Japan, Day 2: Kyoto Station

I rode the train going back to Kyoto Station and from there, I was supposed to take the bus to Kiyomizudera but lo and behold, the line for that bus stop was so looooong. So bye to that idea!

I was curious what I could find at the topmost floor of Kyoto Station so I took all escalators going up.

After revisiting the Arashiyama spots I love, I was initially thinking of riding the Sagano Torokko Train but I didn’t expect the line to be that long – to the point that it reached outside the station – so nope. At least, that line proved that it is a popular activity during autumn in Arashiyama.

NOVEMBER 22, 2018

I rode the train going back to Kyoto Station and from there, I was supposed to take the bus to Kiyomizudera but lo and behold, the line for that bus stop was so looooong. So bye to that idea, too! Good thing I was able to visit it last time – on a more peaceful day in 2017 (read it here).

I was curious what I could find at the topmost floor of KYOTO STATION so I took all escalators going up.

Busy Thursday morning at Kyoto Station

I eventually reached this bell and then I saw another escalator going up. The adventure was not yet done…

View of Kyoto Station from the 6F

And then I finally reached the 7F SKYWAY – which I read about before as one of the secret spots in Kyoto Station. This tunnel is estimated to be about 50m above the central hall and it provides you a view of the station and the city.

View of Kyoto Tower Hotel
Not recommended to look down below if you’re afraid of heights

Upon exiting the Skyway, I found myself in 10F KYOTO RAMEN KOJI. This was familiar to me because it was the same area where I had ramen during our visit in Kyoto back in 2017 (read it here).

It was fifteen minutes before 11:00, the opening time for all shops in this ramen hall so I decided to already line up for MASUTANI. This ramen shop is famous for serving ramen that has a Kyoto-style taste. Its ramen has thin noodles and broth made from pork and shoyu.

I am a bit bad in describing the taste of food but all I can say is that choosing Masutani’s ramen was a good choice. I could not finish the broth though because the pork fat was too much for me.

I decided to take the other exit and take all escalators going down to the ground floor. The journey was quite long since I started at the topmost floor. I did not mind the height but it may be a bit of a challenge for acrophobic people.

Daikaidan (Grand Stairway)

Off to the next destination: Gion area!

Kansai, Day 5: Kyoto – Osaka

Our first stop for our last day in Kyoto was KINKAKU-JI (UNESCO) – also known as the “Golden Pavilion”. It is one of the famous Zen temples which has its top 2 floors covered in gold leaf. This golden structure overlooks a pond, which is a real sight to see.

Near the exit, there is a spot where one can write in an ema but what we did was light candles. There was a variety of candles depending on which one you want to wish for – career, health, and safety among others.

MARCH 10, 2017

Our first stop for our last day in Kyoto was KINKAKU-JI (UNESCO) – also known as the “Golden Pavilion”. It is one of the famous Zen temples which has its top 2 floors covered in gold leaf. This golden structure overlooks a pond, which is a real sight to see.

Near the exit, there is a spot where one can write in an ema but what we did was light candles. There was a variety of candles depending on which one you want to wish for – career, health, and safety among others.

We decided to have lunch @ KYOTO KATSUGYU – a restaurant famous for Kyoto-style Wagyu beef and aged beef; interesting for us since we were used to pork as key ingredient of the katsu. Another interesting thing about the katsu in this place is how they deep fry the beef for only 30 seconds, which results to medium-rare meat (which is my preferred done-ness!)

After our early lunch, M suggested we go to KYOTO INTERNATIONAL MANGA MUSEUM. Good thing Shu, our Airbnb host, was kind enough to let us leave our luggage in the unit longer than the check-out time. In the museum, most of the manga were in Japanese (obviously). While I could not read kanji, I still felt in awe handling physical copies of manga, especially titles that I encountered from childhood up to present. Before leaving, I bought a few souvenirs to take home, including earphone plugs with Law and Luffy from One Piece.

Time for us to head to Osaka after the short trip in the museum! It was quite confusing inside Kyoto Station because there are different platforms, depending on your destination. When we found ours, we had to figure out which side would take us to Osaka. We asked a kind Japanese lady and while she did not speak any English, when a train arrived, she motioned to us not to get inside because that was not the train bound for Osaka. We had to wait for the right one otherwise we might end up in a different place.

When we arrived in our Osaka Airbnb, we took time to rest our feet and we only went out for dinner.

[Just like in previous posts, I was supposed to share here the details of the Airbnb but unfortunately, host took down the listing already. 😦]

We went straight to Shinsaibashi-suji to check out shops we may be interested to check out on another day. Afterwards, we went to one of the ICHIRAN branches in Dotonbori. The one we went to was a different style because instead of the individual counter, there were tables for groups (ideal for family and friends).

Just like my Ichiran experience in Tokyo, I also enjoyed this one and it was interesting that we could freely talk with each other because of the set-up. We went home after finishing our big ramen bowls because the trip to Kobe would require us to leave early.

