#TRIPPINJAPAN (Part 3) - Kyoto Day 5, 6 and 7

6:00 PM

Amidst all the school assignments and clients work that has been piling, I'm pretty amazed at how I can still have the luxury of time to blog, game and party during the weekends. In fact, for three weeks in a row now, I have been living quite the yolo life with some of the bros (Ziman, Kelvin and co), together with Brandon of course. The past two weekends were staycations with some alcohol, and the most recent was Zouk for the very first time LOL.  I wonder what's happening this Saturday??

Anyway, here's my trip to Japan part 3 (Kyoto)!!

We spent a total of six plus days in Kyoto (Day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9), but I will be breaking up the travel in Kyoto in two parts because there's quite a lot of things worth mentioning. Among the three cities we visited, I guess Kyoto has got to be our favourite! It lives up to every single one of our expectations when it comes to traditional Japan and I really love how rustic Kyoto is.
It's also the one I'm most excited to blog about hehe. But this time, I'm going to cut down on my rants and muses and give more visuals since it must be pretty boring to see this whole chunk of words HAHA.

Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto (Shinsekai/Kusatsu)

We left Osaka in the late afternoon of Day 4, so we only arrived at our hotel in Kyoto in the late evening. Except that our hotel isn't really located in Kyoto?? It's super far off central Kyoto and we had to take a 45 minutes train ride from Kyoto Station before arriving at Kusatsu Station, where our hotel is located. But I guess every cloud has its silver lining - the scenic sights during the long train rides kept us entertained. 

Why we got a hotel so far... We didn't have a choice. Most hotels around the touristy spots were fully taken since it's the cherry blossom season and Kyoto seems to be one of the more popular tourist spots in early April. 
So, book early. Or else you'll have to suffer the terrible consequence of having to wake up 45 minutes earlier every morning. 

We spent Day 4 travelling from Osaka to Kyoto, before arriving at Hotel Bosten Plaza which is located just right outside Kusatsu station (thank god). And had an okay dinner. Nothing impressive and worth mentioning. That's about all for the remaining half of Day 4 in Kyoto.

Coffee: 350¥
Osaka Souvenirs: 3051¥
Umbrella: 150¥
Cakes (4 pax): 1111¥
Ice-cream: 220¥
Dinner: 1162¥
TOTAL: 5944¥

Day 5 - Kyoto (Nishiki/Higashimaya/Gion)

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To make up for a pretty mundane Day 4, we had a pretty kickass Day 5 packed with a whole lot of sight-seeing (and pictures). Our first stop is the Nishiki Market!

Nishiki market is basically a shopping street and market lined with all sorts of goodies from seafood to candies, and even kitchenware. They have your traditional Japanese snacks and goods, and almost everything is locally produced. Here's your best bet in getting a taste of some of Kyoto's best delicacies. It's one of my favourite places and I fell in love the moment I reached the entrance of the market. It was everything I imagined it to be. All food junkies, rejoice!! This is your paradise.

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We tried a couple of random stuff and I don't really remember the names of some but they're all sooooo good. I tried the peanut mochi, kind of expecting it to be your typical mochi but nope. The soft texture of the sweet mochi and peanut powder was certainly a marriage of flavours that hits the spot fluently. I had my first unadulterated mochi experience at the Nishiki Market for only 100¥.

Their dango was not bad, but I preferred the Hanami Dango better (the one with three colours). I absolutely love their Strawberry Daifuku, even though I hate read bean paste with a passion. That's just how good the sweet treats in Japan are!!! Their strawberries super sweet. In fact, while you're Japan, if you have any doubts about what flavoured drink/dessert/cake/whatever else to get, always go for strawberry (or Ichigo). It will never, ever, ever fail you.

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I also got a couple of sweets, cookies and souvenirs for my family while I was there. And I had three sticks of super good marinated sashimi for 200¥ each!!
I tried a couple of Sakura flavoured stuff but none of it was actually that good (with very limited exceptions of course). It convinced me that Sakura is nothing more than just a seasonal hype used as a money making gimmick.

After spending almost the entire morning at the market, we went on to visit various shrines and temples. But we were mainly touring around the Marayuma Park, Yasaka Shrine, Gion district and Higashimaya district.

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Gion is Kyoto's most famous Geisha district, and they are home to a lot of teahouses and restaurants. Sadly though, we didn't get to take any pictures with any Maikos or Geishas ): We didn't try any of the teahouses either since we were pretty bloated from all that we had at Nishiki.
There are a lot of temples and shrines in its vicinity. Trisha and I were strolling around aimlessly half the time but the scenic walk was just what we needed. I really love Kyoto for its picturesque views and photo-worthy spots.

Higashimaya, on the other hand, is a narrow district lined with wooden buildings of traditional merchant shops that evoke rustic and old vibes that resonate with the old Kyoto I have in mind based on the animes I have watched. LOL. In fact, most of the places you see in Japan are pretty well and accurately depicted in animes.
We had quite the fair share of street food, souvenirs and desserts while we're there too.

Higashimaya is also one of my favourite spots because it gives the best sunset photos since we are somewhat on the lower slopes of the eastern mountain. Just look at the photos!!
The shops were starting to close by the time we arrived because it was already evening. The majority of the shops closes around 7pm, some 9pm if you're lucky.

