Date of Travel: 01/02/2012
We started off the day by stopping by a convenience store to pick up some breakfast. It was the second morning in a row which we did this, and it would soon become the norm for the rest of our trip! We then headed over to Kyoto Train Station to take our first subway ride of our trip towards Imperial Palace, which was one of the few tourist attractions that was in close proximity from a subway station. Though the Imperial Palace compound itself is small, the park surrounding it is massive (1.3km spanning North-South and 0.75km spanning East-West). We found a quiet spot at the North-Western corner near the Konoe Pond and ate our breakfast, then wandered around to find the Imperial Agency Office to join the English Imperial Palace tour. The tour itself is free, but advanced reservations are required which we luckily arranged a few weeks prior. I am sure that neither of us actually paid any attention to the lady speaker, and just went nuts taking photos of everything. Unfortunately, due to the compactness of the buildings around the ground, none of us could really take any good photos of anything apart from the little Japanese garden. Also, we were not allowed in any of the buildings and could only admire its exterior.
After the tour, we wandered around the Palace grounds a bit more to admire the spaciousness of the outer park area (which was vastly different compared to the claustrophobic nature of the city centre). We visited several buildings, such as an information area and an old office/school building. It had unfortunately started to rain a bit, and we were unsure of our afternoon plans of heading over to the Arashiyama, which is located West of the main part of Kyoto city. We decided to find some place to eat while deciding what our plans would be for the rest of the afternoon. Lunch itself was an interesting experience. It was the first time we ordered our food via a ticket vending machine. Food came out really fast, and was surprisingly good considering how cheap it was.
The skies cleared up considerably after lunch, so we decided to stick to our original plan of heading over to Arashiyama. Once we arrived at Arashiyama, we almost got ourselves lost trying to find out way through some small back alleys to the main street from the JR station. We finally reached the town area, and found its relaxed atmosphere refreshing. We went straight for Togetsukyo Bridge (which was featured in an episode of K-ON!!), then backtracked to Tenryuji temple. While the temple itself had nothing that immediately stood out; its central garden, the hallway to the altar at the back, and the interior which is visible to the public gave the temple a very calm and peaceful atmosphere. Probably also helped that it had less people compared to some of the earlier temples we had visited.
Arashiyama and Tenryuji Temple
After Tenryuji, we walked along the main roads towards Adashino Nenbutsuji. The walk was longer than I thought (about 30-40 minutes). By the time we did arrive, Adashino Nenbutsuji was already closed! While I was a bit disappointed, we laughed it off and took a different route back to the train station. This time, we walked the Bamboo Grooves, which is a short 10-20 minute walk along a path lined with Bamboo trees. We did also passed a nice quiet lake and old specialty shops along the way. I had however completely forgotten to remove my UV filter despite it being such a cloudy day, and as a result most photos came out dull and dark.
We returned back to the city area to meet one of my friends from Fukui. However, he had a dentist appointment and ended up being very late. Nonetheless, there was still plenty to do around Kyoto Station. We visited the Kyoto Tower (first time I went up there despite being in Kyoto twice before), and visited several shops around the station. When my friend came, we requested that we go somewhere that has plenty of vegetables for dinner due to having a lack of greens over the past few days. We ended up going to a buffet restaurant, and was perhaps the worst meal I had of the whole trip as most of the food was cold, was mostly finished, and was pretty darn pricey (though my friend paid for it…which made me feel even worse). But either way, it was great catching up with my friend again, and it was yet another great but exhausting day of travelling overall.
Subway from Kyoto JR Station to Imadegawa Station – 250 yen
Train from Nijo Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station – 190 yen
Train from Saga-Arashiyama to Kyoto Station – 230 yen
K’s House Kyoto (Triple private room) – 2,900 yen
Breakfast from convenience store near accommodation – 360 yen [Yakisoba-Pan, Melon-Pan and Oolong Tea]
Lunch along Oike Dori – 690 yen [Korean chicken dish]
Fruits and Pocky from Kyoto Isetan – 454 yen
Souvenir at Imperial Palace – 500 yen [Charm]
TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
6,944 yen (147,159 yen total)