Alvinology goes to Japan - Day 11 of 14 - Alvinology

Alvinology goes to Japan – Day 11 of 14

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.

Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)
Rachel and I, still very fresh in the morning
Rachel and I, still very fresh in the morning
Majestic entrance
Majestic entrance
Alvinology goes to Japan - Day 11 of 14 - Alvinology
The first shrine we saw upon entrance to Fushimi Inari Taisha
Area map of the shrine
Area map of the shrine
Service counters
Service counters
Offerings for sale
Offerings for sale
The plates have pictures of bulls on them
The plates have pictures of bulls on them
Wishing sticks
Wishing sticks
Wishing sticks holder
Wishing sticks holder
One of the many small shrines within the Inari shrine
Ring the bell for blessings
Close-up of one the shrines roofing
Close-up of one the shrine’s roofing
A devotee praying
A devotee praying
More people praying
More people praying
Fox overlooking the devotees
Fox overlooking the devotees
There were many Torii like this in the shrine
There were many Torii like this in the shrine
Lots of fox statues at this head shrine
Lots of fox statues at this head shrine
Two fox statues
Two fox statues
Someone praying
Someone praying
Majestic fox statue
Majestic fox statue
Wishes are written on a cloth and tied into knots
Wishes are written on a cloth and tied into knots
Walking through a long stretch of Torii
Walking through a long stretch of Torii
Me strolling along
Me with Torii
Rachel with Torii
Rachel with Torii
Amulet for good health
Amulet for good health
Amulet for business prosperity
Amulet for business prosperity
Shrine sand
Shrine sand
Amulet for safe travels
Amulet for safe travels
Amulet for romance
Amulet for romance
Fox-shaped wishing plates
Fox-shaped wishing plates
The place to hang the fox plates
The place to hang the fox plates
You can ring the bell for blessing after hanging the plates
You can ring the bell for blessing after hanging the plates
Some people just draw funny stuff and hang them up
Some people just draw funny stuff and hang them up
Stone pillars
Stone pillars
Entrance on the left, exit on the right
Entrance on the left, exit on the right
Engravings on the Torii stating who donated them and the date donated
Engravings on the Torii stating who donated them and the date donated
I think one of the scene in the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, was shot here
I think one of the scene in the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, was shot here
Rachel pretending to be Zhang Ziyi in Memoirs of a Geisha
Rachel pretending to be Zhang Ziyi in Memoirs of a Geisha
Close-up of the lanterns that lit up the Torii
Close-up of the lanterns that lit up the Torii

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.

Spotted a taxi driver practising his golf moves while waiting for passengers
Spotted a taxi driver practising his golf moves while waiting for passengers
Even the train station in Kyoto is designed to blend in with the areas ancient architecture
Unique train station design
We like this Kirin milk tea
We like this Kirin milk tea
Yummy tofu coroquette
Yummy tofu coroquette
Some barbeque food
Some barbeque food
A shrine entrance
A shrine entrance
Sweet plum and green tea flavour soft-serve
Sweet plum and green tea flavour soft-serve
Rachel enjoying a soft-serve
Rachel enjoying a soft-serve
There are many stalls like this selling mochi
There are many stalls like this selling mochi
Rachel with the kimono mochi girl
Rachel with the kimono mochi girl
Kyoto gift snacks that I bought for my aunt
Kyoto gift snacks that I bought for my aunt
Shop selling traditional Japanese hand-made fans
Shop selling traditional Japanese hand-made fans
A roadside stall selling giant turnips
A roadside stall selling giant turnips
Good doggie
Good doggie
Ōi River
Ōi River
Mountain facing view
Mountain facing view
A shot showing more of the surrounding mountains
A shot showing more of the surrounding mountains
Moon Crossing Bridge
Moon Crossing Bridge
Rickshaws for hire
Rickshaws for hire
Oi River
Oi River
Rachel and I on the bridge
Rachel and I on the bridge
Glittering water plain
Glittering water plain
Screening retro Japanese movies
Screening retro Japanese movies
A rickshaw that zipped past us
A rickshaw that zipped past us
A family of little Buddha statues
A family of little Buddha statues
The street of Arashiyama
The street of Arashiyama
A tofu specialty stall
A tofu specialty stall
Auntie selling baked tapioca
Baked tapioca and assorted tofu
Sagano bamboo forest
Sagano bamboo forest
Stolling in the bamboo forest
Stolling in the bamboo forest
Ricksaw spotted in the bamboo forest
Ricksaw spotted in the bamboo forest
Graveyard tucked in the bamboo forest
Graveyard tucked in the bamboo forest
A shrine located inside the bamboo forest
A shrine located inside the 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.

