Stories

The Peaceful City – Kyoto

Hi everyone,

As we know that Japan is one of most favorite countries to be visited by most tourists in all over the world in the holiday season, especially Indonesian tourists. Why? Because this country has a strong cultural value that are expressed in their building, including temples, castle and other general building. We also can feel the culture from the citizens’ behavior and their art & culture. Therefore,we are not only able to see the culture but we also can feel it. And it is so great! During the big days, most of Japanese wear their traditional fashion (Kimono) while they visit the temples to pray. There were a crowd in temples with people, who queue to pray. I love to see their fashion and the way they pray. Japan also has various creative and unique place and attraction and culinary. And the flight ticket to Japan from Jakarta is relatively cheaper than previous years and also the accommodation rate is also affordable.

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In this post, I’d like to share my story about my traveling experience to Kyoto, Japan. I really love this city. It was not so crowded and most of people were polite, even in the train stations. This situation make me feel so comfort and feels at home. My cousin and I stayed in the small hostel near the Kyoto station, but I forgot the name of the hostel though. We prefer to stayed in the hostel because the strategic location near Kyoto station and bus stops, which would make us easier to travel everywhere within the city. The other reason why we stayed in this hostel was there were many International tourists stayed in there, it means the hostel staffs were able to speak English. So, we were not facing any language barriers. The hostel was located in the small tidy street with traditional houses alongside. Every time we wanted to go to the Kyoto station, we had to pass those houses and I felt like I was in my grandmother house.

This city was so clean as they have the regulation for not smoking in the whole city but they provided the proper smoking area with exhaust fan for better circulation in every meter. So, both non-smoking and smoking persons were not harmed each other.

There are some information about the places in Kyoto that we visited during our holiday:

Kyoto Station

This was the place that we visited regularly to catch a train or a bus and we also searched for our dinner in this station. This station is big enough as they are not only provide the train/bus transportation services but also numbers of shops, pharmacy, restaurants, visitor centers, and other facilities. Kyoto station itself is a major transportation hub in Western Japan. As I said previously, this was our main reason why we stay nearby this station as we could reached it by foot.

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Kyoto Station

The atmosphere in the station was always crowded until late and we were so happy because we could walk through the station without any fears. However, the restaurants and shops were closed around 8 to 10 PM. One interesting thing that we found during food searching in Kyoto station was the design changing in the large and stairs with some effects. This creativity attracted many visitors to have a photo shoot in each design and all of us were on a queue naturally.

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Creative Stairs

Kyoto Tower

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The viewing platform

Kyoto Tower is an observation tower with the height of 100 meters tall for its observation deck. It is located just opposite Kyoto station and is able to be reached by crossing the main road. There were a lot of tourists visited Kyoto Tower to see Kyoto city landscape from above. I like this place because I can see the temple accross the area and it is so beautiful. The viewing platform is open for public between 9 AM to 9 PM with no more than 8.40 PM for the entrance. The admission would be 770 yen per person. In my opinion, it will better if you go to the viewing platform when the sky is clear because you will see the clear vision of Kyoto city and also Osaka. 

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The pathway in the bamboo groove

This is one of the Kyoto’s top sight that most tourist come here to feel the beauty of the place. However, there will be very crowded, especially in the pathway of the Bamboo grove because people definitely pass the area for entry and exit. During the walk through the bamboo grove, there are many sights that we can enjoy and feel the beauty. So, we won’t realise that we already walk that far. I will share some photos that I took a long the way in Arashiyama bamboo grove. 

The beautiful small temple near the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove entry gate

I actually didn’t know the name of this temple. It is not big as other temples but it has a beautiful and neat atmosphere. It is located near the entry gate of the bamboo grove. It was easy to be found because the orange colour was so bright and welcoming most visitors. There were a lot of people came here to pray but many tourists interest to take some photos. 

The entry gate of the small temple

The entry gate of its temple also unique but simple. It showered the culture of its area. The funny thing was the long queue happened outside the gate just to took some beautiful photos at the gate with the temple building surround. I had to wait for about 5-10 minutes just to pose for a 2 seconds. 

At first, we did not know about this beautiful accessories and cards that were arrange neatly inside the temple. We tried to find the information about this but most of them were written in Kanji. But after we looked at some people took this cards before they pray, finally knew that it was part of their pray. The words within the cards were what they wished for. That would be our summary based on our vision.

We continued our walk and enjoying the atsmophere and beautiful scenery. Then, we found the small pathway with very neat stairway. We did not have any ideas about the place inside. We thought that there would be the beautiful spot. We took some photos and began to explore the area within. Then we found the cemetery complex. It is very neat and organize. And is very big area although it is a bit dark inside. The view at the back is a mountain.

