We covered the most ground (intentionally or unintentionally) during our last full day in Kyoto – exploring the South and Eastern districts of the city. 😉
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. The shrine is just a few steps away from the JR Inari station and entrance is free. The site is famous for the thousands of vermilion torii gates on its grounds.
We didn’t bother finishing the whole course since the torii gates go all the way to the top of the mountain. No surprise that there were a lot of people at the site. Luckily, we happened upon this portion where there were not a lot of people passing by and we were able to take pictures without much photobombers or causing holdup of people traffic. 😆
After about an hour of leisure strolling, we wanted to have our lunch. We spotted some food stalls in an alley near the main temple and after taking a look at some of the offerings decided to grab lunch right there and then. There are no tables to set down our food, but we didn’t mind standing to eat our lunch. We were lucky we found a spot that was shaded across this stall selling yakitori.
We spent some time checking out the gift shops and ended up buying a lot of tenugui to bring home as souvenirs. (Tenugui is a versatile Japanese handkerchief) Three pieces of tenugui was (if I’m not mistaken) JPY 1,000.
Went back to Kyoto station and bought bus passes at the vending machine in front of the bus ticketing office (other vending machines are also available around the bus terminal).
We took bus 5 towards Ginkakuji-michi stop. It took about 40 minutes to travel from Kyoto to Ginkakuji-michi. From the bus stop, it is still about a ten minute walk to the temple entrance. Half of the way to the temple was uphill and it was very tempting to buy some ice cream sundae by the snack shop by the entrance. But the ice cream that the shop was selling was more expensive compared to the same sundae cone sold by other snack shops a bit further down from the temple. 😛
Ginkaku-ji Temple. Entrance fee to Ginkakuji Temple is JPY 500. The Silver Pavilion is not quite as impressive as the Golden Pavilion, and probably also the reason for the fewer number of tourists visiting. (By fewer I mean crowd level comparison is 100 to 80 😆 )
Philosopher’s Path. At the base of the approachto Ginkakuji, is the start of the Philosopher’s Path. The timing of our visit was just about perfect – sunny skies and most of the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. It was super dreamy walking through the pebbled pathway with some of the sakura petals floating in the wind.
To avoid the hordes of people (yes, we have an aversion to crowded places), we walked along the other side of the canal, opposite of the line of cafes and shops.
We didn’t walk the whole of two kilometers of the path, about halfway through (or probably more), we tried to make our way to the main road where the bus stops would be. This was a bit tricky since there were a lot of small alleys and we weren’t sure if the nearest bus stop (as per google map) would have a bus that would bring us towards Gion. After a few turns here and there we were able to recognize some familiar landmarks that we passed while on the bus towards Ginkakuji Temple and finally find a bus stop for Bus 100.
Higashiyama District. We got off at Gion bus stop since we planned on having dinner in one of the many restaurants around Gion.
We were looking for the public toilets which led us to Yasaka shrine. Entrance to the shrine grounds is free.
Adjacent to Yasaka shrine is the Maruyama Park. The park is famous during the cherry blossom season. We thought it was a public holiday since there were a lot of locals out in the park having a picnic. But I guess it was the nice weather that everybody out to enjoy the peak of the sakura season.
There were a lot of food stalls around the park and we were considering eating our supper there. But since it was still early in the afternoon and we really didn’t have any area to sit down, so we went out the park to explore the Higashiyama preserved district.
It was a nice stroll around the neighborhood where a lot of traditional houses had been preserved. Some of the old houses have been converted to restaurants and shops, but like any other preserved district, the shops there are rather expensive.
We unexpectedly stumbled upon a Studio Ghibli shop. My sisters and I spent some time checking out the stuff and identifying the different characters from Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films.
We made our way back to Yasaka shrine but due to the temperature dropping and the winds picking up strength, we changed our minds on having dinner out in Maruyama Park. We settled instead in Gion Kyomen Restaurant which is just a few steps from the Gion bus stop.
I really like their menu offers since you can get a rice bowl and a bowl of noodles in one set with just the right portions. Their sets are also reasonable priced. Our set orders ranged from JPY 1,310 to JPY 1,620.
After dinner, we caught bus 202. It would be a longer route back to the apartment but we didn’t mind since we didn’t need to change buses and the bus wasn’t so crowded. Just a few stops from Gion we were all able to grab a seat. We got off at Nishioji Kujo bus stop.
Since the bus stop was nearer to the apartment than JR Nishioji train station, we didn’t stop at 7-Eleven for some grocery, instead we tried shopping at Gourmet City. Since this was more of a full grocery than a convenience store, there was a lot more to see at Gourmet City.
And that ends our last full day at Kyoto. Will definitely be back to visit other sights we weren’t able to visit. 😀
God bless everyone! 🙂