I took an overnight bus from Tokyo to Kyoto. I booked it through http://willerexpress.com/ and got discount price for 5100 yen. I think it’s a quite a good deal. I chose to get off in front of Hotel Centnovum Kyoto because when I checked on the map, it looked close to a train station. And I made a right decision, turned out it’s Kyoto Station. Haha.
The bus was really comfortable. The seat was wide enough and there’s curtain, too. So, the space was really private. I loved it! I arrived at Hotel Centnovum around 5.45am. I walked to the station. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and changed my outfit at the station. After that, I tried to find locker to put my luggage. It’s not hard to find it. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but i think it’s 600 or 700 yen. In general, locker for big luggage will cost 600-700 yen.
I didn’t have any plan that time. Yep, I didn’t prepare my itinerary in Kyoto (and Osaka) very well. I usually put the places I want to visit in google map, then plan the spot to visit based on the distance between those places and find out how to get to those places in advance. But I didn’t have enough time to do it for Kyoto. I did put the spots on google map, but didn’t have detailed plan.
When I walked around the station, I found map of station area. I saw that there are several interesting places such as temple and park nearby. So I followed that map. When I walked out the station, I saw Kyoto Tower. Man, I didn’t even know that it’s just across Kyoto Station. Haha.
My first destination was Higashihonganji Temple. It wasn’t opened yet, so I only took pictures from outside.
Here are some interesting phrase written on the temple wall.
My condition started getting worse that time, probably because of combination of the cold weather, rain, and eating late the previous day. I was using my mask because of this.
The next destination was Shoseien Garden. But it’s also still closed. So I continued walking to Nishihonganji Temple. On my way to the temple, I stopped by a kombini to have some onigiri for breakfast. Haha. Next to Nishihonganji Temple, there’s Koshoji Temple. I saw 2 flower trees there so I entered the temple. The flower is so pretty! One is white and the other is pink.
Then I walked again to Umekoji Park. The Kyoto Aquarium is within the area, but I didn’t have plan to go there. I just walked around the park and having some morning sun because the weather was still a bit cold. When I walked to the park, I saw a pagoda. And when I checked on the map, it should be in Toji Temple which mentioned as World Cultural Heritage Site. So, I was curious and decided to go there.
When I arrived at the temple, turned out there’s entrance fee. At the end, I entered the temple because it’s said that there’s English volunteer guide inside. So at least I can get some explanation. The entrance fee is 800 yen (special price for pagoda opening day, normal day costs 500 yen). I met the guide near the 5-story pagoda. She explained about the Kyoto history and why the temple was built. She also explained the pagoda structure which called snake structure. Tokyo Skytree Tower is said using the same structure as this pagoda. This pagoda is also the tallest pagoda in Japan. That day was special day which we can enter the pagoda. There’s only several days in a year for this kind of event. I can consider myself lucky, then. Inside the pagoda, there are 4 Buddha statues facing 4 different directions and they have different purpose. Each statues also have 2 smaller guardian statue. Other than pagoda, there are 2 worship halls called Kondo and Kodo Hall. There was big Buddha statues inside the hall. Too bad, taking picture was prohibited inside the pagoda and hall. You can learn more about the temple here.
I went back to Kyoto Station and then heading to Kyoto Tower because Tourist Information Center is there. It’s on the 3rd floor. I met the staff and asked what kind of tourist pass is suitable for me. Because I read that you need those pass to cut down the budget. But there are too many options which made me confused. The staff asked which places I wanted to go and recommend some passes. I asked for map and checked it for awhile before I decided my plan for that day and the next day. She recommended me Kyoto Sightseeing Pass (500 yen) for that day and Kyoto Bus Pass (500 yen) for the next day. I also bought Osaka Amazing 2-Day Pass (3000 yen) there. She was really kind to suggesting the best route, too. She was super helpful! All my thumbs up for her. I was very satisfied with the service! Oh, and there’s also Muslim prayer room in the Tourist Information Center.
