Kyoto: My Favorite City

Travel Period: November 2016

 

Kyoto is one of my favorite places ever! It’s such a beautiful ancient city. Kyoto’s most picturesque sites are the numerous temples and shrines showcasing Japan’s rich traditions and culture, which I think were carefully preserved amidst its fast modernization.

This year, I got the chance to come back and experience autumn season in Kyoto. As expected, it was very crowded, but definitely worth it! Regardless of the season though, below is a summary of my favorite places to visit while in Kyoto.


Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion)

This is one of the most visited and iconic attractions in Kyoto. I mean, who would not marvel at the exquisite beauty of this golden covered temple. It’s especially nice to go there on a sunny day as the reflection of the golden temple on the pond is such an impressive sight. The only thing though is that it’s almost always jam-packed so better plan your trip and be there early. The temple is open from 9AM to 5PM and entrance free is 400 Yen.

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How to get there:

  • Take the train until Kyoto Station.
  • Go to the bus stops outside the train station building and take the Kyoto City Bus No. 205 at Bus Stop No. B3.
  • Alight at Kinkakuji Michi bus stop.
  • Bus fare costs 230 Yen.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Walking the path of the bamboo grove feels like entering an enchanted forest, it just feels magical and so relaxing! Looking up, you will see the towering and thick lush green bamboo stalks that are absolutely beautiful against the bright sky, and their swinging in the wind creates peaceful and soothing music.

One day, I also want to come back here wearing my kimono or yukata. I think it just makes the whole bamboo forest experience even more fascinating! Plus, I look forward to also see the bamboo forest illumination next time.

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How to get there:

  • Take the Kyoto City Bus No. 93 and alight at the Nonomiya Bus Stop.
  • No entrance fee.

Arashiyama Togetsukyo Bridge

The Togetsukyo bridge is a must see especially during fall season, when the Arashiyama (mountain) as backdrop changes into autumn colors looking like a painting. It’s a breathtaking scenery!

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How to get there:

The bridge can be reached by foot (around 5 mins) from the bamboo grove.


Gion

I’ve come to known Gion as a famous geisha district of Kyoto, but funny, because I haven’t really seen one in the few times that I’ve been here. Haha! Still, it’s a very interesting place to see especially with the beautiful line-up of traditional wooden houses called “machiya” in Japan.

There are two popular spots to visit in Gion: the Hanami-Koji Street and the Shirakawa area, both are interesting, though I personally prefer the Shirakawa Area since it has this lovely Shirakawa Canal and it is less crowded. These places are worth visiting both at day and night time.

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The Shirakawa Canal (autumn season)

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How to get there:

Take the Kyoto City Bus No. 203 and alight at the Gion Bus Stop.


Fushimi Inari Shrine

If you’ve seen the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” then you probably know this place. The seemingly unending path of thousands of bright orange torri gates attracts many tourists, photographers and hikers headed to the Mount Inari.

So I learned that the torri gates have been donated by numerous businesses and enterprises as a form of thanksgiving and for hopes of prosperity. This is why taking a closer look at the torri gates, you’ll notice the names of businesses and enterprises engraved like beautiful artworks.

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entrance of the Fushimi Inari (at night)

How to get there:

Take the train to Fushimi Inari Station of the Keihan line.


Kiyomizudera

This is one of the most popular and photographed temples in Kyoto that is uniquely situated on a high wooden stage, which gives you a beautiful view especially during autumn and spring season. The temple is especially stunning during night illuminations, which is recommended for fall foliage viewing. Entrance to the temple is 400 Yen.

Before reaching the temple, you can take the Higashiyama district to enjoy walking through the steep and busy streets of local shops and restaurants.

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How to get there:

Take the Kyoto City Bus and alight at the Kiyozu-michi bus stop. From there, take the straight uphill path going to the shops until reaching the temple.


Uji City

If you are a certified matcha and green tea lover, a trip to Kyoto would not be complete without a day tour at Uji City . It is famous all over Japan for its high quality green tea and matcha products.

Not only is Uji famous for its green tea and matcha, but it is also rich in historical landmarks and treasures, such as the Byodo-In Temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site; the Tale of Genji, which is a famous Japanese literary masterpiece; and the Koshiji Temple, etc. This makes a day tour of Uji City perfect for green tea and matcha products shopping and food trip, as well as for a cultural walk.

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The Byodo-In Temple
Matcha products of Uji City

How to get there:

Take the train until JR Uji Station or Keihan Uji Station. Better to take the Keihan Uji Station, which is closer to the Uji Bridge and Omotesando Street, heading towards the Byodo-In Temple.


Going around Kyoto using City buses

Most of the major tourist attractions of Kyoto can be reached via the Kyoto City buses. So for convenience, you can purchase a “Kyoto City Bus and Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass” worth 500 Yen, which provides unlimited access/ride to the city buses plying around Kyoto. The pass can be purchased at the Kyoto Tourist Information Center  at the 2nd floor of the Kyoto Station building.

For more information about the pass, check out the links below:

 

#kyoto #kinkakuji #arashiyama #arashiyamabamboogrove #togetsukyobridge #gion #fushimiinari #kiyomizudera

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5 thoughts on “Kyoto: My Favorite City

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        1. That’s so true! For example, the Kinkakuji is so beautiful during winter when the golden temple is covered in snow!!! That also makes Kyoto very special, it’s really stunning regardless of season. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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