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We decided to stay for the night illumination for the Kiyomizudera Temple since we might not be returning to this district the next day. I'm not sure if that was the best decision though. It's 400¥ for the entrance fee and the Sakuras looked kinda different in the night. But the whole place was freezing cold and even though I had my leather jacket zipped up all the way, I was shivering down to my bones. I couldn't even take any pictures. I guess we didn't enjoy it as much as we should...

We left after going around the entire temple and that meant an hour ride back to our hotel. A hot bath is only befitting to remedy the frost from the cold walks just now. Right after that, we crashed almost instantly because day 5 has been 12 hours of non-stop walking for us.

Transport - 2000¥
Bread - 350¥
Onigiri - 119¥
Nishiki fishcake - 225¥
Dango & mochi - 175¥
Teriyaki fish - 250¥
Souvenirs - 2246¥
Grape Honey drink - 170¥
Salmon on stick - 400¥
Matcha mochi - 150¥
Cookies - 300¥
Dango & daifuku - 210¥
Matcha Meiji chocolate - 648¥
Matcha Pocky - 324¥
Fried oyster - 75¥
Sakura ice-cream - 420¥
Tandoori chicken - 250¥
Chicken karaage - 250¥
Cream custard puff - 150¥
Entrance fee - 400¥
Steamed bun - 150¥
Water - 120¥
TOTAL: 9382¥

Day 6 - Kyoto (Nijo Castle/Kyoto Station)

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We had our second pancake at a cafe located near our hotel, and it was yet again, the bomb. Japan is sooooo doing pancakes right. And pastries too. You must try them while you're there. I can't stress this enough.

We woke up kinda late so by the time we arrived at the station for the Nijo Castle, it was already noon. But while we were on the way to the castle, we came across a couple of shrines and took pictures align the way.
Right before we arrived at the entrance of the castle, we also chanced upon one of Kyoto's old candy store, selling all sorts of handmade treats from crackers to gummies and what not. There were a couple of odd stuff too but everything was packed in little glossy wraps that made it so attractive!! I bought some sweets here while Trisha got a box for her colleagues.

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The entrance fee into Nijo Castle is only 350¥ for students (oh how long more am I left with to relish in such cheap joys), and that grants you permission to explore the whole place, which is pretty huge. I was pretty intrigued by the life of the shogun in Edo Japan haha.

We spammed pictures till the castle closed at 530pm before heading to Kyoto Station for dinner! We decided to try Sushi-sei since Trip Advisor praised it as 'good and affordable' but it was actually just kind of meh?? With the exception of the unagi and fatty tuna, everything wasn't that mind-blowing and for the price we paid (I spent 3024¥ for like 10 pcs -____-), it wasn't really that satisfactory...
But that's fine because for the remaining of the Japan trip we had some pretty awesome sushi!! More about that in the posts to come :)

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We ended the night with some superb strawberry parfait and coffee beverage at some restaurant before heading back to our hotel (yet another 45 minutes ride home).

Pancake - 1404¥
Souvenir - 460¥
Nijo Castle - 350¥
Bus fare - 90¥
Sushi - 3024¥
Leggings - 162¥
Strawberry parfait - 1280¥
Transport - 2000¥
TOTAL: 8770¥

Day 7 - Kyoto (Kyoto Station)

After spending three nights at the faraway hotel located in Kusatsu, it's finally time to check out!! The only downside of it all is having to lug ridiculously heavy luggages for a horrendous 45 minutes before we were finally able to store our baggage at one of the counters at the Kyoto Station.

The good thing about Japan is that they have lockers almost everywhere you go. So you never have to worry about excess baggage or heavy loads ruining your shopping/touring experiences. You can just drop them off at one of the lockers, available in many sizes, for just a couple of yen! Trisha and I used the lockers quite a fair bit.
But this time since we had 4 heavy bags, we have them stored at one of the services counter specifically meant for luggage storage. This service is usually available at major stations.

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We pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon shopping in the malls of Kyoto Station since we haven't explored the place much.
It's also because we wanted to have our host bring us to our new apartment later in the night after his work since weren't too found of getting lost in the countryside. Our next stay is in an apartment in Arashiyama (which we found via airbnb), the western outskirts of Kyoto.

After shopping the entire afternoon away and having food from Isetan for dinner (we got ourselves sushi and trust me you must try the food from their department stores/supermarkets at least once!!), we met him at Shijo Station before taking the train to his place. And that too includes a pretty long (20 minutes) but relaxing walk.

Smoothie - 310¥
Souvenirs - 870¥
Cakes - 891¥
Nuts (gifts) - 1728¥
Sushi - 708¥
Manga - 1131¥
Bag Storage - 780¥
Pop Soda - 850¥
Dinner - 1086¥
TOTAL: 8354¥

That's pretty much for central Kyoto. I'll be covering about western Kyoto - another super scenic and breathtaking spot - in the next post!

Check out my other posts on Japan:
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN (part 1) - Japan tips
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN (part 2) - Osaka Day 1, 2 & 3
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN (part 3) - Kyoto Day 5, 6 & 7
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN (part 4) - Kyoto Day 8 & 9
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN (part 5) - Tokyo Day 10 to 17
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN - iPhone Visuals #1
▶ #TRIPPinJAPAN - iPhone Visuals #2

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