Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Japan Trip Day 3 (Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Nijo-jo Castle & Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine)

Total Fitbit steps of the day : 21,047 steps

We woke up bright an early on Day 3 to explore further realms of Kyoto (hehe...) We are more familiar with the area and had the options to take a bus or train. But first, we visit our favourite Lawson for more onigiri for breakfast.

My choice for the day (left pic). Natto maki, Ikura onigiri and my favourite canned coffee. The natto maki is quite addictive. My sister and husband could not stand the starchiness and the smell. What a waste! My sister's choice of breakfast; some kinda fried rice onigiri and juice. I dare not share my husband's breakfast because it seems like he bought half the shelves of onigiri...hehe

There are many ways to get to Arashiyama area but we took the Hankyu Line because it is more convenient for us and the station is nearer to our hostel. The train is so rustic. Reminds me of Beitou in Taipei. After looking at the map below, we decided that we have made the right choice by arriving from the Hankyu Station. We would first cross the Togetsu Bridge and enjoy the view of the river before entering Tenryu-ji Temple and off to the Bamboo Grove.


The entrance of the Bamboo Grove

It was very cooling inside the Bamboo Grove area. I expected the place to be bigger from all the photos that I've seen online but the actual area is quite small and packed with tourists. After kepoh-ing around for a bit and took countless selfies, we left the place and walk towards the JR Arashiyama station to head towards Kinkaku-ji Temple aka The Golden Pavilion.

                                                           Photo credit : Michelle Low

But first, we stopped at a friendly 1st floor family owned cafe near the entrance of The Golden Pavilion for a quick lunch. 

We had our lunch on the 1st floor of this building before Kinkaku-ji Temple.

Hamburg Curry Rice

Tempura Udon

Kyoto Udon and a special appearance by Gudetama

After a hearty lunch and Facetime with our parents, we head over to Kinkaku-ji Temple to buy the ticket. It is 400 yen/person. It is beautiful and I think it would be more beautiful in November around now. We went there too early and the leaves have not changed colours yet. The temple is well kept and the Matcha Ice Cream is to die for. But it is more expensive than the ones sold in the city. 

We left the temple happy and took a bus to Nijo-jo Castle. It was the residence of the 1st shogun during the Edo Period. And since there is a direct bus route there, we took it. We arrived there in the nick of time, they were set to close in half and hours time. 
Don't you think it looked like a shogun's headgear?

There was no photography inside his living quarters so we took some pictures on the surrounding area and their lush and well manicured Japanese garden. The air is cleaner here too. We were thinking of the haze condition back home during that time. 

It took a long time to hail a bus back to Kyoto Station area because it was peak hours and all the buses were full. I think we waited for at least 4 buses before successfully riding one and we had to stand all the way back to Kyoto Station. It was close to dinner time, the sun has set and we were famished from all the walking.

KYK Tonkatsu was our dinner choice. There are many options of normal, gold and black pig tonkatsu. We felt that the Tonkatsu by Ma Maison chain tasted better. 

We walked around the underground malls in Kyoto Station for a bit and bought ourselves a neck pillow each from MUJI. It is cheaper to buy from Japan than Malaysia and we have been eyeing that neck pillow for a while now. It was a fantastic buy, no regret whatsoever from any of us.

After shopping, the night was still young and we were contemplating to go back to the hostel or to visit another place which is opened 24 hours. The concern was time on the following day because we have one more sightseeing place to visit before leaving Kyoto for Osaka. After much deliberation, we chose to take a train to Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine. It was the Nara Line, very old railway with visible cobwebs on the ceiling. 

If you have watched Memoirs of a Geisha, you would have noticed a scene with endless red torii (traditional Japanese gate). 


We wished that we had a DSLR with us at that time because it is hard to take quality photos with the smartphone at night. The good thing about visiting the shrine at night is that the air is cooling, there are less people hence, easier to snap these torii pics without disturbance. And at the same time, the place can be quite eerie at night. 

Here are the photos from my sister's iPhone 6, much better compared to my iPhone 5 not even the s series.

                                                        Photo credit : Michelle Low

Happy that we made it to the shrine and our body is sticky beyond words due to the long hours out walking about. It is time to head back to our hostel to freshen up before we have some cakes and coffee at a cafe nearby our hotel. The name of the cafe is Cafe Reims. This place reminds me of the Japanese series "Antique Cake Shop"(Year 2001) by my boyfriend at that time Hideaki Takizawa. Hehe...he was so cute and handsome then.

It was the latest we hangout throughout our trip in Kyoto because most places closes around 9pm. So it was nice to sit back, have a cuppa coffee and some nice cakes.
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