Many tourists and Japanese alike were shrine visiting like us
Many tourists and Japanese alike were shrine visiting like us
Interesting snack store
Interesting snack store
The signboard
The signboard
Conan biscuits
Conan biscuits
Stall selling buns
Stall selling buns
Scary masks
Scary masks
Novelty condoms
Novelty condoms
Funny joke glasses
Funny joke glasses
Sushi-shaped candies
Sushi-shaped candies
Restaurant interior
Restaurant interior
Lunch time!
Lunch time!
Rachels lunch: a serving of three different types of soba (buckwheat noodle)
Rachel’s lunch: a serving of three different types of soba (buckwheat noodle)
Soba type 1
Soba type 1
Soba type 2
Soba type 2
Soba type 3
Soba type 3
My lunch
My lunch
My udon
Close-up of my udon
Close-up of the rice, served with small salted fish
Close-up of the rice, served with small salted fish
Rachel tucking into her lunch
Rachel tucking into her lunch
Mark ordered a large set for himself while Meiyen just sit and watch him eat
Mark ordered a large set for himself while Meiyen just sit and watch him eat
My lunch set  with udon and rice
Mark’s tempura soba set with rice
The restaurant has a nice little balcony filled with greens
The restaurant has a nice little balcony filled with greens
Signboard of the restaurant where we had lunch
Signboard of the restaurant where we had lunch
Meiyen bought a crepe from here for lunch
Meiyen bought a crepe from here for lunch
Making Meiyens crepe
Making Meiyen’s crepe
Meiyen with her crepe
Meiyen with her crepe
Japanese pancakes
Japanese pancakes
Another pancake stall
Another pancake stall
Hand-made mochi with filling
Hand-made mochi with filling
This shrine is very popular
This shrine is very popular
Rachel alone
Rachel alone
Rachel and I
Rachel and I
Ladies in kimono making their way up the shrines
Ladies in kimono making their way up the shrines
Red shrines
Red shrines
Devotees cleansing themselves before praying
Devotees cleansing themselves before praying
A signboard
A signboard
Rachel enjoying the scenery
Rachel enjoying the scenery
We just took a peek at this shrine and did not venture further
We just took a peek at this shrine and did not venture further
Mouse plates for making wishes
Mouse plates for making wishes
Black sesame soft-serve
Black sesame soft-serve
Rachel enjoying her second soft-serve for the day
Rachel enjoying her second soft-serve for the day
A small lake
A small pond
There were ducks like this wandering around the river
There were ducks like this wandering around the pond
Full body view of the duck
Full body view of the duck
Another duck
Another duck
View of the pond from another angle
View of the pond from another angle
A wider view of the pond
The whole pond area
We spotted a few
We spotted limited sakura blossoms
Rachel with the white duck
Rachel with the white duck
The surrounding park
The surrounding park
The sky is starting to get dark. Its going to rain soon.
The sky is starting to get dark. It’s going to rain soon.
Fat crows
Fat crows

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.

