After visiting Nara, Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, I can say that my favorite’s Kyoto. There were so many different temples and nature themed spots to visit there wasn’t enough time!
K’s Backpackers Hostel
From Tenma Itoya Guesthouse in Osaka, we went to the Minamimorachi station to take the train going to Shichijo station. The hostel was less than a five minute walk away – we got to drop our bags and move on to our next stop.
We walked to Kyoto Station, took the train to go to our next stop:
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
We didn’t go to Universal Studios as I was with someone who wouldn’t appreciate it, but we both agreed to try this Japanese themed park. and boy was it fun. It had ninjas, shooting locations, Japanese style theater (I remembered the opening of Rurouni Kenshin where they had it) and games. This is the only place where we overstayed longer than our itinerary dictates (we usually end up leaving earlier).
We went back to our previous train stop (which apparently runs only every 30mins ish or so) to go to Arashiyama. Once there we rented a bike to explore.
Arashiyama is famous for its bamboo forest. And rightly so. It was the biggest, densest, most beautiful bamboo forest I’ve ever seen. But I wasn’t able to appreciate it because we were so tired from biking. I was also bad at biking so I had to put all my concentration on staying upright. Lesson learned – don’t bike at beautiful tourist spots.
We missed going to the temple because they close at 5pm. 😦
The next day, we bought the JPY500 unlimited bus pass in Kyoto. You just have to present this at every bus, and they you’re done!
First stop – Nijo Castle.
Nijo Castle wasn’t specifically stunning. It’s value is in its floors – they are called nightingale floors that “sing” (through metals underneath the wood boards) when one steps on them.
We weren’t able to appreciate it as much because when we entered there already was a crow, but apparently there was another set of nightingale floors in other temples (I think it was Chionin? I don’t remember haha)
This was flat out breathtaking. A golden temple nestled in a mountain with a pond in front of it. Beautiful.
One word -stunning. I don’t know why this wasn’t one of the main attractions! We only dropped by because it was on the way after Kinkakuji, I think, and it became our favorite!
(This is also where we learned how to operate the coin locker. Apparently you can’t get back your coin if you reopen it after a minute should you forget something)
We had to take the train to go to Kibune as this was too far north of Kyoto and outside the bus routes. Much more than the temples, we loved the trail going from Kibune to Kurama. It was a short hike, and we even met some blind, senior citizens hiking! What an amazing experience.
That’s it for Kyoto (at least what I remember for now). I think I’ve used enough adjectives – beautiful, stunning, impressive, etc. But it was. It really was. We’ve also managed to take trains, buses, bikes and even hike! All in Kyoto, with love. ❤