And so, Kobe day trip details on the next post! 🙂

 

LINKS TO OTHER KANSAI REGION / JAPAN 2017 POSTS:

Japan, Day 0-1: Kyoto (Higashiyama Area)

Japan, Day 2: Kyoto (Arashiyama)

Japan, Day 3: Kyoto (Fushimi, Northern Higashiyama)

Japan, Day 4: Kyoto (Central & Downtown)

Japan, Day 6: Kobe >> Osaka

Japan, Day 7: Himeji >> Osaka

Japan, Day 8: Nara >> Osaka

Japan, Day 9: Universal Studios

Japan, Day 10 (AM): Ise-shima

Japan, Day 10 (PM): Ise-shima

Japan, Day 11: Osaka

Kansai, Day 2: Kyoto (Arashiyama)

We started our 2nd day in Kyoto quite early since our goal was to get to the famous bamboo grove without the big crowd yet.

I finally understood what people meant when they said that photographs were not enough to do justice on how ethereal and beautiful SAGANO BAMBOO GROVE is. Highly recommend to go here really early! Aside from us, there was just a tourist couple so we managed to get good pictures of the place. The place was also quiet which made it perfect for a bit of reflection and relaxation time.

MARCH 7, 2017

We started our 2nd day in Kyoto quite early since our goal was to get to the famous bamboo grove without the big crowd yet. When we got off in Arashiyama Station, there was a sign which exit was for the bamboo grove but we were not sure how to get there by walking. It also started raining so the temperature became too cold to handle (at least for me).

We ended up taking a cab so that we would not risk getting lost – short ride and the driver dropped us near the entrance. The first hundred meters of the bamboo grove got us thinking why people described SAGANO BAMBOO GROVE as majestic because there were electric posts + wires blocking part of the view.

We still walked some more and stumbled upon NONOMIYA-JINJA, which is a shrine dedicated to Amaterasu and the deity of fire.

After spending a few minutes here, we decided to continue our walk along the bamboo grove but we were surprised that it was quite short. We were at the back area of Tenryu-ji and we could not find any more bamboo. We decided to walk some more and finally, we saw the bamboo area captured in most photographs.

I finally understood what people meant when they said that photographs were not enough to do justice on how ethereal and beautiful this place is. Highly recommend to go here really early! Aside from us, there was just a tourist couple so we managed to get good pictures of the place. The place was also quiet which made it perfect for a bit of reflection and relaxation time.

At the end of the path, visitors can also go to OKOCHI SANSO VILLA. Since it was too early and too cold to wait, we retraced our steps to reach the city area. We grabbed some breakfast from Lawson – onigiri, sandwich, hot coffee and tea. We were lucky that it was very near to TOGETSUKYO BRIDGE and there were vacant benches. We ate our breakfast with the bridge and Katsura River in sight.

After eating, we crossed the bridge and explored the park on one side. On the other side, we got a closer and better view of the river. There were also boats offering a cruise along the river, but I think this would be best enjoyed during the spring and fall season. Trees were still bare at the time we visited.

We wanted to buy some local sweets in Arashiyama and we decided to get help in Arashiyama Randen Station. Another surprising discovery we made here was the KIMONO FOREST. A short pathway was lined with cylinder-shaped pillars, which were designed in different colors and patterns. I read a bit more about the place afterwards (read here), and people highly recommend going here during the evening as well as the pillar are lit up.

At the end of the path, we saw a small pond with a sphere designed with a dragon. There was a small sign near the pond that said that if one dips their hands into the water, s/he will feel refreshed and will be blessed with happiness. My hands were too cold already so I did not do this but J and M went ahead since they felt they could still withstand the temperature.

We walked to TENRYU-JI (UNESCO) afterwards and bought tickets for both the garden and buildings in the area.

It is the largest temple in Arashiyama and said to be one of the best Zen temples in Kyoto. Not a surprise because the place is beautiful, and there is a spot in the main hall where one can sit and admire the garden and pond outside.

Before heading back to Kyoto Station, we bought tickets for the SAGANO SCENIC RAILWAY. We were lucky because we only had to wait a few minutes before the special train arrives. The next schedule after ours was an hour later.

We hopped on the retro-looking train when it arrived (seat numbers are assigned upon buying the ticket). It was past 1PM already and since we had not yet eaten lunch, I ate the daifuku I bought from a stall near the bamboo grove entrance.

Flavors (L-R): adzuki, ???, matcha

The ride lasted for about 25 minutes – we passed by scenic views of mountains as well as a good view of the Hozugawa River.

We only bought a one-way ticket so upon arrival at the last station, we walked going to Umahori so that we could catch a train ride back to Kyoto Station. We had our very late lunch in KYOTO RAMEN KOJI, located at the 10F Kyoto Station .

There are 10 ramen shops to choose from and this “street” (koji) boasts of housing shops that serve ramen from different parts of Japan (check out the list of ramen shops here).

Since we had different ramen preferences at that time, we decided to go our separate ways for lunch and meet at the entrance of Kyoto Ramen Koji after eating. I chose HAKATA IKKOUSHA because I was super hungry and I saw that their ramen has huge pork slices. Yay! Securing a seat was not a problem since it was still off-peak hours.

