Japan, Day 2: Kimono Rental

I was really looking forward to wearing a kimono since that is part of my bucket list. Despite previous trips in Japan, it was not a top of mind activity due to the extreme cold weather (winter and early spring).

One of the popular kimono rental shops in Kyoto is wargo and I chose their branch in Gion as they have a bigger selection of kimono designs and it was the area where I wanted to go around while in kimono.

Japan, Day 2: Yasaka Shrine (revisit)

Highlight of the afternoon in Kyoto was wearing kimono but since I arrived an hour earlier than expected, I decided to visit Yasaka-jinja (again).

I was surprised to see that there were still food stalls even if there was no festival or illumination night. The stalls were fewer though compared to our visit in 2017 when there was Higashiyama Hanatouro.

Japan, Day 2: Kyoto Station

I rode the train going back to Kyoto Station and from there, I was supposed to take the bus to Kiyomizudera but lo and behold, the line for that bus stop was so looooong. So bye to that idea!

I was curious what I could find at the topmost floor of Kyoto Station so I took all escalators going up.

Japan, Day 2: Tenryu-ji (revisit)

While planning the Kansai Region trip last year, I read that this temple is at its best during spring and autumn so my expectations were high… and it did not disappoint! Even at the parking area, people were already having their pictures taken.

I bought the ticket for both main hall and garden (¥800) entrance passes, with the temple being my first order of business. No shoes allowed, by the way!

Japan, Day 2: Togetsukyo Bridge (revisit)

Good thing the rain stopped after finishing breakfast so I got to enjoy the view at Togetsukyo Bridge.

While it was a gloomy weather, that didn’t stop me from feeling happy because of the autumn colors. During my 2017 visit, the trees were either green or bare since it was still early spring.

Japan, Day 2: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (revisit)

I wanted to visit Arashiyama again without a crowd so we got the earliest Shinkansen from Nagoya i.e., the Nozomi line at 06:20.

It was good that it wasn’t too crowded yet so there was still some semblance of tranquility despite tourists talking to each other. There was some drizzle but not enough to get us soaked.

Japan, Day 5: Kyoto >> Osaka

Our first stop for our last day in Kyoto was KINKAKU-JI (UNESCO) – also known as the “Golden Pavilion”. It is one of the famous Zen temples which has its top 2 floors covered in gold leaf. This golden structure overlooks a pond, which is a real sight to see.

Near the exit, there is a spot where one can write in an ema but what we did was light candles. There was a variety of candles depending on which one you want to wish for – career, health, and safety among others.

Japan, Day 4: Kyoto (Central & Downtown)

We started our 4th day in Kyoto a bit later than the previous days since our first stop was just a few minutes away (walk) from our Airbnb – NIJO CASTLE (UNESCO)!

While walking along one side of the Nijo Castle, we realized how huge the castle ground was since it took us a few minutes to finish walking just one side. The huge stone walls looked imposing and surrounded by moat. At the time of our visit, the original entrance gate was under renovation so the entry point to the castle was different.

Japan, Day 3: Kyoto (Fushimi, N. Higashiyama)

Another early start for us since our first stop for our 3rd day in Kyoto was in FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA and we wanted to avoid the crowd. The place is well-known for its senbon torii (thousands of torii) spread across an entire mountain. The whole hike usually takes 2-3 hours according to those who have already experienced doing it. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, with foxes as the messengers.

Japan, Day 2: Kyoto (Arashiyama)

We started our 2nd day in Kyoto quite early since our goal was to get to the famous bamboo grove without the big crowd yet.

I finally understood what people meant when they said that photographs were not enough to do justice on how ethereal and beautiful SAGANO BAMBOO GROVE is. Highly recommend to go here really early! Aside from us, there was just a tourist couple so we managed to get good pictures of the place. The place was also quiet which made it perfect for a bit of reflection and relaxation time.