Thursday, September 28, 2017

Continuing to the second part of the Kyoto trip.

First part of the said trip can be found here. 

What else could be any memorable when you get to play dress up and portray as if you traveled back in time during the Edo period?

Okay, enough on the blabbing. Here's Day 2.


Morning at the ryokan:

Before we had breakfast, we once again went to the onsen and dipped at the hot bath but this time, we went to our respective public baths. At that time, I was finally getting used to with the thought of the other ladies seeing me naked. LOL! Still! It was refreshing and so very relaxing!

We came back, donned our new set of yukatas and the crew prepared breakfast for us. It was a typical, staple and hearty breakfast you'd expect it to be.

tea break at the kotatsu!

After eating, we prepped up to leave for the activities we would be doing for the day. As the ryokan also offers a free shuttle bus going to Kameoka station, we booked our schedule so that we could go to Higashiyama at the time we were supposed to be there.

We took the JR Kameoka from the JR Sagano Line and alighted at JR Nijo. We were supposed to take the Tozai Subway Line to reach Higashiyama station but since we felt we were going to be late to the appointment, we took a cab from there.

We alighted at Higashiyama, where we supposed to rent our kimono and haori. At the rental shop, I get to choose the kimono I would be wearing. The selection was sooo many that I seriously got a harder time picking one. The hair styling was optional since it is not part of the rental package, but Albert told me to avail one. I like how the stylist became so precise in every curl my hair was done. I looked so legit in that makeover!

What's even cooler is the kimono kept me pretty warm all throughout the day!

Morning: Higashiyama District
Maruyama Park
Yasaka Shrine
Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka steps
Kiyomizudera Temple

Higashiyama District is one of the city's best historic spot. The narrow streets, the small japanese stores constructed in wood, and the ambiance of that old city feel was nicely preserved. We had a lot of things to do at this area, and the kimono and haori rental has an inclusive of 30-minute rickshaw ride. Woohoo!

passing by the Maruyama Park

The rickshaw man at the same time served as our tour guide. He gave us few choices where to go around, and we chose Yasaka Shrine and Pagoda to go first. While on the way there, we passed by Maruyama Park. We arrived at Yasaka Shrine, and the rickshaw man told few stories about it. It was a short ride but we enjoyed it a lot.

From Yasaka Pagoda, we went back to Maruyama Park. The cherry blossoms were already in full bloom. Perfect for photos and perfect just to enjoy and be mesmerized with the lovely scenery.

From Maruyama Park, we took the route going to Kiyomizudera Temple via the Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka steps. These narrow uphill route was also preserved along with the wooden buildings alongside. Thousands of people were coming up and down from these steps every day, as the big temple was one of the most toured spot in the whole of Kyoto.

Ninnenzaka steps

Thirsty? LOL.

Kiyomizudera Temple was just as breathtaking when you see it in person. Kiyomizudera means Pure Water as it originated from the pure water that was coming from the falls that was part of the temple complex. This wooden staged temple, like the Tenryuji in Arashiyama is also a celebrated temple and is also a UNESCO world heritage.

Ginkakuji Temple
Tetsugaku no Michi (or Philosopher's Path)
Nanzenji Temple

After Kiyomizudera, we had a quick grab of snack for lunch. Thinking that we wanted to visit the other side of the district proper, we took a cab to reach another temple called Ginkakuji Temple. Ginkakuji means Silver Pavilion and is patterned after Kinkakuji Temple, which is a Golden Pavilion. However, Ginkakuji is not covered in real silver, unlike Kinkakuji that is made of pure gold. Still, this area was known for its contemporary designed tatami mats and most especially the dry sand and moss gardens.

Exiting the temple led us to enjoy this long stone path that has a narrow canal filled with sakura trees called Tetsugaku no Michi or Philosopher's Path. I enjoyed this part of the trip a lot, especially when you are wearing the kimono. That old Kyoto feel was so happening in my mind at that moment that we kind of savour every moment we were walking in this narrow path.

The cherry blossoms were already in full bloom but not to that level where they call it "explosion"-- as if it is raining with sakura petals all over. It was truly an anime moment for me!

The path ended somewhere at the area of Nanzenji Temple.

As this was one of the celebrated and important temples here in Kyoto, what's interesting in this temple was an old aqueduct being built to carry water and goods back in the day.

Aqueducts originated from the Romans in the older times so for me to see it standing firm with this big complex was really amazing.

Late Afternoon: Back to Higashiyama
Kodaiji Temple

After a few walks, we came back to Higashiyama. Before we surrendered our kimonos, we went inside Kodaiji Temple first since it's just across the kimono rental shop. By this time of the trip, we were growing tired of visiting temples but this has an exceptional zen garden and bamboo grove arrangement inside. It is also a prominent temple in Kyoto where the mausoleum of General Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his wife. Hideyoshi was responsible in reuniting Japan before being succeeded by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

After we changed back to our normal clothes, we had a quick stroll at Gion as we were tired for the day. This the geisha district, also with lots of shops, tea houses, and even geisha apprentice schools. We just literally passed by Gion as it was already past 6 in the evening and we would still be traveling back to Kameoka.

So from Gion, we took the Keihan Line for us to take the Tozai Subway Line and transfer to Sanjo station and then transferred again to Nijo to take the JR Sagano Line back to Kameoka.

From Kameoka, we took a cab since it was pretty late when we came back to the outskirts.

Dinner at ryokan:

The second dinner we had was a sukiyaki dinner. Again, we were being educated on how to eat the proper way for this kind of cuisine. Chika-san wasn't our host for the night so we were being served by another crew. She was an old lady but with cheerful fellow. She cooked the sukiyaki for us and taught us happily.


beef dipped in raw egg; crab legs

silk tofu

vanilla ice cream for dessert; normal japanese sake

From that day onward, sukiyaki became an instant favorite of mine.

The day seemed longer than we thought it would be, and at that time, I was sensing Albert was starting to feel ill. I told him to take a dip again at the public bath to relieve that sickly feeling but he was too tired from all the walks we had.

So that's it for Day 2. It was obviously tiring, but it was still a dream come true, and truly one for the books.

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