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

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,