Kyoto is by far one of my favourite cities to be in Japan. We also checked out Nara and Osaka!
Day 1: We finally made it to Kyoto! We struggled to get to the hostel because the handle on Conrad’s luggage broke… quite annoying. We first stayed at K’s Hostel and then moved to Piece Hostel for the remainder of our Kyoto trip. For our first night, we decided to treat ourselves! We found a not too expensive izakaya called Apollo to celebrate our trip together. Food was amazing! Our waitress/bartender/salad maker had pretty awesome English and was very helpful! At the end of our meal, we ordered a dessert sampler… it was so so so delicious. Conrad is in love with frozen pudding.
Day 2: We went to check out the Fushimi Inari Shrine (go check out the anime/manga!), beautiful place with thousands of red torii gates all lined up so you can walk through it. We had a mini hike around the area. Would love to come back again! Of course, we checked out other temples on the way. There’s just so much, by the end of the trip, we were “templed” out.
Day 3: we packed our luggages and head to Piece Hostel. We couldn’t check into our room until late so we rented a bike to go to the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama. It was an 2+ hours bike ride but we felt amazing! As we were riding along the river, I had AKB’s Kachuusha playing in my head… The weather was a bit windy, so we spotted kites flying in one of the park along the way. Once we got there, we got some yummy lunch and went on our way to see some bamboos! To be honest, it’s nothing exciting. You can’t walk into the bamboos and there’s way too many people on the path. Basically, there’s actually not THAT much bamboos. It’s like these people never seen bamboos in their lives. Regardless, we still have a fun walking around the area. There were many shrines along the way, I think we lost count of how many there were, nor care if they make a difference. However, we contemplated whether or not we should go into Tenryuji Temple. We didn’t want to spend anymore money on temples… but we did. This temple is ranked as the city’s five great Zen temples. The garden was beautiful, and it would be a crime not to check it out. Some part of the temple was renovating which sucks. (I don’t know what else I can say… haha) Afterwards, we head back to our hostels, watched the Canadian win gold in the winter Olympic!
Day 4: We met up with Dave and Tracey at their hostel and did a temple biking tour. We biked by the Chionin Temple, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kiyomizudera Temple, Ginkakuji (I called it a phoney, because it’s not even covered in silver), Higashiyama district (old, historical), Kinkakuji (we manage to get in before it closed! We also drank beer inside which I think it’s a no-no), walked along the Philosopher’s path and gained some wisdom. We also walked through a dark chamber at one of the temples on the way and was rebirth. It was quite an experience, it’s scary to be in the dark with your eyes open. Half way through, you can to see a “floating” stone where you would make a wish. Conrad couldn’t help himself and took a picture.
Day 5: We met up with Dave and Tracey again and went to Nara for the day. I just wanted to see and feed some deers. They’re pretty aggressive and will chase you down for food! We checked out Todaiji Temple known as the world’s largest wooden structure and huge buddha that is housed inside. We trained back to Kyoto and struggled to find a good parfait place. We found a place called Lipton but it has horrible service and required everyone to make an order but everything is out of stock… horrible place!
Day 6: chilled day? We had dinner at Restaurant Star, a Japanese Western styled restaurant that’s been around since 1925. Our highlight that day was to start our parfait 90x diet.
Day 7: Osaka time! Since we had the JR Pass, it was so easy to hop on the shinkansen to get to Osaka. I say around 20min? It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from having fun! Our first stop was Osaka Aquarium! We met one of the main attraction: the whale shark. Ofcourse, and some other mammals like sea otters, seals, penguins… etc. After, we walked all the way from the aquarium to downtown Osaka to eat some yummy okonomiyaki, takoyaki and to see the running Glico man! It actually took us a while to find him haha!
Day 8: Last day in Kyoto, what should we do? We spend the late morning wandering around Gion. I found an amazing kyoto style parfait there. For dinner, we had an amazing super thick cut Tonkatsu set dinner at a restaurant in the Kyoto station. Our waitress was so adorable! I almost couldn’t finish our food!