Kyoto Travel Guide
My night arrival at Kyoto was greeted by a huge confetti made of metal cold rain. While rushing into a cab, I banged my head on the car so hard I saw a flash of white light coming from inside my head. I can’t quite explain, but it was SO painful I literally COL (Cried Out Loud) at my clumsilliness (clumsiness + silliness) while the driver, who heard the bang, was more in-shock that I didn’t pass out . . .
The next day might just had been another Tuesday for almost anyone in the world but for me, it was a very special day. Nothing could make a person happier when she gets to fulfill what she believes is her purpose for living. For me, that is travel. There is so much one can do and feed the eyes in one day!
If you’d like to follow my itinerary, I’d suggest Mc Donalds for breakfast in Kyoto. Whichever new country I go to, I always make sure to check out what their McD has to offer that our country doesn’t. For a country like Japan, it is safe to say they don’t just offer different stuff, but items that make you squeal; like this muffin and RED BEAN pie.
The main reason for me though, was because I only had 2 days and 1 night in Kyoto. While that is possible, privileges of sleeping in and waiting for the restaurants to open at 11 a.m. had to be sacrificed.
Cost: 1356 ¥
I believe most girls crack their heads on what clothes to pack or wear when they travel? Well even if you don’t, here’s a tip if you’re visiting Kyoto for the first time: Rock bold red lips and carry a red clutch or wear comfortable red shoes to go with it! You’ll notice how well they compliment all the places that we’re visiting together today. (Full outfit details here.)
Let our Kyoto itinerary begin!
1. Kinkaku-ji a.k.a. The Golden Pavilion
Unveil the true story behind this shining piece of floating beauty.
Cost: 400 ¥ entrance fee per person
While at it, make sure to experience the Japanese matcha green tea tradition. A personal favorite.
Cost: 500 ¥ per person
Here, which I don’t include in my total travel cost because they are shopping expenditures, I spent 1080 ¥ to purchase the famous ‘Kyoto plum tea’ and 4080 ¥ on these oh-so-adorable souvenirs. I doubt you should skip them though!
The leftover (painful) rain from last night stubbornly persisted, yet it gave me a piece of memory so precious to take home and keep forever.
I was sulking, waiting for the pedestrian light that felt like it needed 5 months to turn green. Big Guy, who convinced me that I could most definitely trust his sense of direction had just brought us walking in circles around rows of Nobita houses in the drizzle . . .
Suddenly, I felt something like an amour radiating warmth sheltering me. I turned around to see a cherub old lady who wittily planned the surprise, approached me from my back to share her umbrella! As she was a lot shorter than me, she had to raise her arm up high all the time. I would have took over, but I was stoned for the following 15 minutes upon receiving such random kindness.
My new friend was smiling and laughing all the way. I could never forget seeing someone so genuinely happy – so genuine they share it with the world in such beautiful, unexpected ways.
So there I was, with an old lady, cheering on a young lady to embrace the rain; instead a young lady, helping an old lady cross the street.
What I repent the most was not giving her a hug because I was too awed to function straight. How she warmed my heart became the highlight of my
day entire trip – no competition or comparison necessary. I could see a 1000 shrines and gardens but this, is just too rare. And if it was in Malaysia? I bet no one cares.
Next stop is the minimalist zen rock garden one can and should not miss. Basically, you come all the way here just to see 5 sleepy rocks – but that is the whole point.
Cost: 1000 ¥ entrance fee
While you’re here, explore the lush greeneries and mysterious paths because you won’t be able to do so quite the same in Malaysia. Venture with me to the road not taken.
3. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
My favorite part of all places Kyoto. From here and everything cheery below:
My favorite meal throughout my entire Japan trip.
Lunch: 3240 ¥
The ‘love temple’ promises many interesting activities you can’t possibly imagine. i.e. Walk in the blind through a tunnel resembling a mother’s womb. That would definitely be an unforgettable experience for just anyone.
The other two must-do’s are:
Explore all the love challenges here.
5. Fushimi Inari-taisha
If you love a good hike, make sure to save some time for this extraordinary visit. It is awarded 1st prize from Trip Advisor as “2014 Japanese site Popular with Foreign Tourists“.
I’m sure you know by now why I highly recommend wearing red lips. Now take my hand up this hike!
Now is time to ponder on the night activities Kyoto has to offer.
When I was planning my itinerary, little did I know that geishas only come out at night, and I couldn’t decide which is harder to come by: a geisha or a flying star? I thought I could make friends with one or even learn how to serve green tea at Gion during the day and oh boy, was I wronged.
I walked almost every main street and back alley to find a geisha, just to learned that they were all kept here:
A few eunuchs (?) were guarding this ‘teahouse’, where expensive German cars dropped off straight-faced old men in suit and tie. A small bunch of tourists including myself, silently watch within a healthy radius as if it was a live mafia scene.
Travel through the Memoirs of a Geisha . . .
I was then reminded of the true meaning behind the word ‘geisha’.
I also learned that a pair of geisha shoes can cost up to RM774.29. An item perhaps only Lady Gaga would buy.
Explored more forbidden alleys . . . with the eyes.
The most kawaii post office.
Commercialized travel sites like Trip Advisor might suggest you to try a traditional ryokan dinner at Gion for experience’s sake but I swear to God, DON’T. You won’t regret trusting me on this.
Regardless which restaurant you chance upon, as long as it is located along the main geisha streets of Gion, do NOT dine there (unless you want to be one of those angmoh
tourists victims that ‘buta-buta kena con‘).
The only thing fancy about my dinner was the kitchen wares made flamboyant by fire. If you look closely, 95% was made of plain carbs a.k.a. noodles and rice; which cost around RM116.
Lousy kaiseki dinner: 3900 ¥
And that ends a full day itinerary of traveling Kyoto!
If you happen to be here on a short trip like me, chances are you won’t have time figuring out the public transportation be it buses or trains, hence opting for the taxi instead. (One thing you must know is that most of these #MustVisit places have quite a distance from each other, so take into consideration traveling time.) That means, most of your cost will be spent on getting around. To give you an idea, I’ve rounded up mine below:
I used the bus to Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji. From there, the cab fare costs:
From Ryoan-ji to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: 2140 ¥
From Arashiyama Bamboo Grove to Kiyomizu-dera: 3470 ¥
From Kiyomizu-dera to Fushimi Inari-taisha: 1570 ¥
From Fushimi Inari-taisha to Gion: 1310 ¥
Total transportation cost: 8490 ¥
Total traveling cost: 18, 886 ¥*
*Around RM550 per day (minus shopping expenditures). If you skip the Ryokan dinner, that’ll make it RM450.
I hope you find this travel guide cum photo diary useful and entertaining. Is there any spot in particular featured here that you’d really love to visit in future? Share with me your weekend thoughts as I’d love to chat more about Kyoto with you.
Next up: Tokyo.