One of the many shrines we walked past
One of the many shrines we walked past
Another large shrine we past
Another large shrine we past
We never go in, but can pose for picture
We never go in, but can pose for picture
A house that specialises in making ghost masks and figurines
A house that specialises in making ghost masks and figurines
Close-up of one of the ghost figurines
Close-up of one of the ghost figurines
Creepy old house that looks haunted
Creepy old house that looks haunted
A statue seen outside a library
A statue seen outside a library
Shiny umbrella
Shiny umbrella
Geishas getting dressed
Geishas getting dressed
Check out the retro-looking streets
Check out the retro-looking streets
There were also lots of old houses like this in Kyoto
There were also lots of old houses like this in Kyoto
More old houses
More old houses
Close-up of the building
Close-up of the tall building
Elcletic mix of new and old
Elcletic mix of new and old
Hunting shop
Hunting shop
We finally found the Philosophers Walk
We finally found the Philosopher’s Walk
Entrance to Philosophers Walk
Entrance to Philosopher’s Walk
The house
Stone house with mouse plate offerings
Mini cherry blossoms at the Philosophers Walk
Mini cherry blossoms at the Philosopher’s Walk
The canal for philosophers to gaze at when they need inspiration
The canal for philosophers to gaze at when they need inspiration
More shrines! We did not venture further anymore as we were too tired
More shrines! We did not venture further anymore as we were too tired

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. 🙂

modernistic Kyoto Station
modernistic Kyoto Station
Kyoto Tower in the day
Kyoto Tower in the day
Directional installation to Tezuka Osamu gallery
Directional installation to Tezuka Osamu gallery
Tezuka Osamu gallery showcase
Tezuka Osamu gallery showcase
Astroboy welcomes all
Astroboy welcomes all
Astroboy bag
Astroboy bag
Me being childish
Me being childish
Close-up of the Astroboy figurine
Close-up of the Astroboy figurine
Rachel and I fooling around
Rachel and I fooling around
Astroboy handkerchieves
Astroboy handkerchiefs
Astroboy biscuits
Astroboy biscuits
Vintage Astroboy toys
Vintage Astroboy toys
Blackjack Valentines Day collectibles
Blackjack Valentine’s Day collectibles
Astroboy pancakes
Astroboy pancakes
More Astroboy snacks
More Astroboy snacks
Original Tezuka Osamu anime cells
Original Tezuka Osamu artworks
Paper Astroboy
Paper Astroboy
Kimba the White Lion
Kimba the White Lion
Various anime and manga by Tezuka Osamu
Various anime and manga by Tezuka Osamu
Astroboy mochi
Astroboy mochi
Astroboy tin can sweets - I bought the one on the right in the end
Astroboy tin can sweets – I bought the one on the right in the end
Mural of Astroboy and his sister
Mural of Astroboy and his sister
An interesting Astroboy card
An interesting Astroboy card
The cashier
The cashier
I bought this handphone strap
I bought this handphone strap
Me with Tezuka Osamu created anime and manga characters as backdrop
Me with Tezuka Osamu created anime and manga characters as backdrop
The backdrop without me blocking some of the characters
The backdrop without me blocking some of the characters
The Kyoto Tower at night
The Kyoto Tower at night
Closer look at just the Kyoto Tower
Closer look at just the Kyoto Tower
We had ramen for dinner in this restaurant
We had ramen for dinner in this restaurant
The restaurants signboard
The restaurant’s signboard
The ramen chefs
The ramen chefs
Our dinner: Black and white shio ramen
Our dinner: Black and white soy ramen
We were drawn into this restaurant by their poster
We were drawn into this restaurant by their poster
Marks black shio ramen with extra char siew and an egg
Mark’s black soy ramen with extra char siew and an egg
Rachel bought a cream-filled pancake
Rachel bought a cream-filled pancake
The pancake stall which Rachel bought from
The pancake stall which Rachel bought from
Staff will stand by the window shutters as the shopping malls close for the night
Staff will stand by the window shutters as the shopping malls close for the night
Our supper
Our supper

Links to my previous blog entries on my Japan  trip:

Day 1 – Kansai Airport, Hokkaido

Day 2 – Skiing, Otaru

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 7 – Ueno, Tokyo

Day 8 – Shibuya and Akihabara, Tokyo

Day 9 – Ikeda, Osaka

Day 10 – Kobe

Day 11 – Kyoto

Day 12 – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and Dotonbori

Day 13 – Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Mt. Rokko

Day 14 – Return to Singapore

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

5 comments
  1. 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

  2. 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

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