Exploring Kyoto – Part 1 (Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Nishiki Market, Kinkakuji Temple & Gion)

I still remember coming across the picture of Arashiyama Bamboo Forest when doing a lifestyle based assignment at work a few years back. It looks like an enchanted forest to me & I was mesmerised by its beauty & tranquility. It didn’t help that I kept on seeing the similar pictures in my social media channels timeline.

I can’t shake my mind off this bamboo forest & I decided that I MUST go see it – which leads me to plan on my Japan trip.

The morning that I stepped out to explore Arashiyama was colder than usual. It was 7°C. Average temp would be around 10° – 12°C normally. I took the Randen train to Randen Saga-Arashiyama & I must say that this train station is a pretty one, with lots of shops surrounding it.

To go to the Bamboo Forest, just turn to the right at the station exit & walk in 10 minutes. You will pass by the entrance of Tenryu-ji Temple first, then just walk further up & you will see the Bamboo Forest entrance on the left. Now get ready to be blown away by its beauty & zen-nes:

Chikurin – it means ‘bamboo forest’
Bucket list ticked

I am supposed to visit the Togetsu-kyo Bridge as well while I am here, but my phone camera kinda screwed up while in the Bamboo Forest & left me feeling a bit down that makes me forget to visit the bridge -__- Oh well, this is an excuse to come back here, right? 😉

Strolling around the area
Autumn colours
Nonomiya Temple
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Nonomiya Temple
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With the Jap school kids

Eateries & shops are abundant around this area. Just make sure you allocate an ample time to explore.

How to go here: Stop at Randen Saga-Arashiyama station (10 minutes walk)

Tips: Be early! If you want to take good pictures (without the crowd) and wants to enjoy the solitude of the bamboo forest, be here by 7AM – 8AM. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight dodging the sea of people that will start to flood this place by 9AM

I left the bamboo forest around noon to get my lunch at Ayam-Ya near Kyoto station. This is a halal certified eatery & one of the best ramen that I have ever eaten! So please drop by here to eat when you are in Kyoto.

The next stop – Fushimi Inari

Oh my goodness.

Entrance of the shrine

This was another breath-taking place that I have ever visited. The sight of the endless Torii gate was so magical. It was quite a walk up the hill & I did not managed to climb up to the top. Just half way.

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How to go here: Stop at Inari station (the shrine is just in front of the station exit)

On the next day, my destination is Nishiki Market, Kinkakuji Temple & Gion!

I made my way to Nishiki market & arrived there at 9AM. This market is located in the middle of the city, towards the back of a long stretch of modern shopping street.

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Nishiki market

There are a lot of yummy goodies that you can find here, but I must say that is has a different vibe than Kuromon Market back in Osaka.

I wandered around the market trying some foods & I came across another shopping stretch just beside the market – Teramachi Street. Saw Tully’s Coffee & I sat down in the shop to drink my compulsory daily morning coffee.

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After coffee, I made another round inside the market & then proceed to my next stop – Kinkakuji Temple.

I went to Kitaoji station & took my first bus ride in Kyoto to the temple. As I arrived at the front of the temple entrance, I am impressed by its beautiful autumn colours. But as I approached the temple after paying the entrance fee (400 yen), all I can see was a sea of people flocking in front of the lake where the temple is located -__-

Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful temple, covered in gold leaves all over.

Kinkakuji temple
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The Golden Pavillion

As the sun down was approaching, I made my way to Gion. I went back to Kyoto station & thinking of taking the bus to Gion. But the line was sooo long & I have decided to take the train instead.

It was already dark by the time I arrived in Gion. It is just me or the sun disappeared so fast in Japan?

For dinner, I went to Naritaya since the restaurant is around this area. The chicken karage was amazing but sadly the Miso ramen was just so-so.

I walked around a little bit more to burn off the calorie & stumbled upon Kamogawa river. I have forgotten that Kamogawa river was in Gion. I finished off my walk in Gion with more shopping & ice cream (I did not managed to spot any Meiko or Geisha anyway).

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Kamogawa river, where locals hang out
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Soft serve ice cream

Tips: I recommend visiting Gion at both day & night to experience different vibe here

How to go to Gion: Take bus no. 100 or 206, or take the train & stop at Gion Shijo station

Useful info:

Train, Bus, Shinkansen, Airplanes schedule/route: Hyperdia

Info on Passes in Osaka: http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/plan/practical_information/travel_passes/, http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357_kansai.html

Info on Passes in Kyoto: http://www.insidekyoto.com/special-kyoto-bus-train-subway-passes

Offline Map: maps.me (App Store)

Free Wifi in Japan: Japan Wi-Fi, Travel Japan (App Store)

Halal food guide in Japan: Halal Gourmet Japan, Halal Navi, MusNavi, Halal Media Japan, HHWT (App store)

Japan Group info in Facebook: Road To Japan

Accommodation: Airbnb (App Store – sign up using my ID here to get RM90 off your first Airbnb stay!)


2 thoughts on “Exploring Kyoto – Part 1 (Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Nishiki Market, Kinkakuji Temple & Gion)

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