh gosh... how nice if were to cycle that day. Don't be happy too early, the weather turned ugly again when we were in Fushimi Inari Shrine. This is a nice place with a little of hike. It's a one way walk, while you will ended up in another exit. Weather was good when we headed in.. but it drizzle when we were at the peak of mountain.
|Fushimi Inari route map|
|The classic icon of Inari Shrine|
|Wolf based wish cards|
|Kimono based wish paper cards|
|Off Inari Shrine - Sweeten Sweet Potato|
|Ready to grill - unagi|
|Sagano Train beer|
|Rented bike while waiting for train interval|
|Went again - Bamboo Garden|
|Couple on Wedding shot|
|Matcha Green tea Pao|
|Sake Ice cream|
|My favorite Japanese biscuits|
We headed to somewhere near Kyoto Tower and surrounding. Heard its an old town, the feel of this town is just like pre-WWII. Walls and some historical stories were there to tell the stories for Kyoto tower, apparently it was a rebuilt after WWII, because the previous tower metal steels were tore down for war use.
|Our dinner - Japanese noodle|
|History of Kyoto Tower|
|Japanese set lunch|
|The same building - Fukui Bank|
|It was close :(|
Here are some souvenirs we got from Kyoto. Nice and unique place. They even have own plum wine.
|Kyoto plum wine|
Our to-go breakfast and snacks.
|Bottle of hot coffee & my rice|
|Green tea Oreo|
Last part will be Nara before heading back to Osaka for shopping!