Welcome to Kyoto, a city with the perfect blend of traditional and modern Japanese culture.
Continuing on from Tokyo - our next stop was the beautiful Kyoto. Prior to our trip, we purchased a 7-day JR Pass which, was sent to us via mail. You can use this pass to reach specific places but, you wont be able to use them on all train lines as there are a variety of different train lines for local use. The JR Pass is definitely something you should look into if you'd rather travel by train than plane. We made sure that we booked our seats for our departure date as soon as we could - be sure to go to the train station to book early as a line forms quickly. We booked in for the 2pm slot from Tokyo to Kyoto which, took approximately 3 hours.
We traveled through Japan between the 28th of March and the 6th of April.
We stayed at the cutest little Airbnb called Hirabi Hostel which, is a traditional Japanese house converted into an accessible guesthouse. As our Japan trip was short, we only planned two nights for Kyoto. We wanted somewhere affordable and close to a train station so this was perfect - it was about a 10 minute walk to Tambaguchi Station which, is one stop from Kyoto Station and was roughly $210 per night. The accommodation had private rooms with a shared bathroom and toilet. The host was super friendly and welcoming as we checked-in and made sure we were settled in nicely. We stayed in the 'Superior Room with a Private Garden' which, had two seperate single beds and ample space. Although we had a great time staying here, we did run into two issues - firstly there were no towels provided and secondly, we experienced a noisy early Sunday morning which, they do mention is common as they are located next to the local markets but, they provided free earplugs to use which, solved that issue.
DAY 1: ARASHIYAMA
We spent our first day wandering through Arashiyama, one of the most popular sight-seeing spots in Kyoto. Only a 30-min train ride from Kyoto Station, Arashiyama is filled with the most beautiful parks and rivers, traditional temples, shops and eateries, a monkey park and of course - the famous bamboo forest. We really enjoyed the stunning scenery, including seeing all the men and women dressed in their beautiful kimonos but, it was very crowded as usual. For lunch, we stopped by a small cafe for stir fried noodles then, picked up a few sweets along the way including a strawberry mochi and a green tea soft serve from the Rilakkuma Honey Store. After visiting a few temples - we headed to % Arabica for coffee, only to find the longest queue ever (likely to be waiting for at least an hour) so we headed back to the city in search of their Higashiyama store.
IN SEARCH OF % ARABICA, HIGASHIYAMA
As we headed back to the city, we specifically made our way to % Arabica, located in Higashiyama. It took about 40 minutes to walk from Kyoto Station which, allowed us to admire the modern and traditional street architecture. When we finally arrived, there was a shorter line (about a 20 minutes) so, we hopped right in and finally enjoyed our first cups of coffee that day. After exploring the area which, included two more temples - we headed back and ended up having dinner at a little udon shop in Kyoto station.
DAY 2: WALDEN WOODS CAFE
We spent our morning at Walden Woods on our second day in Kyoto, then made our way to Fushimi Inari Taisha. We ordered coffee, a light snack each, and stayed for a while.
FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA
After coffee, we took a train down to Fushimi Inari Taisha. One of the most popular shrines in Kyoto, famous for its thousands of red vemilion torii gates that lead all the way up to Mount Inari. A return hike takes about two to three hours so, I would recommend wearing comfortable clothes/shoes and have your camera ready to capture all the beautiful sights. On the way out, we noticed that there were food stalls and picked up a few snacks. I had roasted rice cakes which, was delicious and we also ended up eating Mannaken waffles that we picked up at the train station, prior.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our Kyoto experience.