On the eleventh day, we visited Kyoto (京都), the former imperial capital of Japan. Kyoto has a population close to 1.5 million and it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.
We spend the majority of the time visiting various ancient shrines and other historical buildings. We did a lot of walking that day as a lot of these attractions are located in remote areas.
The first shrine we visited in the morning was the Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社). It is the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines.
We headed to Arashiyama (嵐山) after that, a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Arashiyama was a scenic area with rivers and mountains. It’s a pity we came here during winter and the cherry blossoms which it is famous for was not in bloom.
At Arashiyama, we crossed the “Moon Crossing Bridge” (渡月橋) and also walked through the Sagano bamboo forest.
We then visited another shrine, Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) which we did not go in as it requires an entrance fee and seems to involve lots of up slope climbing.
Hungry from all the walking, we had lunch in a small traditional-looking Japanese restaurant in the area. The food was pretty good, but the squatting tatami seats were a pain.
We went to more scenic sights and shrines after that. As it was drizzling, we did not pause much and were just briskly walking from one attraction to the next.
Mark persistently wanted to look for an attraction called the Philosopher’s Walk (哲学の道) which was recommended by his colleagues as a must-see in Kyoto for it’s beauty. We got lost looking for this place. This made the other three of us very pissed at Mark as our feet were sore from all the walking plus the rain made us wet and cold, upping the grumpy factor.
Eventually when we finally managed to find the place, it was a big disappointment as it was just a narrow path beside a tiny drain. Apparently, after looking at online photos, the area is most beautiful when there’s cherry blossoms. However, we came here in the middle of winter and saw only empty branches and a washed out canal. None of us got inspired after walking the Philosopher’s Walk.
The Philosopher’s Walk concluded our walking tour of remote shrines and scenic spots. We took a bus back to Kyoto Station after that and spent the rest of the day shopping.
The modern architecture of Kyoto Station was a far cry from the rustic beauty of the sightseeing spots in this imperial city. We visited a Tezuka Osamu specialty shop in the area where I bought an Astroboy tin can candy and a handphone strap.
We had ramen for dinner. Black and white soy ramen to be precise – served with black and white soy sauce respectively. The posters were very visually arresting, but the taste was average. We proceed to the supermarket after that to buy near-closing-time discounted food for supper. Since Mark said Kyoto is famous for their tofu, we bought a few types of tofu to try.
This ended our day tour of Kyoto. 🙂
Links to my previous blog entries on my Japan trip:
Day 1 – Kansai Airport, Hokkaido
Day 3 – Asahikawa, Asahiyama Zoo
Day 4 – Sledding, Shiroi Koibito, Crab Buffet
Day 5 – The 60th Sapporo Snow Festival
Day 6 – Staying with the Asai, Shōnan
Day 8 – Shibuya and Akihabara, Tokyo
Day 12 – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and Dotonbori
Day 13 – Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Mt. Rokko
Technorati Tags: alvinology goes to japan, japan travel, hua meiyen, mark tan, rachel chan, tokyo travel, kyoto travel, 京都, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area, 伏見稲荷大社, inari head shrine, fushimi inari taisha, fushimi-ku, 嵐山, arashiyama, inari amulets, japanese amulets, moon crossing bridge, sagano bamboo forest, 渡月橋, kyoto train station, tofu coroquette, Ōi River, oi river, japanese rickshaw, 清水寺, kiyomizu-dera, japanese soba, japanese crepe, japanese udon, japanese pancakes, 哲学の道, philosopher’s walk, tezuka osamu, astroboy, kimba the white lion, astroboy collectibles, astroboy snacks, blackjack, kyoto tower
I am extremely envious of your visit to the shop that is filled with all the Astorboy goodies!!!! Pls provide mw with more info of this particular city/area and how to get there!
I am a huge Astroboy fan!!!
p/s: And I can’t wait for the movie to e released later this year, though I would say the anime version is better than the CG movie. Hehh. :p
what a comprehensive overview of kyoto, great pics & its really interesting seeing what you did, we have just got back & i am missing it & longing to be back, love the astro boy pics too as we bought a great poster there
is the food same taste as singapore?