Japan Chronicles: Off to Kyoto!!

It was finally time for me to head to Kyoto, and I was extremely excited!! After all, I’ve heard so many great reviews of Kyoto AND it was recently ranked as the world’s top city to visit by Travel and Leisure magazine. As the former capital of Japan, it has a rich cultural history as well as an abundance of things to do and see, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

I checked out of my hostel in Osaka and hopped on the JR line to Kyoto. It took about 50 minutes to get to Kyoto station, which was not far from where I was staying. I checked into my capsule hotel, which I absolutely LOVED, and began to plan for my day. Even though I was still a little tired from my adventure in Nara the previous day, I still wanted to do some sight seeing on my first day in Kyoto.

I decided to go to Kiyamizudera Temple, since it was only about a 20 min bus ride from my capsule hotel. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most celebrated temples in Kyoto, and is also home to the Otowa Waterfall, which has 3 streams to promote a long healthy life, academic success, and a fruitful love life. I was warned that it would be incredibly busy at this temple, since this is one of the main places that people visit in Kyoto. This place was packed, and I actually didn’t end up taking as many pictures as I would’ve liked. However, I did love all the beautiful kimonos people were wearing!

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Otowa Waterfall from above

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I was loving all of the beautiful kimonos!!

Then, I decided to walk to Yasaka-jinja Shrine (also known as Gion Shrine), which I heard was just a short walk away. That was a lie!! Well, maybe it wasn’t a lie but I definitely got lost so it took me about 20-25 minutes to get there. This happens to be one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto, so it makes sense that this was packed with people as well.

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A view through the gates of the Yasaka shrine

Next, I planned to head to Chionin Temple, but I ended up walking around and exploring Maruyama Park, which was right next to the Yasaksa-jinja Shrine. This park is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms during cherry blossom season, which was, unfortunately, NOT when I went. Still, it was a good place to relax, explore, and enjoy the scenery.

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Chillaxing by the pond

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So beautiful

While I was walking around, I stumbled upon Otani Sobyo. I had no idea what it was at the time, but I later found out that it is a Buddhist temple and mausoleum. Since it was a little later in the day, there weren’t many people and I pretty much had the place to myself.
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After exploring a little, I decided to head back to the hotel to rest. However, when I got there, they were having a Japanese calligraphy class! Of course, I jumped right in there and gave it a try. I learned how to write my name and Kyoto in Kanji, and I also got to try on a kimono!!

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Writing my name

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Writing “Kyoto”

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The lighting sucks but my kimono was FLY!!!

All in all, my first day in Kyoto was pretty light, but was still a great start to my adventures in the city. I couldn’t wait to get out and do more exploring the next day!

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