Kyoto on a Weekend

Over the weekend, we went on an two day trip to Kyoto to re-live being tourists in Japan. It’s been years since I last visited this place and it is always a treat, especially since the weather was good and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom!

Upon arriving at Kyoto station on Saturday noon, we took the train to Inari station towards Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, famous for it’s orange Torii tunnels, made popular in the last decade or so by the movie, Memoirs of the Geisha. On a Saturday, especially during the peak cherry blossoms season, it will require a lot of skills to have pictures without other tourists in the background. The rays of light coming from the top that made me look like an apparition, was a bonus.

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Torii Tunnels of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

After the short hike up and down the temple grounds, we took the train again back to Kyoto Station, and changed train on the way to Arashiyama. Arashiyama is popular for the Bamboo Forest, the Togetsukyo Bridge, the Tenryu-ji Temple, Gardens, among other spots. One can easily spend the whole day here admiring the history and the beauty of this town. Trying out the many kinds of food being sold at the main street is also a pleasure.

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Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

We went there on early April, and fortunately, the cherry blossoms were at their absolute best. The best cherry blossoms in the area is probably at the Arashiyama Park, right across the bridge from the main tourist area.

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Togetsukyo Bridge, framed by the cherry blossoms

The following day, we went to Higashiyama Area, probably the most famous area of Kyoto, largely because of the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. It’s a large wooden temple built centuries ago and amazingly, not a single nail was used in the structure. It’s a sight to behold, although if there are many tourists, it may be a challenge to find enough peace and quiet to let its beauty sink in.

The streets leading towards the temple is a treat. It’s a hilly town area with many old houses and many shops. It’s a perfect place to buy your omiyage. Speaking of which, I would recommend the Okoicha Langue de Chat from Malebranche. It’s like Hokkaido’s famous “Shiroi Koibito” but with a green tea flavor. We love it.

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Higashiyama Area Shops

Cherry blossoms, blue skies, and temples almost always guarantee a pretty picture. While it was cloudy for most of the day, we were lucky that on our way down, we were greeted by this amazing blue skies view with one of the old structures in the area.

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On our way back from the temple

That was our last destination for the weekend. It’s a short trip but is definitely a trip worth taking. We didn’t mind being all touristy, and going to all the touristy places, surrounded by, well, tourists. Kyoto is a beautiful place, and what better way to enjoy it, but as a tourist. Good sights. Good food. You can never go wrong.

After that, we took the train back to Kyoto Station, where we took our train back to Tokyo, back to where we live and work.

Back to reality.

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