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Japan Diaries 2: Day 5

Day 5 (May 21, 2018)

We woke up to yet another beautiful day. The weather is great, perfect for our planned activities for today. 

To familiarize ourselves with the place where we will live for another three days, our plan for today is to have a walking tour around Kyoto Station which is quite near our place. I told my wife that she should be prepared to walk the whole day and I'm happy that she agreed. (Well that's one less problem for me).

The Kyoto City Bus Passenger Station

< On the side note, my wife has been planning to meet up with Gil, her long-time Filipino friend who happened to have settled in Kyoto City after marrying a Japanese. However, it was a challenge for us to coordinate our moves with her as we did not avail of any pocket WIFIs or roaming numbers for our mobile devices. Regardless, we'd get to meet Gill as the story progresses... >
Well well well... Look at what we have here!

We left our Airbnb residence early so that our energy won't be quickly drained by the heat of the sun. Based on our itinerary, our first destination would be Toji (Temple) but it opens at 8:30AM and it's just 6:30AM. Hence, we looked for a place to eat some breakfast first.

While on the hunt, we passed by the Kyoto City Bus Passenger Station. I got to buy my daughter two days worth of Kyoto City Bus One-day Pass. (My wife and I already bought ours yesterday). 

My meal in Yoshinoya

Look who enjoyed her meal.

We continued on our way to Toji (Temple) still looking for a place to eat breakfast. I was a bit frustrated as I did not include a "where to eat" section in the itinerary but it seems like good fortune was on our side today as there was a very familiar signage a few blocks away from the bus passenger station... Lo and behold, it's a Yoshinoya restaurant! Of all restaurants, it was one of the Japanese restaurants that my wife and I frequent in the Philippines (oh and did I mention that it was her favorite).
The Kondo as seen from Nandaimon gate

Our visit was perfectly (accidentally) timed with the Kobo-Ichi

After a hearty meal, we proceeded to Toji (Temple) and arrived there almost half an hour after it opened (yup, we ate that long). I included the temple on the list as it's one of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kyoto. We happen to visit on a special day as the temple grounds were transformed into a flea market. This flea market is locally called "Kobo-Ichi" after the famed monk Kobo Daishi. It was quite tempting to purchase something but the large crowd was draining our energy. 

Toji's famed 5-story pagoda

Time for a picture!

After getting my goshuin, we proceeded to see the temple's famed Toji five-story pagoda which is one of the National Treasures of the temple. We had to pay 500 yen per person to enter its "special" area where one can see the picturesque Hyotan Pond and have a closer look at the pagoda. I was awestruck upon seeing its famed pagoda personally. I can't believe that I was seeing the pagoda with my own eyes as I had been googling about it a lot of times in the past. After checking out the "special area", we decided to rest a bit near the ticket office before leaving Toji (Temple). To our surprise, there was FREE WIFI. My wife got the chance to communicate with Gil and we finalized our plan to meet her at Umekoji Park which is 1.2 kilometers away. 

The map of Umekoji Park

Killing time, in front of the Kyoto Aquarium

Ella and I went hunting for monuments.

After walking for 20 minutes or so, we arrived in front of the Kyoto Aquarium in Umekoji Park. Since we arrived first, Ella and I went monument hunting at the Kyoto-Umekoji Area. It was like an I-Spy game promoted by the local tourism office of the city. We managed to locate several of these small monuments (using the map of the said activity that we got in the Kyoto Aquarium). Gil and her son arrived a few minutes later and after a brief catch up chat, we decided not to go inside the Kyoto Aquarium and just explore Umekoji Park instead. 

Let's eat at Koboshi Ramen restaurant

My lunch for today

We allowed the kids to play in a nearby playground for some time. We were then invited by Gil to her home which we gladly accepted (as it was freaking hot and humid already). Before, going there, we ate ramen for lunch at Kobushi (restaurant).  Gil's place was about 20 -30 minutes away by foot. While walking to her home we found out that each bus stop is equipped with free WIFI (something that would surely be helpful in the following days).  Going to her home was really a good decision as we got to rest and improve our itineraries for today and the following days. 
Let's go ride on the historic Randen

Welcome to Arashiyama Station


That afternoon, we decided to head to Arashiyama. We rode the Keifuku Randen from Sai station to Arashiyama Station. We paid 230 yen pax but our children were free because they were below 5 years old. Upon arriving at Arashiyama Station, we walked a bit until we reached Tenryuji which was another UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kyoto City. Sadly, I was not able to fully explore it and get a goshuin because it was already closed when we arrived, but then again, I was able to take photos of most of its important infrastructures.

