It’s been a while since my last post. I’m still suffering from a travel hangover from my trip to Japan. I had to power through it in order to do my work, which fortunately, I love. 🙂 I also noticed that my post on my net worth update has disappeared. Will try to reconstruct or maybe just do another update instead.
Now, back to Kyoto. Kyoto was once the capital of Japan (which explains why it has an Imperial Palace) and is home to a lot, and I mean a whole lot of temples (Buddhist And Shinto) and gardens.
Our excursion to Kyoto started early. From Tokyo station, we caught the 9am shinkansen/bullet train to Kyoto station. Having a JR pass gives you the privilege to reserve your seat way ahead of time. But as usual, we were too lazy to do so. Also, I preferred it that way so that we can be flexible with our timeliness.
After sleeping in the comfort of our train seats, we arrived about 2 hours later at Kyoto station. Travel time was long and we arrived at lunch time so we had a nice lunch at the station. Kyoto station is known for its sky high escalator (going up to the 11th floor). At first glance, the height isn’t that noticeable and safety isn’t much of a concern as there are breaks in between these escalators for every floor. However, immediately noticeable is the high angle of the escalator (approaching the 90 degree angle). i immediately felt the need to hang on to that side railing to feel more secure.
We queued to buy our all-day bus passes (about USD 4.00). Kyoto buses have a flat fare of about USD 2.00 so if you plan on taking the bus more than twice, these passes are for you. After paying the bus passes, we asked what bus numbers to take (the queues for the express buses are too long so I recommend you take other buses). We found our bus and headed to Kinkakuji Temple.
Entrance fee is collected at the entrance (about USD 4.00). Also known as the golden temple (its silver counterpart is the Ginkakuji Temple, also located in Kyoto. Confusing, I know), Kinkakuji Temple is a zen Buddhist temple. It is aptly called the golden temple due to the external coating of its facade. The entire temple is covered in gold lacquer and up close, it felt surreal looking at it against the backdrop of a lake and the surrounding greenery.
The temple grounds are not that vast but are well-maintained. If you have time to walk,around, you may appreciate the architecture of the other structures within. We didn’t have that luxury due to limited time. There were also so many tourists that day so we had to keep moving along.
At the tail-end of the path, there are stalls to buy food or souvenirs. I enjoyed getting a complimentary taste of different delicacies and was certainly convinced to buy some. If you walk out of the temple and walk a few meters down the street, there’s a store that sells many reasonably (I mean this relative to Tokyo prices) priced items.
We took another bus to Ginkakuji Temple. Note that the bus only drops you off several KILOMETERS away. I don’t mind the walk but dang, it was freezing cold with the added windchill factor. I will cut to the chase, we got lost and never got to Ginkakuji Temple, haha. There were several marked maps but somehow, we got sidetracked by the sakuras and matcha ice cream. Also, it was getting dark and we didn’t want to miss our train back to Tokyo.
Even if you get lost, the Ginkakuji area actually has several temples worthy of visit. We attempted (emphasis on attempted haha) and got close. However, we noticed that as we went up the uphill terrain, the crowd that we were walking with had thinned out. I also noticed others rechecking the maps in the street. Thus, I felt like we weren’t the only ones getting lost.
We finally gave up and went to get ice cream. Really, once you see the golden temple, it pretty much ruins you for other temples. I had no interest looking at another one. We took the express bus to Kyoto station and boarded our shinkansen back to Tokyo.
We arrived in Tokyo late as usual and had a late dinner at another Japanese restaurant. I tried the Yoshinoya in Cebu once and it was okay. The Yoshinoya in Tokyo offers great tasting food and quality service. Yoshinoya is a Japanese fast food by the way. Despite the fast food label, their food is way healthier than any fast food chain in the Philippines, which have no concept of vegetables whatsoever.
We got back to the hotel and finally turned in for the night. The next day, we would head for another out-of-town excursion to Nagoya City, Japan. More on that later.
20 something lawyer