From Kyoto to Tokyo, Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur, Then Back Home

Since it was our last day in Japan, we decided to sleep more. We had late breakfast and followed by checking out. Then we took bus to Kinkakuji temple. However there was no direct bus, we had to change many buses, and the waiting time for bus was too long, and there was a lot of traffic on that day. So, 5 stops before Kinkakuji, I decided to make a turn back because I calculated the remaining time and felt that we didn’t have time to visit the temple anymore. So we took bus to Shijo Kawaramachi and had lunch there. After lunch, we went back to hotel to get our luggage. We then took bus to Kyoto Station to catch our 2.59 pm shinkansen train to Tokyo. We arrived at the platform 1 hour earlier, so we just sit on the bench and waited for our train. It was almost 4 hour journey to Tokyo. We alighted at Shinagawa station instead of Tokyo station because the ticket allowed us to alight at either Shinagawa or Tokyo station. I chose to alight at Shinagawa because it’s closer to airport and we could take Keikyu Line that goes direct to Haneda airport. Even though it’s direct, it’s still a long way to reach airport.

Kyoto Station
Steel tusses that makes the arc roof of Kyoto Station
Platform at Kyoto Station
Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train)
Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train)

We then had dinner at Haneda Airport, international terminal. After dinner, we checked in our flight and went inside to the gate. Our flight departed about 20 mins late, but fortunately it arrived early in Kuala Lumpur, slightly before 6am. At Kuala Lumpur, I sent my mom to transit area and then quickly went to immigration, exited the arrival hall, take KLIA transit train to KLIA, and checked in my flight to go back to Singapore. Good to have met you, Japan! Sayonara!

Date visited: 25-26 July 2014

Missed Gion Matsuri Festival, Ginkakuji Temple, Path of Philosophy, Nanzenji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto

I was fully aware that 24 July is the day for Gion Matsuri Festival. However, I was not aware at all of the timing. I read from Japan Guide under main events, that the exciting part is happening on 18.00-23.00 when the streets are closed for traffic. I immediately assume that the Festival is happening on that time. And the next paragraph said the procession happens on 9.00-11.30, so I misunderstood it by thinking that the procession is at 9.00 at night! They need to revise the wordings in the website!! So in the morning, after breakfast in hotel, my mom wanted to go out but I wanted to sleep more because I feel sick. So I sent my mom to Shijo Kawaramachi. When I wanted to take bus back to hotel, it was around 9.15 am and I saw many crowds sitting on the roadside, and plenty of police officers. I thought that the people were already hogging the place to watch festival which would only happen at night. So I went back to hotel happily and take a nap until 11.

I mistakenly thought that this crowd was for the festival at night

Upon waking up and taking bath, I went to bus stop to take bus but there is notice in Japanese that has “9.00-11.30” in it, and I saw police officer was signaling to buses to avoid bus stop, so I understand that bus will not be operating from 9.00-11.30. Hence I walked to Shijo Kawaramachi (which is only 2 bus stops away). Once I arrived there, it hit me really hard! I just missed Gion Matsuri Festival because I chose to sleep!! I’m so disappointed of myself! But I had to let go and move on.. The festival was bigger on 17th July, not 24th July anyway! Lol.

Before I left the place, I snapped this photo as I mistakenly thought this is rehearsal for the festival at night

My mom and I planned to meet at 0101 building at the junction of shijo kawaramachi at 12 noon. However I was 15 mins late because I walked and not by bus. But when I reached 0101 building, she was not there. I was in panic and I thought she either got lost, or she did it on purpose. Whatever it is, I was confused and panic. I walked around frantically and then decided sit down at the appointment area. Eventually at 1pm she appeared. She said she was lost. It was a hectic day for me.

So we decided to have lunch at one of the restaurant in Shijo Kawaramachi. We had unagi rice. Then we took bus to Ginkakuji temple, and we walked through the Path of Philosophy before arriving at the temple. We visited the garden in Ginkakuji as well. From Ginkakuji temple, we followed the walking tour again towards Nanzenji temple by walking through the Path of Philosophy.

