Kyoto Excursion

One of the many benefits of living in Seoul is the proximity of many great travel destinations. There are multiple countries surrounding Seoul that can be reached in a mere few hours and are excellent for a long weekend or longer; just don’t skip class! I decided to take advantage of this opportunity for travel and spent a week in Japan. In a short two hour flight, I arrived at Osaka Airport and just a couple hours later (by bus) I was in Kyoto!

Kyoto in the Kansai region of Japan was at one time the capital city and is therefore rich in historical and natural beauty. The greatest draw of Kyoto is the multitude of shrines, temples, palaces, and historical landmarks that are spread throughout the city; if exploring history, religion, and nature is not your idea of a vacation I strongly recommend heading straight to Tokyo! If you’re still interested, read on for my Top 3 Kyoto sites!

1) Kinkaku-ji: Temple of the Golden Pavilion

This Buddhist temple is probably the most widely recognized and highly popular of the sites in Kyoto, attracting a huge number of visitors every year. Despite the large crowds vying for space in order to get a much coveted photo (or selfie), this temple still makes my list. It is a beautiful structure made even more so by the beauty of its natural surroundings. When planning your day, I suggest allotting only a short amount of time for this site as it does not take much time to snap a few photos, walk the temple grounds, and feel crushed by the masses of tourists.

Kinkakuji

2) Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

When walking down the street and steadily approaching the entrance to the pathway into the forest, you may at first regret your decision. It appears to be just another city street lined with restaurants, shops, and people. But as you make your way deeper and deeper, you step into another world. Like much of Kyoto this site too is packed with many tourists all around you, but if you look up towards the treetops and slowly let the sounds of the crowd fade away, you can easily immerse yourself in the natural splendour of the bamboo grove.

Arashiyama

3) Fushimi Inari Taisha

For those of you who have seen and love Memoirs of a Geisha, this site will be easy to recognize. The main shrine of the Shinto god Inari sits at the bottom of a mountain (which is also named Inari) and behind it an up the mountain side there spans 4km worth of trails covered by thousands of crimson torii gates, leading to hundreds of smaller shrines. If you are feeling particularly ambitious and happen to have 4 hours to spare, I recommend making the trek up the mountainside to the shrines located at the top for both the experience and the view. Following the general trend in Kyoto, there are many tourists walking the trails but as the sun began to set I noticed the crowds thinning and decided to stay longer; this was a great decision. Alone under the torii in the light of dusk, walking trails that the worshippers of Inari have walked for hundreds of years, was perhaps my greatest experience in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari

In conclusion…

Though not a site, I do have one final recommendation for your time in Kyoto based on my personal experience. With so many different destinations around the city to see in your short time there, most being jam packed with tourists, you may feel like you never truly experience the city itself. I happen to have the perfect solution: BIKE! My only method of transport for my three days in Kyoto was a solid, well maintained bike (rented for a modest 500 yen a day at EMUSICA in downtown Kyoto) and my own two legs. Though it may take longer to get from Point A to Point B, you will definitely not regret this decision. I had the chance to see the beauty of Kyoto that not all tourists do, including many splendid shrines and palaces off the beaten tourist path, simply by riding through it!

Bike

 

Article by Kavi from Canada

Comments

  1. Looks awesome, I really wanna visit Kyoto!

Trackbacks

  1. […] to visit in Kyoto, I recommend the article previously written by Kavi which can be found here: https://myhubs.org/2015/10/12/kyoto-excursion/ . I also recommend checking out http://www.japan-guide.com/ for more inspiration on places to visit […]

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