Their hakata ramen tasted really, really good that I finished the whole bowl by myself. This was on top of my additional order of karaage (which I also enjoyed BTW!).

After lunch, J recommended going to Kitano Tenmangu as she saw IG posts that a lot of ume trees there are already in full bloom. We somehow gave up already in seeing sakura so we decided to go there.

KITANO TENMANGU is a shrine dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and politician during the Heian period who is also best known as the “god of academics”. Hence, this is also a shrine where many students visit to pray for their studies and exams.

We also went to the garden of ume trees (with entrance fee but forgot how much), and it did not disappoint at all! I’ll let the pictures below do the talking. 😉

We went home afterwards and bought convenience store food for dinner. Guess we had not yet recovered from the 30,000 steps we did the day before this.

LINKS TO OTHER KANSAI REGION / JAPAN 2017 POSTS:

Japan, Day 0-1: Kyoto (Higashiyama Area)

Japan, Day 3: Kyoto (Fushimi, Northern Higashiyama)

Japan, Day 4: Kyoto (Central & Downtown)

Japan, Day 5: Kyoto >> Osaka

Japan, Day 6: Kobe >> Osaka

Japan, Day 7: Himeji >> Osaka

Japan, Day 8: Nara >> Osaka

Japan, Day 9: Universal Studios

Japan, Day 10 (AM): Ise-shima

Japan, Day 10 (PM): Ise-shima

Japan, Day 11: Osaka

Tokyo, Day 5: Akihabara and Revisiting Shibuya

We went straight to Akihabara, and Mark and I were in pure bliss because we were in the popular anime place! We visited the big DONKI (DON QUIJOTE) store first to buy all sorts of pasalubong, mainly food (instant noodles + chocolates). After that, we headed to RADIO KAIKAN and went crazy at each floor. We were not allowed to take pictures, especially in areas of action figures. T.T

JANUARY 18, 2016

We were greeted in the morning by the first snowfall in Tokyo for 2016. Toshi-san’s prediction that we would be able to experience it was right on mark. We were not able to witness the actual snowfall but seeing that much of snow was already enough to make me happy. The last time I saw snow was back in January 2014, which was also my first time to see it.

Thick snow covering the roofs of every house and building

More snow!

We started the day quite late, leaving the lodging at past 1PM. We had our late lunch in the food court of SOLAMACHI, and I picked the store which sells Japanese curry dish.

We went straight to Akihabara, and Mark and I were in pure bliss because we were in the popular anime place! We visited the big DONKI (DON QUIJOTE) store first to buy all sorts of pasalubong, mainly food (instant noodles + chocolates). After that, we headed to RADIO KAIKAN and went crazy at each floor. We were not allowed to take pictures, especially in areas of action figures. T.T The place has all sorts of merchandise for anime lovers — manga, action figures, CD copies of the shows, drawing guides, OST CDs, etc.

I wished we could have stayed longer so that we could visit more anime/manga places in Akiba. *sigh* We went to Shibuya afterwards to do some more shopping…

Hello there, Hachiko! We finally met!

Our first stop was TOKYU HANDS, which has 7 floors and per floor, it has 3 sections (A, B, C). The place sells all sorts of items — ballpens, friction pens & highlighters, brush pens, postcards, stationery, bags & wallets, cosmetics, etc. Shopaholics will definitely love this place!

I was excited and itching to go to our next destination, which was recommended by Mark since he absolutely loves the same show to… ONE PIECE MUGIWARA STORE in Parco Shibuya. YAAAYYY!!! Good thing it was just walking distance from Tokyu Hands. So happy to see huge figures of Zoro, Luffy, and Chopper outside the store. I splurged on the One Piece gachapon machines outside, and bought some more keychains inside the store. I also bought a Perona cellphone audio jack, but I AM SO SAD TO SAY THAT I LOST IT HERE IN MNL. 😥

We went to look for ICHIRAN after our shopping trip for One Piece goodies…

There was a line but we decided to stay since it seemed like we would not wait that long. We ended up sitting in separate cubicles so we were able to experience eating alone.

It was interesting how we ordered our ramen — we were asked to “create” our ramen using a vendo machine, which would let out a small paper slip after you paid for it. Then, the waiter would hand out a paper so that you can check your preferences when it comes to flavor, richness, garlic, sliced pork, green onions, original red sauce, and noodle texture. This part resembles the way Ramen Nagi in MNL does things so it was familiar to me at that point.

I liked the way they cook their ramen because it is not that salty. It was good but still not decided if that is indeed the best ramen.

We called it a night after this dinner since we still had to wake up really early the next day for Tsukiji Market.

 

LINKS TO OTHER TOKYO 2016 POSTS:

Tokyo, Day 1: Tofuro Restaurant, Hotel Monterey Akasaka, Gindaco Takoyaki

Tokyo, Day 2: Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo, Day 3: Mt. Fuji, Komagatake Ropeway, Lake Ashi + Cruise

Tokyo, Day 4: Meiji Jingu, Imperial Palace, Sensoji Temple, Ueno Park

Tokyo, Day 6: Tsukiji Market, Kawagoe, Maisen

Tokyo, Day 7: Revisiting Asakusa