Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Kyoto and Nara 2-Day Itinerary: Day One

Read Day 1 here - Kyoto: Kiyomizudera Temple, Nishiki Market, Ginkakuji
Read Day 2 here - Nara: Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, Kofuji Temple

We started off the day heading to Kyoto Station (京都). It was a Sunday and there were many tourists by 10am at the station. The first time I went to Kyoto I didn't see these booths but this time there were people dressed in the tourism board's vests giving information and selling the bus day pass. The day pass is 500 yen and allows unlimited bus rides in the city that pretty much go to all the popular landmarks except for Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社).

Kiyomizudera
After getting our day pass, we took the bus to Kiyomizudera (清水寺). It is a very popular temple and there were crowds of tourists and high school student groups. Unfortunately one of the halls were under construction so we didn't get to see that.

School group at Kiyamizudera
Most people crowd at the platform to see the temple but if you continue walking a bit further (in a downhill direction) there is a much quieter and great spot to see the temple in full view. If you continue walking down the stairs, you will reach the spot where you hiked up the stairs to buy the entrance tickets in the first place.

Alternative view of Kiyamizudera
We took the bus to Gion (祇園) to eat okonomiyaki lunch at Issen Yoshoku (壹銭洋食). There is only one item on the food menu, their okonomiyaki. Life size female mannequins in yukata sit at your table and "dine" with you which could be funny or creepy depending on your humour.

Next we walked to the Nishiki Market (錦市場) which is boasted online as being a great place to buy souvenirs. We didn't buy souvenirs but we tried some snacks such as a baby octopus stuffed with a quail egg inside to hold up its round, plump shape.

Snacks at Nishiki Market
We took the bus to Ginkakuji (銀閣寺) which I expected to be silver in colour due to the kanji name since Kinkakuji (金閣寺) is actually gold in colour. The temple turned out to be just wood but there was a pleasant garden surrounding it. I enjoyed walking around this garden more than the Kinkakuji one due to the smaller crowd but the latter's temple is definitely much more impressive looking.

Ramen dinner
After a simple dinner at a ramen shop we went shopping at Teramachi Shopping Arcade (寺町通) and called it a day. Continue reading Day 2 when we go to Nara and Rinkutown Outlet in Osaka!

Read Day 1 here - Kyoto: Kiyomizudera Temple, Nishiki Market, Ginkakuji
Read Day 2 here - Nara: Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, Kofuji Temple
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