Cultural Kyoto

I had an immensely enjoyable time in Kyoto. I met some really fantastic people and saw some simply incredible sights. The city is quieter and more relaxed than Tokyo so I felt like I was able to see a different side to Japan. The city has 17 World Heritage Sites, that’s truly impressive. I’ve mostly shown Shinto shrines here and in the next post I’ll show the Buddhist temple side to Kyoto

Hanging out in Kyoto Station. When I first arrived I had a coffee and donut for a snack. The lovely elderly Japanese couple sitting beside me offered me a fizzy drink that they didn’t want. “I bought this drink for my wife but she no longer wants it, would you like it?” So kind, friendly and nice. This set the tone for my time in the city
The steps have LED lights that display moving images
It seems Japan is going crazy for Halloween
First stop was a sake bar! This little alleyway had many of them
In a sake bar with a drunk Japanese businessman singing karaoke badly. Perfect
First cultural stop (as opposed to a sake bar) was the Shinto shrine of Kiyomizu-dera. Orange is a thing
The main hall is suspended on great stilts
This is one of the two ‘love stones’
The idea is to walk with your eyes closed from one of the stones and touch the other one in order to be able to find love. You can have someone help you but then someone will have to help you find love. One guy here is lucky, the other not so much. I didn’t even dare attempt
View from of the Kiyomizu shrine from above
The Fushimi-Inari shrine is one of the main sights in Kyoto and so you have to share it with scores of tourists and Japanese school children (present everywhere you go). However it’s worth it as it’s an extraordinary sight. Here the children are passing through a ‘torii’ or gate
Hi mum. The path is lined with 10,000 gates. In this section they are so densely packed that they effectively form an archway
Each torii is dedicated/donated by someone
Lots of spiders on the route made me wonder how many tall people had passed by recently or if I was above to gets webs and spiders in my hair
Small torii can be bought then messages and wishes written
All that sightseeing and exploring builds an appetite. This tempura set for lunch was amazing
A second lunch of udon in a standup noodle bar. What’s a standup noodle bar? It’s where you eat noodles while standing up at a bar
In case you needed verification
I found a place in Kyoto without an English menu (by accident). Pointing at something got me this for dinner. One side of the pot was noodles and the other was rice. Tasty
Continuing the food theme: kaiten-sushi or conveyor belt sushi
It was fantastic and delicious: fantastically delicious
Also, to be honest, it was fun to see what went past and pick something up whenever you felt like it
The famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
A great place for a stroll in an almost surreal location
I stayed in the Gion area of Kyoto. It’s full of small, cute wooden buildings
I was interviewed for a school project (like many tourists) by one group of the dozens of school kids of all ages that you find in Kyoto. Without being prompted, they told me the place to get the best burger in their city…how did they know!
Karaoke actually represents the best value for money drinking. All you can drink for one hour plus singing (or maybe that’s a negative)
Shampoo in the hostel. I won’t argue with this
Matcha (green tea) and vanilla ice cream. (The perspective makes either my hand look massive or the ice cream small. In reality neither is true)
Kinkaku-ji. The Golden Pavillon. Not pictured: hoards of tourists (like me) trying to get a good picture (like me)

Of course wherever you visit it’s always the people you meet that make it. In Kyoto I met some of the best!


Photo credit: Kim, even though it was my arms :p



Next: Zen Kyoto and the Techno Priest


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