Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer in Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan.. is.. just love.

Our vacation was supposed to be spent in Osaka, but because Kyoto was just about an hour away by train, we allotted a day for it. However, a day in Kyoto was not enough.. and would never be enough. We went back again on another day. And still, it was not enough. 
Next time, I will spend at least 4 days in Kyoto!! :)

It was very, very hot on the first day, so we had to be strategic on the places we wanted to see, as the heat made our walks really exhausting. And our regret was, not staying overnight in Kyoto, and missing out on the night scene. 

So here's where our walk started..

Gion District Kyoto Japan

The Gion District, the most exclusive geisha district in Japan. 

Gion District Kyoto Japan

The streets are lined with well-preserved old-style wooden merchant houses or teahouses, where the geishas, or geikos as they are called in Gion, entertain their patrons.

Gion District Kyoto Japan

Unfortunately, we did not see any geiko because we did not stay until the evening. This area would have looked really mesmerising with all the lights and drama at night.

Gion District Kyoto Japan

We just kept walking and allowed ourselves to get lost somehow.. As we felt like we were in a movie set location.

Kennin-Ji Temple Kyoto Japan

Reached Kennin-ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.

Kennin-Ji Temple Kyoto Japan

Local people pass by the temple grounds all day long, as it has become part of their regular walkway.

Yasaka Shrine Kyoto Japan

And now at the complex of the Yasaka Shrine, where worshippers frequently drop by to offer prayers to their god of prosperity and health.

Yasaka Shrine Kyoto Japan

Wooden prayer tablets. We did not go inside the shrine itself anymore.

Yasaka Shrine Kyoto Japan

And this is where you wash your hands and mouth to cleanse your body and mind before entering the shrine.

Summer in Kyoto Japan

Lunch time.. we ate at this little shop where locals buy take away bento boxes. 

It's hard to go wrong when it comes to food in Japan :)

Summer in Kyoto Japan

We then took the bus to the Ginkaku-Ji Temple because it was too hot to walk.

Just a tip - it is really worth it to buy the unlimited one day Kyoto bus ticket.

Summer in Kyoto Japan

The path to the temple was lined with souvenir shops, and a LOT of ice cream shops! 

Ginkakuji Temple Kyoto Japan

So happy to finally arrive at the Ginkaku-Ji Temple! :)

Ginkakuji Temple Kyoto Japan

It is Zen, and also known as the Temple of the Silver Pavilion.

Ginkakuji Temple Kyoto Japan

Ok.. I thought we would finally be able to escape the heat.. but no.. ;)

Zen Garden Kyoto Japan

Don't you just love Japanese gardens?! 

They are so pretty in Summer.. I hope I could see them in Spring, Autumn, and Winter when they are even lovelier!

Green Tea Ice Cream Kyoto Japan

Before moving on to our next stop, we had to cool ourselves for a while.

We tried a few, but this shop served the best Green Tea Ice Cream!

You will pass by this shop on the way to the entrance of the Ginkaku-Ji Temple. So please don't get tempted by all the others you will see before you reach this place! :)

Philosopher's Path Kyoto Japan

Starting to walk again.. at the Philosopher's Path. 

It is a pedestrian path along a canal lined with cherry trees. A Japanese philosopher used to walk here everyday to meditate, hence the name.

Imagine coming here during Spring with all the cherry blossoms! It would just be heaven!!

Philosopher's Path Kyoto Japan

Random things along the path.. a Teddy Bear family on a bench, fishing in the canal :)

Philosopher's Path Kyoto Japan

Shops along the way, and stairs for resting ;)

Philosopher's Walk Kyoto Japan

And restaurants, and benches for resting again ;) 

The walk was only at least 30 minutes, and really beautiful and fascinating.. but the summer heat just made it really exhausting.

Philosopher's Walk Kyoto Japan

A wood carving shop.

There were also a lot of temples and shrines along the way, but we did not check them out anymore. 

We could no longer wait to take the bus to have some aircon, on the way to our next stop! haha! :)

Fushimi Inari Kyoto Japan

And here we are.. at the Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Inari is their god of rice, and merchants and manufacturers traditionally worshipped him.

Fushimi Inari Kyoto Japan

The path to the shrine is lined with thousands of Torii (these orange traditional Japanese gates).

Each of the Torii here was donated by a Japanese business.

Memoirs of a Geisha Kyoto Japan

Also, the ending scene of one of my favourite movies, Memoirs of a Geisha, was filmed here.

This was where the child apprentice, or Maiko, was running through, smiling.


On our second day in Kyoto, we went to the Arashiyama area.

Sagano Romantic Train Arashiyama

We decided to take it slow and relax on this day, so we took the Sagano Romantic Train for a scenic ride.. departing from the Torokko Saga Station.

Sagano Romantic Train Arashiyama

It's an old-fashioned train with wooden benches, and goes through the mountains along the Hozugawa River.

Sagano Romantic Train Arashiyama

The 7 kilometre journey that passes by a forested ravine takes 25 minutes. 

I could not take a proper picture of the scenery because I was just using my iPhone, and the train was moving. But believe me, the scenery was really fantastic! :)

Tanuki Torokko Kyoto Japan

We alighted at the Torokko Kameoka Station, where Tanuki (Japanese Raccoon Dog) statues greeted us.. How cute is that?! :)

Togetsukyo Bridge Arashiyama Kyoto

Took the train back to central Arashiyama, and here we are at the Togetsukyo Bridge. 

This bridge has often been used in historical films. It crosses the Hozu River on the west, and the Katsura River on the east. 

And that's my sister :)

Togetsukyo Bridge Arashiyama Kyoto

Boats for rent.

Togetsukyo Bridge Arashiyama Kyoto

A cafe by the river. 

Bamboo Grove Arashiyama Kyoto

And after a loooong walk.. here we are at the very refreshing Bamboo Grove! 

Isn't it enchantingly beautiful?! :) 

Another scene from the movie Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed here.

Bamboo Forest Arashiyama Kyoto

But now it's time to go. 

I am not done with Kyoto though. I really loved it, and there are still so many things to see. 

I have to visit it again, in another season! :)

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