After buying the pass, I walked to Shichijo station. I took train to Fushimi Inari station. On the way from Fushimi Inari Station to Fushimi Inari Shrine, there were so many street food stalls. And it smells sooo good. If only I can eat all of them… At the temple, I followed the famous Torii. I planned to go to the top, but when I reached the Shin-Ike Pond and saw a sign mentioned that it’s around 1 hour from there to reach the top I decided to go back. I ain’t got no time. On my way back to the station, I was so tempted with the takoyaki and finally bought it for lunch. Haha.
The next destination is Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The way from from station to the temple was really far and uphill. I was dying. You know, my condition that day was actually quite bad. There are some buildings and pagoda that we can see without entrance fee. But, there’s entrance fee to the Main Hall. Not that expensive, 400yen. But since I was really really tired, I didn’t go to the Main Hall.
I followed TIC staff guide for the next destinations which should also bring me closer to my hostel. I walked through Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka path to Kodaiji Temple. There are a lot of stores with traditional design in this path. After that I went to Maruyama Park. Maruyama Park is a Japan traditional garden and it’s famous as main cherry-blossom viewing place during spring. What’s funny, there were 2 guys offering free hugs nearby. Hahaha.
Yasaka-jinja is not far from the park. As recommended by TIC staff, I went there too. Since I went there from Maruyama Park, I entered it through the back gate. And when I walked outside through entrance gate, I finally saw the Gion area!
I walked to Gion-Shijo station direction since my hostel is near the station. It was around 5pm. After finding the hostel and check in, I went to my room and just stayed in my bed. My body brokedown. I got fever and couldn’t move my body. I lost my voice too. I knew that my condition was bad but I still dragging myself to visit the places before because I didn’t wanna miss the opportunity while I’m in Kyoto. But, turned out It’s more than my body could take. I just laid on the bed until around 8.30PM, my luggage was still on the locker in Kyoto station. So I dragged myself again to Kyoto station and took my luggage to the hostel. I felt like dying. I bought hot drink in vending machine to heal my throat. I couldn’t do Geisha-hunting which is on my initial plan that day and the reason why I chose to stay in Gion area.
The next day, I felt a little bit better even though the fever is still there. My main plan of the day was Arashiyama and Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) Temple. TIC staff recommended me to visit other temples around Kinkakuji too, but I didn’t want to breakdown again so I kept on my initial plan. I arrived at Arashiyama around 1pm, I walked through direction to Bamboo Forest Path. When I finally found the bamboo, I thought it’s not that special. But I kept walking and finally found the main part. And yasss! It’s soooo pretty! The bamboo is kinda different from the one I saw earlier, tho. There are temples nearby, but I just passed by since I don’t really know the difference. They all look the same to me, especially on pictures. Haha.
I then walked to the Arashiyama park area where I saw bridge before. There’s river too. The mountain view around the area is so pretty. I enjoyed the scenery before heading to Kinkakuji by bus.
And then I made stupid mistake, I took off at the wrong bus stop for transfer. OTL Based on google map direction, I need to walk to take other bus if I don’t want to wait longer for next bus. So I walked there which took more than 10 minutes, and then I saw the bus I supposed to take before crossing the street. But then I missed it. Argghh! I finally took the next bus which arrived in Kinkakuji when it’s almost closed. When the guard saw me and other visitors, he asked us to run. I bought the ticket and run to the entrance. Taking photos of the beautiful Golden Pavillion. Not long after that, there’s bell sound as closing mark. Hahaha. Glad I made it there, tho.
I went back to Kyoto Station to take my luggage and then took the train to Osaka. Many people said to me that Kyoto is their favorite place when they go to Japan. Too bad, because of my condition I don’t get the same idea. Well, it’s a big lesson for me. I should know my limit and take care of myself more. Especially when I’m traveling alone. Will continue the story about amazing Osaka on the next post! See you there!