JAPAN 2015: Day 4 - Hello Kyoto! (Intro).
Thank goodness I got here on time. I planned on leaving my Arakawa hostel by 7.30AM but didn't manage to until 8.20AM—because I couldn't find the landlady. I had to power walk my way through the rush hour human traffic with my luggage—which thankfully wasn't much, as you can see above.
I was boarding the Nozomi N700 to Kyoto. 9.03AM and we were on the move.
Managed to grab myself a heated coffee while power walking earlier. Put it together with an onigiri, which I always have handy, and breakfast is served.
Tip: If you're traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto on a shinkansen, try and sit on the right side, because that's the side where you get to see Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, I didn't know this earlier and sat on the left.
How fast is the shinkansen? Let's just say I felt as if I was on a plane that's about to leave the ground. For 3 hours. Well, we did make a few stops so there were times that it had to slow down to a halt.. but you get the idea.
The train ride got me rather emotional, I was thanking Tokyo for its glory and beauty, at the same time zooming past different breathtaking sceneries. I compiled some shots I took in the shinkansen into a short video, here you go:
I was staying at a shared room from Airbnb, located right next to Philospher's Path. I got lucky with this booking! When I was looking for a place to stay in Kyoto 2 weeks before my trip, all hotels and even Airbnb are fully booked. I kept checking back everyday and one day, this little gem of a place appeared!
Settled in nicely, prepped a little and ready to explore Kyoto!
Since I just got here, decided to take it easy and just walk around the neighbourhood for a bit. Yup, no destination in mind.
There's something about Kyoto. Everything here looks neat, refined, muted (including the colours) and... zen. All the houses in the neighbourhood look like they're coordinated—not one stands out, but doesn't mean they're identical. And they all have awesomely-maintained gardens! I would say an OCD person might just love this place.
To further elaborate.. Sylke, a German traveller whom I met back in Tokyo, told me that Kyoto managed to get authorisation to alter the colour of their McDonalds simply because the signature bright red does not match their town's look and feel. They did this at least 10 years ago. So, I made it a point to look for a McDonalds, just to see it for myself:
Taken by my iPhone 5S, 100% no edit at all.
Another thing about Kyoto is that, if you're walking around at a cosy neighbourhood (like the one I was staying in), a wild shrine will appear 60% of the time, every time. Kyoto is after all, known for having "thousands of classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses." << right off Google
This one that I came across coincidentally is the Okazaki Shrine, which is believed to hold the god and goddess of easy childbirth.
I was the only person in the area—something that almost never happen in Tokyo, so I really took my own sweet time to capture some photos.
The next one I stumbled upon is the Okazaki Betsuin Temple, I think. I'm only remembering these names because I took photos of signboards as well, but they may be matched incorrectly.
I also came across several cemeteries, which were all equally beautiful but I didn't take any photos. So... here, take a couple more plant photos:
And finally, a photo of a dog resting in a house. Gosh I'm such a creep.
I'm going to stop here. This post is really just an intro to Kyoto, just to give you a feel of it. Next up, some main attractions in Kyoto such as Honen-in Temple, Philosopher's Path and Gion.
ALL JAPAN 2015 POSTS:
Day 0.5 - Getting There. And Tsukiji.
Day 1 - Ueno Park. “Hana Yori Dango”.
Day 1 - Sensoji. And an Adventure at Night.
Day 2 - All Things Ghibli (Museum).
What to do when you lose your JR Pass.
[SHORTS]: My First Airbnb Experience.
Day 4 - Hello Kyoto! (Intro).
Day 4 - Eastern and Downtown Kyoto.
Day 5 - Ryoanji and Kinkakuji.
Day 5 - Arashiyama and HORSE SASHIMI?
Day 6 - Fushimi Inari-taisha and Nishiki Market.
Day 7 - Gotta Catch 'Em All in Osaka (Pokemon Center) and Mint Bureau's Nighttime Sakuras.
Day 8 - Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
Day 9 - Universal Studios Japan.
Day 10 - Osaka Castle, Den Den Town, Dotonbori.
Day 11 - 10 Days Japan Itinerary (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka).