Thursday, July 27, 2017
Day 2 - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Trip 2017 - Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally "Pure Water Temple") - How to go to Kiyomizudera Temple from Kyoto Station by public bus.
Day 2, we started our sightseeing with the famous Kiyomizudera Temple. Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. But we came at a bad time, the temple was undergoing a renovation of the roof, so the temple was covered up and we could not take a nice photo of the temple. The renovation will be completed in 2020. Opposite our hotel (Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto), was the bus terminal, we took Bus 100 from the bus terminal to Kiyomizudera Temple. The bus fare was 230 yen. The bus ride was about 10 minutes away. The map I collected from the tourism board in Singapore prior to my departure was so useful. I can alight either at Gojozaka Bus Stop or Kiyomizumichi Bus Stop and crossed over to the temple. We can use our ICOCA (IC)card or buy a one day bus pass, so do some calculations before purchase one day pass. There's is a screen and announcement in the bus to annouce the bus stop in Japanese, Mandarin and English so no problem. Need to get up the bus from the back door and exit from the front door to pay fare. No worry if you are using IC Card without sufficient money, can always top up the difference in cash and slot into the box. Lots of tourists and students visit the famous temple, unsure where to go, just follow the crowd, I use the above map as my guide. Is only short walk from the main road, about 10 to 15 minutes. Admission fee of 400 yen to the temple is required. So sad, the temple is covered up for renovation, could not take nice photo of the temple. Nice view from the top of the temple, could even see Kyoto Tower. After temple visit, we walked back the same route as we earlier took but dont walked all the way to the main road, halfway through, turn right to a small lane(see map), visit many old shophouses where there's a lot of nice souvenirs and food. Free tea and food samples too. Nice atmosphere. This is the place to buy all your Kyoto souvenirs, I bought quite a number of beautiful fans from here.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
As our hotel package does not comes with daily breakfast, we decided to have breakfast in the hotel. For guest we need pay less than 2000 yen (I think we paid around 1980 yen), for non guest need pay more than 2000 yen. Frankly speaking, unless the breakfast comes together with the hotel package, is really not worth the money to have breakfast in the hotel. So for the rest of the stay in Kyoto, we did not have the breakfast in the hotel, we went to nearby cafes.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
After a good afternoon nap, time for dinner. As it was our first time in Kyoto and being the first day and very tiring, we two old folks decided to wander around Kyoto Station (opposite our hotel). Kyoto Station was really huge and there's many malls(Isetan Shopping Mall, Porta underground dining, The Cube ). The building's futuristic design and atmosphere was conceived by the Japanese architect Hara Hiroshi. Hara's design attempts to convey historical Kyoto through a modern aesthetic. The station's large main hall with its exposed steel beamed roof, called the Matrix, is meant to reflect both the structure of the station and the grid like layout of Kyoto's street network. source. And not to miss is Kyoto Tower that's beautifully lighted at night. The tower is just next to our hotel(Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto).
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
After lunch, we decided to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine since we could not check into hotel till 3 pm. Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (5 minutes, 140 yen one way from Kyoto Station, not served by rapid trains). Please note that only the local train stop at Inari Station. (The train will have an sign to state if is local or express train). From Kyoto Station, proceed to Level Two to enter the railway station, look for Platform 9. We use our ICOCA card (IC Card) that we bought at Kansai Airport, and tap the card on the gantry gate to enter the station to board the train. It is easy to use just like our EZ link card for Singapore MRT Train. It there's insufficient money in the IC Card, there's a machine in the station to top up the card. The IC Card can also used on the bus and if there's insufficient money in the IC Card, can always pay the difference and slot into the machine in the bus. Board the local train at Platform 9 and alight two stations away at Inari Station (only 5 minutes ride). Inari Station is a very small station and the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is just opposite the train station. This shrine, dedicated to the god of rice and sake in the 8th century, also features dozens of statues of foxes. The fox is seen as the messenger of the god of grain foods, Inari, and the stone foxes are often known by the same name. ( source) The most impressive must be the over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates that wind through the hills behind Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. It's difficult to take a nice decent picture of the orange gates, so many tourists walking up and down and posing for photos. I gave up after waiting for a long time for trying to take a nice photo of the gates without anyone in it hahaha. It takes about two to three hours to climb up and down the hill so I did not attempt to climb all the way up. There's a shopping street near the temple and the train station, we need to cross over the railway track and it was nice to watch the train pass by. (See below video). On the return journey back to Kyoto Station, proceed to Platform 1 and wait for the train. Video of visit of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine and its shopping street