See my previous post Japanese Excursion - Part 1 for details on trip preparation and my experience at our first stop, Tokyo!
Following a jam-packed time in Tokyo, we took the Japan Rail to Kyoto - it is ON TIME and it is FAST.
Upon arrival we secured our luggage in the coin lockers at Kyoto Station. How many times have you arrived early to a place and not had a secure place to store your luggage? Why isn't America like this?? ANYWAY, for lunch - conveyor belt sushi! I have to say, this is a super-smart idea - you're much more enticed to take food that's already prepped and presented to your face with seemingly no strings attached. Let me find out this exists here in America....
Day 1 in Kyoto
When you think of Kyoto, blazing red-orange temples and shrines may come to mind. Keep reading, and you'll either fall in love with or never want to see the color again!
This "Pure Water Temple" is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Japan. The beauty speaks for itself. At the end, we purified our hands in the same manner that we did at the shrine in Tokyo. Here, you can also purchase charms for love, wealth, health, luck, you name it, as thoughtful trinkets. On the road up is also where I purchased a majority of my souvenirs for my peeps back home.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Not far from Kyomizu-dera is Kyoto's most important Shinto shrine, Fushimi Inari Taisha, at the base of Mount Inari. At the very back of the shrine's main grounds is the entrance to the torii gate-covered hiking trail, which starts with two dense, parallel rows of gates called Senbon Torii ("thousands of torii gates"). The torii gates along the entire trail are donations by individuals and companies, and you will find the donator's name and the date of the donation inscribed on the back of each gate.
Day 2 in Kyoto
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Outside of Kyoto - breathtaking, just go! Japan Rail will take you there.
At some point, we just happen upon a cat café!!!! For anyone who knows me, I don't even have to voice my enthusiasm (but see, I did anyway). It certainly pays to travel to Japan with fellow cat-lovers! While these are gaining popularity in NYC, I've had yet to visit one here. I'm glad that my first experience was in the birthplace of it all!
Quick trip to Nara
From Kyoto, we took the rail to Nara, the city of deer - where humans and deer peacefully coexist! We were approached by a deer that demanded food - I had never heard a deer noise before then...I was actually more scared of him than he was(n't) of me! Sadly, we had no food, but it was such a beautiful experience!
And those are my Kyoto highlights. Kyoto was a great contrast to Tokyo and presented the more traditional side of Japan. We continued our journey in Hakone. Stay tuned for that! And for more pictures from this trip, visit my Japanese Excursion album!
Questions on Kyoto? How do you feel about orange now? ;) Leave a comment!