Tuesday, July 18, 2017

[kansai region] A day trip to Kyoto

Kyoto has to be my favorite city within the Kansai region, and it was once the capital of Japan. Kyoto is famous for many classic aspects of Japan, such as various Shinto and Buddhist Shrines, and the very well-known Geisha. Geishas are Japanese female entertainers that are experts in traditional Japanese songs, dance and performing as host of the ancient Japanese tea ceremony. They are mainly found in the Gion District of Kyoto! We made use of our JR passes that we had purchased previously in Singapore, and we took the JR train from Namba to Kyoto which took about 45 minutes of travelling on the special rapid train service.

 
 
Upon reaching Kyoto, our first stop was to Fushimin Inari Shrine! The shrine is located just next to JR Inari Station, and it is famous for it's huge number of Torii Gates! Passing through these gates will lead you on a trail that goes through a forest, up to the peak of sacred Mount Inari!
 







There are many fox statues as they are thought to be divine messengers!









 We did a short hike using the trails, which started with two dense, parallel rows of gates. 











The hike up to the summit of the mountain took about 2-3hours. 



 
We had some street snacks for lunch before heading to another attraction. (While we had an abundance of these snacks back in Dotonburi in Osaka, I would like to say that the quality and taste of the snacks here were exquisite as well. Especial attention would be given to the Yaki-Soba, which are fried Japanese Soba Noodles. I thought it was great, as the price was reasonable, and baby finished it up voraciously! There are various other items there too, such as Grilled Octopus! I would try these at the very least if I returned!




I also picked up some souvenirs and charms too. Surprising, there was quite a fair amount of shop to visit. My favorite loot was the limited edition Craftholic in Kyoto bag charm/key-ring. 


 
Another great place in Kyoto is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. This is THE most dense bamboo forest I've ever been to. Just imagine being in MacRitchie Reservoir, but replace all our local foliage and fauna with bamboo! Further, the bamboo here towered over everything, such that it was pretty shady and dark when one enters the forest!












I love this place, as it was very calm and tranquil, and it really lifted up my spirits while walking through the forest.




 


As night fell pretty early due to Winter Season, we left the forest after a short while, and headed to Gion District, Higashiyama-Ku to have our quick dinner. 





We shared some warabi Mochi for dessert after our dinner, and I noticed Kyoto is quite into Matcha. Every single dessert dish had a form of Matcha or has sprinkled with Matcha powder!


 
One must come to watch the Geisha when visiting Gion. Hence, we went to Gion Corner to purchase our tickets to watch a traditional Japanese Geisha performance. The cost was quite significant ; 2,500 Yen per person! However, this is a discounted price as tourists are given a special rate.


The show took about an hour, and 7 various kinds of traditional Japanese art was shown. These ranged from a Kyogen classic comedy, performed by male jesters, to the Kyomai Dance and Tea Ceremony, which naturally, was performed by the Geisha. The show is very popular with Japanese and foreign tourists.

 
I was glad to have attended the show, as it was really an eye opener for me! I nearly missed it, but Baby was insistent we catch the show and firmly took my hand and did not allow me to hesitate! After the show, we were given the opportunity to take a photo with the Geisha/Maiko Dancer!


Thanks for popping by to my space! To see or know more about my travel experience, do stay tuned to my blog! My next write up will be about Kobe! 

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