japan kyoto travel

Kyoto (Aug. 2016): Kiyomizudera Temple, & Gion

October 1, 2016

I remember the last time I was ever able to travel together with the entire family was back in 2014 during our trip to Seoul, Korea. We rarely get the chance to travel together, so when given the chance, these trips tend to become extra memorable. This time around, we were able to travel as a family to Osaka and Kyoto, Japan.

We had our flights scheduled in two separate groups, so we had to make adjustments with our itinerary. Instead of the typical Osaka-Kyoto itinerary, we made it a Kyoto-Osaka itinerary.

My dad and I had our flight scheduled on the second day, so most of the main activities started when we met up with the group in Kyoto in the afternoon of the second day.

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On the Haruka Ltd. Express train to Kyoto

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Our whole train ride from the airport to Kyoto was actually during lunch break, so my dad and I were really hungry at this point. We originally wanted to buy bento boxes to eat for lunch in the train, but we had to sacrifice and postpone that since we wanted to catch the train schedule.

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My Haruka train ticket

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We’ve arrived at the Kyoto Main Station!

My dad and I had a quick onigiri + tea lunch at the station’s 7-Eleven konbini. After that, we quickly headed to the subway station to head to the nearest station to our AirBnB. When we finally reunited with our family at the apartment, we took a quick break, freshened up a bit, and got ready to head out for our afternoon tour.

The first stop was Kiyomizudera temple. I had seen a couple of articles about this online before. What stands out the most for me is its “wooden balcony” that juts out from its main hall. Before you can reach that, you’ll have to climb uphill (and it’s quite the work out! haha), but it all becomes worth it in the end when you get the overlooking view. From there, you get a view below of the gorgeous cherry and maple trees, along with a view of the sea in the distance. Added to that, you also get to see the Jishu Shrine, and the Otowa Waterfall, to name a few.

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View of the Jishu Shrine landing area of Kiyomizudera

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The overlooking view from the wooden balcony of Kiyomizudera Temple.

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Where people tie the bad fortune omikujis

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Wishes and prayers written on wood blocks

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The wooden balcony overlooking the maple and cherry trees, plus the view of the sea at a distance

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A hot summer day with locals visiting in yukata/kimonos

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Dressed for the summer huhu so cute :c

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Walking back down to the base, we passed by the Otowa Waterfall. Each of the three streams are said to have their own different benefits, such as longevity, success, etc. We didn’t get to drink from it though, since the temple was closing and there was a long line.

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Walking back downhill from the temple

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Some of the shops you get to see while walking downhill (although most of them were closing already haha)

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This shop was closed, but I took a picture cause of the pretty wood. haha! ♥

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Spotted this cute Totoro signage 😀

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Obligatory Japanese vending machine photo. haha!

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The road on the way back down

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Spotted this rickshaw on the way down!

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We passed by a handful of these rental kimono stores. We didn’t get to try them out though! (Although, we really wanted to. haha) We just didn’t have the time to look around and shop, so we thought we could check out other stores in Kyoto some other day. </3

Afterwards, we walked to Gion to look for a place to have dinner in. And, I think that dinner was one of the most exciting experiences of the day because: 1) We were all extremely drained.; and 2) We were going to eat ramen (!!!).

We hadn’t actually planned out a place to eat in in Gion, so we spent some time walking around to just check out what kinds of restaurants were there. We couldn’t decide on anything, so we did some quick research with our phones (thank you, pocket wifi!!), and ended up choosing Ichiran Ramen. haha!

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Ichiran Ramen for dinner! You have to fill up this form before using the machine. Lines are usually long, since locals commonly go to Ichiran Ramen establishments for quick meals.

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Their funky seating control board! haha

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We were seated in separate cubicles. I was waiting for my ramen bowl to come out of the window, and it actually feels a bit creepy and suspenseful, but mostly exciting, I guess. haha!

On a side note, these places are usually packed, so if you’re traveling in big groups, it’s highly likely that you’ll get separate seats. The seven of us got divided into a group of three, and a group of four.

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I ordered shoyu ramen with firm noodles (or you can just look at my order sheet)! The broth was really good! ♥ Such a perfect meal to end such a tiring day too!

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If your ramen wasn’t enough, you can also order kae-dama (a.k.a. noodle refill)!

Heading back home, we stopped by a konbini which was literally thirty steps away from our AirBnB. haha! Super convenient!

When we went there, I mostly just needed my daily fix of milk to help me fall asleep (night owl here haha). So, I ended up buying that plus this really cute pack of Milky chocolate. ♥

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So, that was pretty much Day 1 of the trip. It was actually more exhausting that usual–probably because my dad and I had to tour immediately after having arrived from our flight + the long train ride. We also didn’t really have the time to eat proper lunch, nor did we have enough time to rest.

I actually slept pretty late (despite having drank that strawberry milk lol), but the sleep on the futon on the tatami was so heavenly. ugh. Even less than eight hours of sleep will make you feel so well-rested.

Anway, that’s all for day one! Do stay tuned for day two! ♥

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