Trip to Japan: Kyoto
After an incredible 5 days in Tokyo, we hopped on the famous bullet train to Kyoto. Passing Mount Fuji and many incredible towns in between, we got off in Kyoto for what was one of the most incredible few days of my life!
Kyoto was once the capital of Japan. It is most known today for its incredibly vast and beautiful ancient temples and shrines as well as the famous geishas. I knew I would love it, but I don’t think I had an understanding of how incredible the culture is in Kyoto. Kyoto is where the tea ceremony ritual started in Japan. We were fortunate to have a tea ceremony in someone’s private home! It is also where the famous Golden Temple stands which is made of pure gold. My personal favorite part was staying at a ryokan. For those of you who don’t know, a ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that has existed since the 8th century! The oldest hotel in the world is actually a ryokan in Japan called Nishiyama Onsen Keiucan which opened in 705 AD. We stayed at Seikoro Ryokan where we had the most over-the-top experience. The staff was welcoming and hospitable, the room was the most beautiful traditional Japanese loft and our meals, eaten in our room on the floor in the same space where we slept, were some of the best we had the whole trip! If you travel to Kyoto, a ryokan is an absolute must for an authentic, unique experience!
We spent our days exploring from the early hours of the morning until late at night. We even were fortunate enough to spot a geisha one night in a small alley way. We visited the Golden Pavilion and Silver Pavilion. We spent hours climbing to the top of Fushimi Inari going under 10000 orange gates on the way up. And we hiked the quick hike to Kiyomizu-Dera temple, which is situated on the top of a hill overlooking the stunning city. We couldn’t resist stopping for sake and beer flights at a local contemporary bar on the way down!
We also spent half of a day walking Philosopher’s Path where we stumbled upon a pottery studio where the kind gentleman let us get behind the potter’s wheel to create our own authentic Japanese pottery! We ended our stay in Kyoto at Hotel Kanra which is a contemporary Japanese hotel. Funny enough, we spent our last night in Japan ordering room service, sipping sake and watching the royal wedding! In all honesty, it was the perfect end to an incredible trip!
-Enjoy a private traditional tea ceremony at Camellia
-Hike to the top of Fushimi Inari – it’s worth the 2.5 hours I promise!
-See Kyomizu-Dera Temple and admire the incredible view, while drinking the fresh drinking water from the spring
-Stroll down Philsopher’s Path and make your own pottery at a local shop! Visit the many temples along the path and grab lunch spontaneously at a restaurant along the way
-Visit the Golden Pavilion
-Explore the small alleys in Gion where you might have the opportunity to spot a real life geisha
-Visit Arisiyama Bamboo Grove
-Experience a Kabuki Performance, which is a classical Japanese dance drama
-Have a drink at a local mini bar (you will pass many in small alleys etc)! Typically they only seat 10 people!
-Buy beautiful antique home decor on Shinmonzen Street