The Path of Philosophy signboard
The start of path of philosophy
View along the path of philosophy
“Moon Viewing Platform”
Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion)
The sand garden
Top of Ginkakuji temple
Continuing our journey at Philosopher’s path, canal along the path
Fish on the canal along philosopher’s path
Sanmon gate at Nanzenji temple
To the Dhamma Hall
The Dhamma Hall (Hatto) in Nanzenji temple
The ticket counter for rock garden (Hojo)

Afterwards, we took bus and train to Fushimi Inari Shrine. It was getting dark when we reach the shrine. Fortunately the shrine is always open. There’s a long row of torii gate towards the peak. We didn’t climb to the peak. Then we had ramen near the train station. After dinner, we went back to hotel to rest.

Pedestrians and vehicle drivers stopped for the train to pass
Entrance area of Fushimi Inari Shrine
One of the torii gate in Fushimi Inari
Row of torii gates in Fushimi Inari
Row of torii gates in Fushimi Inari
Row of torii gates in Fushimi Inari
Big banner to showcase their pride of being the first in one of Trip Advisor category
Flag showing pride of being Trip Advisor’s No. 1
Ramen near Fushimi Inari Shrine for dinner
Things to do in Kyoto - Path of Philosophy, Ginkakuji, Nanzenji, Fushimi Inari
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Date visited: 24 July 2014

Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera, Chion-in, Heian-jingu Shrine, Shijio Kawaramachi

We arrived in Kyoto on time, at 6.30 am. The bus dropped us in front of Kyoto Station. We took the metro to Gojo. It was difficult to travel on subway with big luggage. Upon exiting the station, we saw McDonald and decided to have breakfast there. After breakfast, we walked to Econo-Inn with the help of Google Maps. Upon reaching the hotel, we kept our luggage with the receptionist and used the hotel wifi to plan for the day’s activity. It was a nice hotel because it provides free bread and drinks from 7am-11pm. Also, there are microwave and fridge for us to use. I really like the hotel.

Our first stop was Kiyomizu-dera Temple. We bought bus pass for JPY 500 and took city bus to the temple. It was a hike to reach the temples, and the road leading to the temple are full of souvenir shops.

Entrance of Kiyomizudera temple
Steps to Kiyomizudera temple
This is a love stone. If you close your eyes and walk successfully to the other stone, you will meet your lover soon.
At far end is the other love stone
Kiyomizudera Temple
View of city from Kiyomizudera Temple
Pagoda at Kiyomizudera
Birds

After exploring the temple, my mom went for shopping along the road we came from, while I decided to sit at the bench at Sannenzaka Slope.

This is either Sannenzaka or Ninenzeka Slope

About 2 hours later, we followed Kyoto walking routes and walked through Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka Slope, visited Yasaka Shrine, Chion-in Temple, and all the way to Heian-jingu Shrine. In Heian-jingu Shrine, we visited Heian-Shrine garden with hope of seeing some flowers, however we only saw green trees throughout the garden.

Entrance of Yasaka Shrine
At Yasaka Shrine
At Yasaka Shrine
Wishes
Chion in Temple
Heian Shrine’s Torii Gate
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art near Heian Shrine
Entrance of Heian Shrine
The vast complex of Heian Shrine
Another angle of massive complex of Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine Garden
Heian Shrine Garden
Heian Shrine Garden
Heian Shrine Garden

From Heian-jingu shrine, we took bus back to kiyomizu-dera and had late lunch from one of the restaurants on the road leading to the temple.

Lunch
Lunch

After lunch, we went back to hotel to check in. The staff had cleaned our room and even moved in our luggage, that’s a very good service. Then we took bath and took a rest. At night, we decided to explore Shijo Kawaramachi. I had dinner at a cafe there. Then we took bus to Shijo Karasuma, and we follow the crowds into an alley to see the exhibition of a cart for Gion Matsuri festival. Too bad I didn’t bring camera and phone! Then we went back hotel to rest.

Temples to visit in Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, Chion-In, Heian-Jingu Shrine
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Date visited: 23 July 2014