3 Days in Kyoto, Japan

Woohoo!! going to Kyoto Baby!! From what I’ve learned, Kyoto was once the capital of Japan.  Many of the well known Buddhists temples, gardens, imperial palaces and other shrines are located there.  I’m really excited to reach the city.  I have this fond for ancient things.

Day 1

We started our trip from Tokyo station, boy it’s a big station.  We’ll be using the Shikansen, well it’s the word for Japanese Bullet trains.  I’ve used these type of trains before in China, but this is like the first time for my parents.  They are super excited.  I heard the train will travel around 300-350 km/h and we’ll reach Kyoto in 2 hours.

After we got into Kyoto Station, we headed to Gojo Station which is only one station away fortunately.  As soon as we got out, this is what we saw.  A person told me that the streets in Japan is soo clean that you could even sleep on it.  Well no shit, look at the river, crystal clear as hell.  I could even see some fishes.  I mean come on!! It’s a big city with crystal clear rivers?  In my home country in the Philippines, if you drink the water from the river in Manila, I guarantee you that you won’t live to see the next day.

Yasaka Shrine

You really have to visit this place,  it is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto.  and if you do, try before sunset and you may be able to see some pretty Japanese ladies in Kimono.  Unfortunately, we didn’t arrive in time 😥

The first thing that grabs your attention as you reach the Yasaka Shrine is the Sairo-mon, a massive and at the same time very beautiful lacquered vermilion-colored gate. The gate is one of the Seven Wonders of the Yasaka Shrine, and legend has it that neither do rain drops stick to it nor can spiders spin their webs on it. Get a superb view of Shijo Street as you go up the steps behind the gate. View the Hondo, the main shrine. This shrine is 15 meters tall and about 1320 square meters. This has 2 structures inside it: the Honden and also the Haiden, the offering shrine. The gion-zukuri structural formation is named after this structure. View the beautiful statues of the main deities of this shrine: Susano-no-mikoto, his wife Kushiinada-no-mikoto, and their son Yahashira-no-mikoto. Walk across to the east of the Honden to see the Utsukushi-gozensha dedicated to 3 goddesses. Other sights to see here include the Shamusho or shrine office, the Ishitorii or stone gateway that is present at the shrine’s southern entrance, and the Maruyuma Park.

Get There and Around

You can get to the Yasaka Shrine by bus – get down at the Gion stop, which is about 20 minutes from Kyoto Station – or train: go to the Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line or the Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line. Another option is to walk from Kiyomizudera through Higashiyama district, which takes a maximum of half an hour.

Depending on where you are coming from, in my case, we came from the Gion Shijo station which is around 15 minutes walk to the temple, you may see the street looking like this.

Day 2

The next day, decided to visit the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.  Gotta get up early cause my parents wants to visit some imperial palace.  So started my day early and headed to a nearby train station.

 

Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan and is located in Southern Kyoto on the mountain of Inari-san. It is considered one of the most popular, and definitely one of the most important, shrines dedicated to the Shinto god of rice, Inari. The shrine is the headquarters of the over 40,000 Inari shrines across Japan. This shrine has been there from before Kyoto became the capital of Japan in 794

Built by the Saka clan in around the year 711, the shrine is beautiful and has a lot to offer to tourists. There are statues of foxes across the shrine, because the fox is thought to be the messenger of Inari. You enter the shrine through the Romon Gate and get to the Honden, the main building, and the other buildings inside the shrine complex. Once you are done seeing the shrine, head to the back to see the spectacular sight of thousands of tori gates lining what looks like a trail on either side. There are more than 5,000 torii gates, all in a bright orange color, donated by various individuals and organizations. They start out as two parallel rows of tori gates, known as Senbon Torii. Hike up the mountain if you wish to – that is what many tourists come here for, and visit some of the other shrines along the way as well. You can snack up along the way at the numerous cafes and restaurants that are there.

 

Get There and Around

You can reach the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine by train. Start from Kyoto station and get down at the second station from there – the JR Inari Station. The shrine is just outside the station. This route takes a mere 5 minutes in all from Kyoto station.

 

Kyoto Imperial Palace

The Kyoto Imperial Palace or Kyoto Gosho is one of the most important monuments in Kyoto and all of Japan. It was where the family of the Emperor of Japan resided till 1868, when Kyoto was the capital of Japan. The Imperial Palace can be found in the Kyoto Imperial Park (Kyoto Gyoen). This park in the heart of Kyoto city also has a few other important attractions, including the Sento Imperial Palace

The entire Palace complex is surrounded by high walls and has a number of gardens, halls, and other structures. The main structures inside the Kyoto Imperial Palace include the Hall for State Ceremonies or Shishin-den, the Emperor’s Habitual Residence or Seiryo-den, the Court Room or Ko-gosho, the Imperial Study or o-gakumonjo, and residences of the Empress and some of the high-ranking members of the aristocracy. While you are not allowed to enter the Kyoto Imperial Palace, you can see the structure in its entirety from the outside. You have a number of other structures that you are allowed entry into inside the Kyoto Imperial Park. Visit the Kaninnomiya Mansion, a small shrine that is a branch of the Itsukushima Shrine of Miyojima, and the Konoe Pond.

Get There and Around

You can reach the Kyoto Imperial Palace by subway: it is just a 10-minute ride by subway from Kyoto Station along the Karusuma Subway Line. You can get off at the Marutamachi Station or Imadegawa Station, though the latter is closer to the location.

Day 3

Kiyomizudera Temple

Officially known as Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (Pure Water Temple in English), this is a temple in the eastern part of Kyoto. It is one of the most popular temples in all of Japan and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site since 1994. Founded in 778 in the early Heian Period, the current main hall was built in 1633. The temple gets its name from the waterfall which can be seen inside the temple complex.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is famous for the wooden stage that projects out from the main hall. The stage is supported by 139 pillars and affords a grandiose view of Kyoto town. There are many important cultural monuments inside the massive temple complex spread across 130,000 square meters. Check out the ravine below the main hall; it has a rich aggregation of cherry and maple trees. Inside the main hall you find a statue of an eleven-faced Kannon with a thousand arms. Go behind the main hall and see the Jishu Shrine dedicated to the god of love and also of matchmaking. At the bottom of the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera Temple is the Otowa Waterfall which has water split into 3 streams, with 3 separate benefits attached to them: success in studies, long life, and success in love. Do not miss out on the other structures in the temple complex – the Okuinon Hall, the Koyasu Pagoda, halls dedicated to Shaka Buddha and Amida Buddha, and a hall with 200 statues in honor of Jizo. There are also temples and pagodas outside the temple complex.

If you go there before sunset, you may encounter some ladies in their traditional kimono 😉

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Get There and Around

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is accessible by bus in 15 minutes from Kyoto Station. You can also travel by train to the Kiyomizu-Gojo station on the Keihan Railway Line, from where the temple is a 20-minute walk.

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