Kyoto: Sceneries from Old Japan

by - January 19, 2020

The last entry on my Japan diaries, for now. :) I can’t believe I’m down to the last one. I am missing every bit of my vacation to Japan. Almost all the stuff on my Facebook timeline reminds me of Japan. It’s really calling me back. LOL. Imagine the self-control I had to do when Cebu Pacific had their Piso sale just this week! I was really thinking of booking a plane ticket to Osaka again but figured that I don’t have the slightest clue yet of my schedule for this year so I set the thought aside for now. But you get the point right?!!! If not this year, I’ll definitely come and see their Spring season for the Cherry Blossoms.

So yup, before this post gets out of hand, let’s get back to the main topic. K Y O T O. Girl, Kyoto is sooo freaking beautiful, and yet again, where in Japan can you see a spot that isn’t beautiful? I cannot stress if enough. This country is just so pretty.

So I woke up around 8am and tried my best to move faster because I want to see Kyoto and go back with the sun still shining because again, I have to bike my way around my tita’s area in dark. By this time though, I know what I will search in google maps so that I won’t get lost so no more worries in getting lost unlike my first try going home alone where my tita had to fetch me from the bicycle parking area because I got lost and even she doesn’t know where area I am at the moment. haha!

I got my Osaka-Kyoto sightseeing pass from Klook but believe it or not, I wasn’t able to use it. For one, the train I was using was Kintetsu line and I think it’s not included in the pass. So yep, with just a selfie stick, and a point and shoot camera, I explored my way in Kyoto. 

It’s just one train away from my tita’s area so I am certain I’ll arrive in Kyoto station. The first order of business? Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Once I arrived at the Kyoto Station, it’s no exaggeration that it’s on a whole new level!!! The fast and slow lane in the escalator seemed to switch too because people in Kyoto stand on the left while people in a hurry walk on the right side. Kind of weird for me but my tita already notified me about this and told me it isn’t the same in all places in Japan. 

The train system in Japan, while very foolproof, it can get quite confusing too! It’s so easy to get lost. I am always pressed for time in this exploration so what would a solo traveler do on a situation like this? Thankfully, they have a very systematic travel counter. I asked about the stops and where I need to alight or exchange trains in order to arrive in Arashiyama and the attendant explained very well on where I should. She even provided maps and guides for me to use. So when I opened the map, voila!~ Am I in the future? LOL. 

I just need to ride 2 trains and since this is a tourist spot I am going to, the best way to know where to alight is where most tourists alight. haha! But seriously though, the travel information attendant helped me.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The station near Arashiyama just transported me to a different dimension. The one I see in animes, and not just normal animes, I mean the ones where they show old Japan! I am shocked to see the resemblance because I didn’t know it could exist in real life. I could just walk and walk and still admire the view. The houses, the sidewalks, the people, very Japan!!! 

I used google maps to help me find my way to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest but of course, side trips is inevitable. I just go where my feet takes me while also of course minding the right way. One cannot simply ignore matcha ice cream even with the cold weather. hehe. I simply knew I was in the area when an old Japanese scenery was suddenly transformed into a sidewalk of bamboo swaying within the wind. The scenery is just sooo perfect. 

yumm!!! :P~

These bamboos remind me of the green tea scent I always loved. It’s very calming, very peaceful, you just walk and walk at the end of it and not get tired even though the pathway is ascent.

At times like this, I wish I really had someone take a photo of me. Good old selfie stick took the shot but I had no choice but to also ask other tourist if they mind taking my photo. LOL. I remember asking 4 different people if they could take my photo. They all helped me so yey! I wouldn’t complain about the shot because it was a favor so yep. haha!

At the end of the trail, the path is splitting, one is going left, one is going right. But instead of taking a pick, I went back and went into this beautiful temple, Tenryu-ji Temple, that wasn’t actually part of my itinerary but I’m glad I did visit it because again, I cannot believe what my eyes are actually seeing! The colors of the trees are amazing. It’s as if it is setting my favorite color palette in real life, no kidding.

After marveling the beauty, I decided I need to keep moving because I am once again far behind my schedule. By this time too, I can already feel my feet hurting because of my heels. 

Fushimi Inari Taisha

My next stop is the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine which is definitely not that hard to find. Once you alight at the Fushimi Inari station, the pathway leading to the shrine is very visible. What amazes me in this area are the thousand torii gates that lead up to the shrine at the top of the mountain. Who would have thought that this will instantly become a hike? I met a Singaporean who was kind enough to ask if I want her to take my photo because she saw I was using my selfie stick to take photos. lol. 