Checked out the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Thank God we visited in the afternoon

We soldiered on as it was getting dark already. Onwards we walked and continued our stroll to our main objective... Arashiyama's famous Bamboo Groves or the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The good thing about visiting on an afternoon of a weekday is that there were only a handful of people around. There were times that we felt that the place was exclusive to us. 

Arashiyama Park Kameyama Area

The picturesque (and clean Oi River)

Checking out the Oi River

Next time we'll try to ride the Arashiyama tsuten...

... and the ebisuya

The historic Togetsukyo Bridge

After passing through the Bamboo Forest (where most of the tourists are) and walking several minutes inside the Arashiyama Park Kameyama Area, we found ourselves at a cemented pathway beside the banks of Hozu River which is also called Oi River. There were some Arashiyama Tsusen (traditional boats) parked along the river banks and some Ebisuya (rickshaws) that were parked along the road. After several more meters of walking towards the main road, we saw the Togetsu-kyo Bridge which is the landmark of Western Kyoto's Arashiyama District for over a hundred years. We didn't cross it though but instead walked back to the Keifuku Arashiyama Station because it's already late in the afternoon. While waiting for the train, we got the chance to check out the Kimono Forest in the station vicinity.

Strolled in the Kimono Forest

Checked out the Pond of the Dragon

We enjoyed the day thanks to our friend Gil

We agreed to meet Gil again the following day and bid her and her two kids "mata ashitane" as we separated ways at Sai Station. A few bus rides later, we were back home too. 

Riding the Randen back home...

Overall, it was a jam-packed day. I felt quite accomplished as we have visited two UNESCO World Heritage Sites today and several other famous tourist destinations. I can't really hide the fact that I'm very excited about tomorrow as our itinerary would bring us to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

PREVIOUS: Japan Diaries 2: Day 4

NEXT: Japan Diaries 2: Day 6


  1. Great way for us to know to print C

  2. Looks like a really neat place to visit! I love all your photos!

  3. Looks like a really nice place. My advice as a fellow blogger though is better quality pictures :) Or at least more sharp ones.

    Pond of dragons looks amazing!

  4. I love the pictures and it shows that you did enjoy yourself.

  5. Looks like fun! Great photos of your adventures too.

  6. Japan is definitely on my bucket list! Great post!

  7. This sounds like such an amazing trip

  8. Japan is such a great place, with full of different cultures. Such an amazing place to visit.Loved all your photos.

  9. Japan is on our bucket list. We are planning to visit Japan in 2019. Ho do you like it Bamboo Forest?

    1. I love its beauty thank goodness there were only a handful of people when we visited.

  10. I really love all of the beautiful colors. Really takes me back to my trip to the bamboo forest!

  11. Your images are Instagram worthy, Japan has all these interesting places. I’m always looking forward to your post.

    1. Thank you reveler. I'm also looking forward to more of your comments.

  12. Looking at your photos, you guys surely enjoyed your trip. Japan really is so beautiful most especially Kyoto. Pangarap ko din mag Arashiyama. Anyways, I have long BOOKMARKED your page! Thanks a whole lot for always posting detailed narratives of all your trips. I truly appreciate that.

    1. Salamat Sheena. =) For sure makakapunta ka din diyan. =)

  13. Thanks for bringing back the memories of this amazing city! Nice post!

    1. You're welcome Sreekar. =) Thank you for visiting.

  14. It's a great experience to visit such a beautiful place gifted by nature.Really Love it .

  15. That is such an amazing trip to Japan! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Kimono forest looks so pretty. We went to Japan pavilion in Epcot recently and the buildings they have designed are pretty similar

  17. Kyoto seem to be a nice place. I had a pen friend years ago from that place. I love all the pics of the temple but my favorite is kimono forest.

    1. You should visit your friend Charu. Japan is better seen personally.

  18. Kyoto is one of the best place to visit in Japan, which houses the old world and still looks magical for me.

    1. Same here. I would surely come back to Kyoto City someday. =)

  19. Some of my friends recommended Japan. And your blog just explained why . It is wonderful

  20. Japan is one place we are dying to vists

  21. Japan's culture and structures never failed to amaze me. It's definitely in my bucket list.

  22. I love Japan. I miss shushi and ramen in Japan. you photos are really cool


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