While Tokyo is all about modern day consumerism and commercialisation, Kyoto is the place to be to go back to ancient times and discover the historical story behind the country. Kyoto used to be the country’s capital before Tokyo, meaning many of its important imperial buildings were located here and are pretty much still in tact for tourism. Including tons and I mean TONS of temples and shrines.
Kinkaku-ji – Golden pavillion
Entrance of Kiyomizu-dera
View from the Kiyomizu-dera
Famous love stone
According to sources: the story behind the love stone is that there are these 2 stones within a certain distance of eachother. You start at one stone and close you eyes and try to reach the other stone. If you happen to reach the other stone, your wish for true love will come true. And as many Asians in general are superstitious, these 2 girls in kimono tried it too and….. well, sadly she didn’t make it.
“3 legged” ninja tanuki
Funny story about this tanuki ninja statue, my buddy Greg and I were walking back from one of the temples and I saw this statue in one of the shops. He asked me “Oh? Why does he have 3 feet?”, after closely examining the statue we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t in fact a “third foot”…..
The conveyer belt sushi experience
Conveyer belt sushi restaurant
It took me about 10 days in Japan before actually trying my first sushi, but boy was it worth the wait. I don’t think this is my first conveyer belt sushi place I tried, but oh-my-sweet-jesus-god it was good. They had some of the best sushi that I ever tried. I don’t always go all out when eating but this time I didn’t care. Not that it was over expensive for Japanese standards but this was well worth the money. Be sure to try it out in Kyoto!
The aftermath… mine on the right, Greg’s on the left
Best.Green.Tea.Dessert.E-ver. Green tea mouse, jelly, ice cream…..
Mystical bamboo forest in Arashiyama
The Arashiyama area mainly famous for its bamboo groves, it’s also called the Sagano bamboo forest. You can take a nice stroll through the immensely high bamboos surrounding you and enjoy one of the most famous sceneries in Japan.
Iwatayama monkey park
Iwatayama monkey park
This monkey park in Iwatayama was sooooooooooo cool! I freakin’ love monkeys! It was a short hike from the bottom of the mountain to visit the monkeys up at the top. You can buy some food in the little hut at the top and feed the monkeys.
View from the Iwatayama monkey park
Fushimi Inari – Torii gate mountain
Fushimi Inari-Taisha at sunset
Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine of Inari, which sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines. But these are not just any trails, along the way to the top of the mountain, the path is surrounded by tons and tons of torii gates, each and any one of them with different writings on them and numbered all the way to the top. Just like the bamboo forest in Arashiyama, I would say that visiting the Fushimi Inari is one of the most scenic visits and attractions in Japan.
Torii gates just keep going on and on
Writings on the torii gates
The mountain is actually accessible 24 hours a day. We arrived at the base of the mountain right at sunset, making our way through the “creepy” and dim-litted torii gates. It might have been better to visit the mountain during day time but since we were on a tight schedule, we didn’t want to leave Kyoto without experiencing the adventure of walking through here at night. It would’ve been a perfect location for a horror movie and something with spirits…
Alex Yip is a web enthusiast who put his online marketing career on hold to travel around the world for a year. This blog is his virtual journal and logbook to keep people updated on his backpacking adventures on the road.