I wasn’t really prepared for the hike though because I was wearing heels. I was probably like 2/3 way through before I decided I’ll go down already because my feet cannot really do it. But don’t get me wrong, if I was wearing comfortable footwear, I’ll definitely go to the top. The view though is amazing! I was able to go far enough and stumble across a viewing deck. 

As for lunch, yup, no decent lunch again because I am always running after time but when I went down, there’s a couple of street vendors selling street food so that’s where I had my super duper late lunch. I also saw a mini shrine where they sell charms. Lucky for me, I already bought my charms at the Todai-Ji Temple in Nara Park.

And yes, after that, I hurried my way back to Kyoto Station where apparently, I got lost inside the station so instead of going home with the sun still up, I was beaten up again because when I arrived at my stop, it’s already dark. Google maps took the lead. haha! I even bumped into my tita going home to their house and said she’ll just meet up with some of her friends, says we’ll have dinner together with the whole fam bam. 

I was able to rest for a while before my cousin told me using google translate that we need to go to izakaya already. haha! I love how technology keeps up. We went to our dinner place using bicycles. Keigo really did pedal so fast I was way behind haha. I was kind of traumatized when I had a bike accident days prior. 

Farewell Party

The restaurant is a typical Japanese drinking place. Not that I have many encounters with Japanese drinking place but my comparison is usually to animes and Japanese series/movies I see online. Our dinner was some kind of yakitori. Fun fact: I didn’t know you cannot ask the waiters to pack your leftovers in Japanese restaurants. I mean, is that only a Filipino kind of thing? or is it just the Japanese who don’t like packing leftovers?

Had some kwentuhan and questions about when will I go back. haha. To be honest, I don’t even want to leave. LOL. But good things always come to an end. I cannot believe 9 days went by so fast! It’s my last night and my last dinner with them and even though I don’t speak Japanese, I don’t feel left out. They really went above and beyond to make my stay super duper worthwhile huhu. The more reason I need to learn how to speak Japanese.

And since it was already late when we left the restaurant, Me, tita, and Anika already took a cab to their house. 

Last Day

My flight is still 9-ish in the evening and my bus ticket going to Kansai Airport is still scheduled at 5:05 pm so I still had time to you know, do more shopping. haha. The plan for the day was to pack my bags, then after lunchtime, tito Takeshi will take me to go shopping, then we’ll meet with tita then they’ll send me off to the bus.

Last breakfast prepared by tito Takeshi since I wasn't able to try Okonomiyaki outside

So yep. I packed during the morning. My tita let me borrowed her bigger luggage because apparently, my stuff couldn’t fit my luggage anymore. And, I already pre-bought a 20kg baggage allowance but upon weighing my baggage, it still went over and my friends who went to Japan told me that they are very strict in terms of excess baggage so it is better to buy another extra baggage. LOL. This I could say, Shopping pa more! haha. To be fair though, shopping in Japan is a whole new level of ~*retail therapy*~. I mean, experience it for yourself. 

I even had problems buying baggage allowance online because of OTP where I can’t receive the code because the inserted sim card on my phone is my Japan sim. 

Anyways, after packing everything up, tito Takeshi accompanied me to GU, a shop that’s almost like H&M, Uniqlo, where I shop for some winter clothes again because I’m preparing for my next winter experience in another country. It’s really a good thing most of the stores are on sale during my visit because the prices can get really low! tito Takeshi even bought me a jacket! Huhu He told me Australia can get colder than Japan so I needed a thick one. Awwww!!! I am super spoiled in this trip!!!

After my final shopping, we went to fetch tita Remy, got my baggage from their house then tita and I shared my last meal in Japan. Awww. They wanted to bring me to this certain restaurant but since it’s almost 4 by that time and the bus leaves at 5:05, we decided to eat somewhere near the bus stop. No regrets though because my last meal in Japan is freaking unforgettable. I feel like I am exaggerating all my words but at the same time, I don’t because it is what it really is lol. I am super full. Both my heart and my stomach to be exact. 

I hope I can return the favor one day. I thought by seeing Japan, my eagerness to see it will fade but turns out it’s the other way around. I am determined to see Japan even more. Explore more of it, see more of it, taste more it. It’s true when they say Japan is that one place you’ll always want to get back to. I am lucky to have relatives in Japan and have a place to stay when I visit Osaka. Heck, I am lucky to have Japanese cousins. How’s that. Lol. 

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