Since I’m currently back in Japan for an impromptu family vacation, I thought it’s about time I share my 6-day Japan travel last March 2013. Yes, I know, I’m so sorry about my travel backlogs. I really think I have to get back to posting some of my previous travels. I just felt so bad after Multiply closed down. Almost all my travel photos here in my blog are linked to my Multiply account and so now, they are all gone. I can’t afford to upload all those again and relink them one by one. 🙁 Oh well, I guess a fresh start is always good (positivity!).
Prior to my March 2013 Japan travel, I’ve only been to Tokyo, as I shared in my Tokyo Japan Tunami Travel post. Ever since that trip, I promised myself to visit other parts of Japan as it has become my fave Asian country. I heard a lot of great things about Kyoto that’s why I’ve been meaning to go there. After so much planning, my friends and I finally pushed through. For our 6-day stay in the country, we went to Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe. Quite a lot for 6 days, huh? It was so worth it that I’m doing almost the same itinerary right now with my family (but this time a bit longer). 😀
We took a direct flight from Manila to Osaka (Kansai) airport. We bought the train tickets we’ll be using for our entire trip inside the airport. Japan railways offer various discounted tickets to tourists. You need to have an itinerary to decide which discounted train ticket is best for you. I’ll do a separate post on our itinerary and the train tickets we purchased since this can be a bit confusing.
We headed straight to Kyoto. The train station is just in Kansai airport too. The train ride to Kyoto from Osaka (Kansai) airport is just about an hour via limited express.
The train is really comfortable. In fact, at that time, we were the only ones in our coach. There’s also a luggage storage behind our coach, making the entire trip more comfortable for us.
We stayed at Best Western Hotel in Central Kyoto. Since it was already too late, we just took a cab from Kyoto Station to Best Western, which cost us about JPY 1,000. We were 4 in a cab anyway, so our share each wasn’t so bad at all. The rooms were small, but very clean and cozy. I learned that it’s actually a relatively new hotel.
After checking in, we just settled down and went out for our late dinner. All of us were so hungry so we just ate in a restaurant near our hotel.
This is how you order in some restaurants here in Japan. Cool yo! 😀 It’s like a vending machine. But since we can’t read Japanese characters, we just look at the photos and choose! Haha! Then, pay, wait for the change if there’s any, get the order stub, and give it to the cook.
Who would have thought this small place serves really good ramen??? This is what I also noticed in Tokyo- even the small restaurants around serve really good food. Oh, the joy of eating authentic Japanese food…!!! 😀
We started our day pretty early the next day. There’s just so much to see in Kyoto that a day isn’t enough. Of course, if you just want a glimpse of Kyoto, a day trip is possible. But if you have time to spare, I suggest you go around for 2 full days. We took the bus to go around the city. It’s JPY 500 for the whole day. We bought this ticket in Osaka Kansai Airport, together with our other train cards. Again, I promise to do a separate post on how to travel around Kansai Area. 😀
From Best Western Hotel, our first stop is Ryoanji Temple, Japan’s most famous rock garden.
This is where they do their meditations.
A group photo before we leave… Yes, we’re a huge group and it’s as if we were on a class field trip! Haha!
Our next stop was Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavillion. It’s a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto with a classical age of Japanese garden design.
After, we headed to Gion. But wait, look what we saw while walking to the bus stop…
Awww, such a cutie little Japanese girl crossing the street– alone. Japan is considered to be a safe country, which is one of the reasons why I love it! But what caught our attention, more than being alone, is how she held her bag. LOL! Sorry, she’s just so adorable. I just had to include this photo. Hehe!
Anyway, going back to Gion. It’s the most famous Geisha district in Kyoto, Japan. If you watched the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, most of the scenes were shot here.
Hanami-Koji Street is the most popular area in Gion. It’s where the nice and expensive restaurants are located. The traditional wooden machiya houses can also be seen all over the area. Oh everything’s just picture perfect!
Of course, we won’t leave without catching a glimpse of a geisha or maiko. Oh dear, when I saw the first geisha, I couldn’t believe my eyes. She’s real and she’s not just some tourist wearing a geisha outfit (which is pretty much a common sight around Kyoto’s tourist attractions).
I guess, like most tourists, we spent too much time in this area waiting for geishas and maikos. Hehe!
While we wait for them, we just took photos around! 😀
Our third and last geisha sighting…
We spent the night at Teramachi, a popular shopping arcade, which is also near our hotel.
Look, it’s the 100 yen shop! 😀
Since we want to try their street food, we had yummy Takoyaki and Chicken Strips for dinner.
Okay, they don’t look like street food! Haha!
That’s pretty much it during our first day! I had to divide my Kyoto post into 2 parts since there are just so many photos! Anyway, ’til my next Japan post! 😉