The stairway goes to the Cemetery

The cemetery

We finally arrived at Tenryu-ji Temple that is located inside the Arashiyama area. It is a beautiful Zen temple with finest garden in Kyoto and with beautiful mountain view. The air is really fresh and the peaceful feeling can be gathered in this temple. We spent about 30 minutes to 1 hour in this temple only to observed the garden, the pond, the main hall and the building inside. The admission itself is 500 Yen per person. In getting more detail information about the temple history and the area inside, we We joined the tour provided in the temple. We walked around the temple and observing the area inside. 

The garden is very arranged and if you walk around the garden, you will find the Sogenchi Pond in the center. The scenery itseld has two hills, Kame-yama and Arashi-yama. Honestly, you have to explore this temple when you visit rhe Arashiyama bamboo grove.

The Tenryu-ji Temple

The beautiful building inside The Tenryu-ji Temple

The building and rooms in the Tenryu-ji temple are also have the typical Japanese building with a strong culture. As the example, there are the rooms that have different purposes based on the class level of people. They differentiate the room with different type of Ryokan that used in each room. 

One of the room inside the The Tenryu-ji Temple

Kiyomizudera Temple

This was one of my wish that should be accomplished when I traveled to Kyoto, Japan. It’s a Kiyomizudera temple. It can be reached easily by bus number number 100 or 206 at the Hakubutsuka-Sanjusangendo- Mae bus stop (Sanjusangendo line if you catched the bus from the Kyoto station). Then, you get off at the Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. There was an area map, including the way goes to the Kiyomizudera temple. The way goes to the temple is uphill and we took about 45 minutes to 1 hour just to reach the temple. It was so tiring but I’ve got a solution for it.

The correct choice of district!

There are two district that we can walk through from the Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. You better choose the Higashiyama District (on the left side of the road). It is a 2 kilometres long and locates between the Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizudera. It won’t be a boring walk because there are numbers of temples, restaurants, souvenir shops and cafes along that road. The shops around that area are normally open around 9 AM and close around 5 PM.

So, you can have a rest everytime you feel tired of walking. And there are so many positive distractions along the way as each snack shops often offered numbers of food tester and we were allow to have that. So, we can fill our stomach within our way for free! 

The food shops in Higashiyama District 

However, we choose the wrong district, but we forgot the name of the district. It is in the right side of the road when you face two lines in the intersection. This is the housing complex along the way. It is a very beautiful complex though but it is really boring because we had to walk through without any interesting spot that can be visited.

The housing complex

Kiyomizudera Temple

Finally, we arrived at the Kiyomizudera temple after a long walk. It is a beautiful temple and when you reach top of the hill you can have a view of cherry and maple trees below and also you can see the Kyoto city from distance. 

The view from top of the hill

We continue to explore more inside the Kiyomizudera temple area. It is a very interesting area and there are a lot of Japanesse wear the traditional fashion. They were very friendly while I asked them to took a photo with me. I think that is a tradition for Japanese to wear a traditional clothes in celebrating their cultural big day. 

Traditional Fashion Tradition

The area inside the Kiyomizudera Temple

Beautiful pathway

Otowa Waterfall

The Otowa Waterfall

When we walked through inside the Kiyomizudera from the main hall, we got attracted with a long queue of people waiting in the Otowa Waterfall. It was so interesting point for me because the waters are divided into three streams separately based on benefits that people will get in each stream, such as success, longevity and a fortunate love life. Visitors are required to drink the water from a cup and it’d better if they choose the prefered stream. 

I was interested to join the queue but it was too long whereas we still had to visited another places. So, we decided to continue our walk.

Jishu Shrine

Jishu Shrine

We saw this shrine in many traveling brochure and I determined to visit this place and took some photos. This shrine is dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. There were a lot of people pray inside the shrine. The story would be if we are able to find the way from one stone to another stone that are located in front of the shrine, it means the luck in finding love. That’s so interesting.

Gion

Gion Area

Gion area is the famous Geisha’s district. So, it’d be the best place if we want to meet Geisha. We went to Gion area after we visited Kiyomizudera temple. So, we arrived there around 7 PM. There are some private restaurants in that area but we find hard to take photos with Geisha. They always ran everytime they saw visitors. So, we didn’t any photos with them.

Cute display in Gion area

There are a lot cultural places that we can visit while in Japan. My tips for you are plan the visit within one line. It will be convenient for you and it won’t waste your time. 

Thanks for reading.

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