Kyoto! Kyoto! How glad we are that we did not pull you out of our itinerary in the end. Almost did not visit Kyoto because we were worried about the amount of walking and upslopes. Thank goodness for the Mr’s wise words, ‘since we are all the way there, just go lah! ‘
Kyoto is simply charming beyond words. And we went to only two key places – Kiyomizudera and Nishiki Market. So charming that the Mr says we got to go back and stay a few nights in Kyoto itself.
Our day trip to Kyoto almost went the other way before we even stepped foot in Kyoto. Took the Keihan railway (instead of Hankyu which was much easier for us as the station to board the train was almost at the doorstep of our hotel) as it is supposed to be the better way to get us into the centre of Kyoto city and we wanted to fulfill Kay’s request to take a different type of train. But the Keihan station from which we were supposed to depart from was rather secluded and unlike other railway, the staff was not as helpful.
Difficulties aside, we still managed to reach the famous Gion, the traditional Kyoto street (aka Geisha street?), pretty fast. The plan was to walk to Kiyomizudera temple then walk back to explore Gion after we finished touring the temple, which we thought would only take 2 hours max? But we were soooooooooo wrong! The moment we got out of the train station we were dead lost. We realised that the temple is not as near as what the map says. So, taking a bus became an option. But holy moly, the bus was too full and crowded for this big group of ours. We decided to take a toilet break first (yes very anti-climax) before considering the next plan. Then came the toilet shocker! After a long search, we finally found a public toilet that only had a squatting cubicle — nightmare for the entourage with an old lady with knee problem and a 6YO who has never used such a toilet before! Not forgetting a daddy who had to manage the 4 YO in the gents and he had no idea how to get her started on that. The toilet break took longer than expected. However, the break was a good one on hindsight! I decided to try my luck to use google to find out the taxi fare to Kiyomizudera from our location! And the day suddenly turned around! The taxi fare shouldn’t cost more than 2000 yen. So taxi we took!
The trip there showed us that we made a very very very very wise choice! The upslope to the main Higashiyama shopping street which is the route to the foot of kiyomizudera temple would have kill us all if we really walked! Not forgetting the climb to Kiyomizudera! We spent about 1000 yen on taxi fare and we were wowed by the crowd on a Wednesday. The Higashiyama shopping street was bustling! Our pockets were all ready to bleed. But we focused on our main objective and did the shopping later. Not before having some street food to boost some energy, of course!
Finally we made it to the foot of the upslope to Kiyomizudera. The scenery along the walk was so beautiful that we couldn’t resist more pictures.
Then we did the usual routine at Japanese temples.
Finally the moment that I personally have been waiting for — the famous Autumn colours of Kiyomizudera. Although some trees were showing signs of winter, the view was still breath-taking enough for me. One item ticked off the bucket list! (Now got to wait for the chance to return for the spring Sakura view)
Because of the crowd and our near fatigue, we did not linger long at the temple itself. We started the descend which included a pretty steep downslope. Then we saw a queue. One thing we learnt in Japan is if people queue for something, we should also queue. It turned out that they were queueing for blessings in the form of spring water. So, queue the daddy and kiddos did.
Then curiosity and pure tiredness brought us into one of the many tea houses along the way and we had one of the most memorable breaks of the trip — a traditional Kyoto sweets experience alfresco style in the midst of a hill! This would rank as one of the must-dos in Kyoto! The whole experience was so serene and refreshing. And of course we managed to rest our hardworking legs.
After close to 2 hours of temple tour, we proceeded with the mandatory shopping at Higashiyama. After a round of green tea and Kyoto crafts and snacks shopping, the Mr found an really secluded hideout during his toilet hunt. And we sampled the best warabi (Japanese mochi) and extremely delicious Kyoto sweets!!
Nishiki Market is pretty well known apparently. It is said to be the ‘kitchen of Kyoto’. Unfortunately we chose the wrong day to visit. Wednesday is the rest day for many shops. Thankfully, there were still some shops operating. Honestly, those were more than enough for us after a long day at Kiyomizudera. But this place definitely is worth visiting a second time.
So, there you have it! A very long entry on our day trip to Kyoto. Only two key places and we spent a full day in Kyoto. Hence, we shall be back again for the Gion Street and the imperial palace. Maybe we could also venture to nearby Arashiyama?
Till then Kyoto!