We went to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara in 5 days. We were on the go most of the time, which is fine with me since I really don't like to "take my time" when I am traveling. I like to see as much as I can with the time that I am given. Lucky for me that my mom came on this trip too, so when Liam needs to go to bed early she stayed in the hotel and watched him for us. Parts of the trip felt rushed, like trying to catch the bus leaving for Tokyo from the airport (we were so lucky we made it 2 seconds before it pulled out of the bus terminal!), but overall it was a fun, fun, fun trip.
Anyways, why do I like Japan SO MUCH? Just look at the pictures below (they are a mix of my iphone pics and my DSLR pics) and you'll know! Seriously, if you have a chance to travel to Asia, go to Japan! I divided the pictures into sections with subheadings that tell you where those places are.
This post is about Kyoto. I'll blog about Nara in the next post and Tokyo in the one after.
If you go to Kyoto, you have to visit Arashiyama. We went there twice. Once on a rainy day and once on a beautiful evening. There are a lot of things to do there: shopping, mochi testing, dining, bamboo forest, Ten Ryu Ji temple, row-boating, and snow monkey viewing. Just strolling down the alleys and looking at souvenirs can take a long time because there are so many shops there! But you can also just walk over the bridge and appreciate the green and misty mountains, river, and forests. It was a beautiful, beautiful place!
Other than Arashiyama, you should also visit the Geisha street to see if you can see some geisha! We didn't see any real ones because they are like semi-celebrity and so it is not that easy to see one. But you can always dress up as one, which I didn't do because it is way over my budget ($400 with a photo shoot and all).
Oh, you'll see LOTS of temples in Kyoto--buddhist or shinto temples. I love shinto temples cause you have to clean your hands and mouth before you enter. When you get inside the temples you can pull on the rope hanging from the ceiling to call on the gods and clap your hands and bow to pray. It was such a unique experience!
We had the BEST ramen when we were in Kyoto. Wow, wow, wow! So flavorful and so FATTENING! You can see the pork fat floating on your soup...it's THE best! Of all the ramen I have tried (I've only had shoyu, miso, seafood, tonkatsu, and chasiu) tonkatsu ramen is the tastiest! Apart from ramen, Japanese rice is TASTY! I grow up eating rice everyday and I've never really commented on how tasty white rice can be because I never thought of it as being tasty (it is plain!), but the Japanese rice...I can just eat the white rice and be happy. Every single grain is FAT and round and full...not long and dry. *insert I'm-so-touched-by-how-tasty-the-white-rice-is-I-am-crying face*
Another thing that I really liked about going to Kyoto was that we got to ride on the fastest train in the world, the bullet train (Shinkansen). It glides so smoothly on the rail and it is noiseless...and fast! When the train conductors came into our coach to check our tickets, they bowed and said a bunch of stuff we couldn't understand (probably just greetings and sorry for interrupting your nap/lunch or whatever) and when they left they bowed and said a bunch of other stuff too. They are so polite! I just LOVE that! *oh my gosh...the more I talk about it the more I want to go back to Japan!*
Kyoto City: Gion area
|They have a cigarette vending machine? Sweet! No that I smoke...but it is SO convenient for smokers, you gotta admit!|
|strolling in an alleyway behind all the restaurants|
|restaurants by the river|
|Um...no.1 reason to love Japan is right here!|
|I FINALLY get to try one! Yum!!! Red beans!|
|So this is where you're supposed to be spot geishas, but we didn't.|
|those are not real geishas. Just tourists dressing up like one.|
|I love traditional looking restaurants like this!|
|A bonzai tree growing out of the balcony|
|this is seriously so cool!|
|just a picture of Japanese kids waiting for the bus for school|
Arashiyama: Ten-Ryu-Ji temple and the Arashiyama bamnoo forest
|Zen garden at Ten-ryu ji|
|just in time for the hydrangae blooms. Liam's umbrella and stroller matched!|
|these can be found almost everywhere...but you'll probably see them most at the temples. You can keep them and carry them around to protect you, keep you healthy, or help you succeed in school.|
|Rainy day in arashiyama|
|it's only fitting to see koi fish at a zen garden, right?|
|it was hydrangae season in Japan|
|blue flowers are so cool!|
|someone insisted on carrying his own umbrella|
|the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest.|
|you can pray for love here|
|I have a soft spot for moss covered ground|
|my first ever rickshaw ride. it is freaking expensive! $40 for 10 minutes. But I had to try it!|
|our rickshaw puller is only 20 years old and very cute!|
|japanese candies. i think they are called wagashi.|
Kyoto: Ginkaku-ji Golden Temple
|My gaijin husband was stopped by a bunch of school kids and had a short interview in the rain.|
|while waiting for the bus...had to entertain him somehow.|
|I think you pull on the rope to invoke the gods or something. we had no idea what we were doing.|
|breakfast at Sukiya. oiishi!!|
|most people probably don't like to eat meat for breakfast but if i can have this every morning i can die happy. (beef and eel on rice)|
Kyoto: Fushimi shrine
|Our heavily edited iphone photo. we were on the train headed to see a couple of temples...just the two of us, so let me take a selfie!|
|this is the most beautiful temple I saw in Japan. Love the red! It is huge!|
Kyoto: Hei'an Jingu
|he loves riding without his carseat. and he is very possessive of his handle bar. it is his!|
Kyoto: Kiyomizudera buddhist temple
Kyoto: Back to Arashiyama...snow monkey forest!
other sights and scenes of Arashiyama.
Must try!!! Yakiniku! Foodgasm times 1000!
|Shinkansen--bullet train. The fastest train in the world.|