During our second day in Kyoto, we visited two UNESCO world heritage sites – Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji Temple. 🙂
We first headed out to Kyoto station to have our early lunch at Kyoto Nishiki Warai for some okonomiyaki.
Prices were reasonable and each serving of okonomiyaki had enough portions for two people (our set orders ranged from nett JPY 1,000 to JPY 1,800). We ordered one okonomiyaki each since we wanted to try different types and flavors. The set my father got included dessert (nett JPY 1,800). I personally enjoyed most my sister’s order which was a modan-yaki (okonomiyaki with a layer of fried noodles).
After lunch, we bought bus passes from the bus ticketing office just outside the Kyoto station central gate. You can also pickup bus maps at the ticketing office. For JPY 500 per bus pass, one can travel within the City Bus & Kyoto Bus Flat-Fare Zone unlimited times for one day. This is very economical if you plan to ride the bus at least three times in a day. Majority of tourist spots are near bus stops and are within the flat-fare zone so this is a very convenient option of transportation.
I thought it would be really intimidating to ride the buses in Kyoto since we aren’t fluent in Japanese, but their buses are actually very tourist friendly. Announcements are made in Japanese, English, Chinese and sometimes in Korean. There are also monitors at the forward of the bus indicating the route and the next stop. For a complete guide on how to use buses in Kyoto, please refer to the Kyoto City Web.
Nijo Castle. We rode Bus No. 9 (alternatively, you can take Bus No. 50 or 101) and got off at Nijojomae station. Entrance to Nijo Castle costs JPY 600 per person.
Before entering the Ninomaru Palace, you have to remove your shoes. The use of cameras for photography and video are not allowed inside.
There were a lot of media personnel in front of the castle that day. We saw in the news later that evening that the envoy for a foreign diplomat was in town.
The gardens of Nijo Castle are beautiful. 🙂 They have themed gardens and the sunny weather made exploring the castle grounds even more pleasant. It took us about two hours in total to stroll leisurely around the palaces and its gardens.
From Nijojo-mae bus stop, we made our way to Kinkakuji-michi bus stop via Bus 101 (alternatively, you can also take Bus 12). Buses stopping at Nijojo-mae (or at any bus stop near tourist sites for that matter) are usually full but waiting for a less crowded bus doesn’t really take long. Travel from Nijojo-mae to Kinkakuji-michi bus stop took about 30 minutes.
Kinkakuji Temple. Entrance to Kinkakuji Temple is JPY 400 per person. It was super crowded when we got in. And because it was so crowded and everyone wanted to take a photo, it was hard to appreciate the golden temple. I think we were in and out of the temple grounds in 30 minutes. 😛
Since the weather was particularly nice, we grabbed some ice cream at the vending machines near the temple entrance. 😎
Catching a bus towards the city center was a feat because of the long queue. We decided to take another route that would require transferring to another bus later on. But that was okay since we had the bus pass. And we figured that waiting for the direct buses for Kyoto station would take much longer. From Kinkakuji-michi bus stop, we rode Bus 204 and then transferred to Bus 17 at Kawaramachi Marutamachi.
Decided to have some katsu again, this time at Katsukura.
Just like at Tonkatsu Wako, Katsukura’s set meals are inclusive of unlimited rice and cabbage. The set meals we ordered ranged from JPY 1,020 to JPY 2,680. The pork cutlets were tender as well. Only difference with Wako is the dipping sauce. At Katsukura you can mix in freshly ground sesame seeds to your dip. Yum! 😀
Stopped at 7-Eleven at Nishioji station again to buy some breakfast before going home. As per personal observation, 7-Eleven carries a more varied array of food selection compared to Family Mart. 😉 And that ends our second day in Kyoto. 🙂
God bless everyone! 🙂