Japan Diaries 3: Day 2

Day 2 December 20, 2019

Exploring Kyoto 1


A pleasant morning from Kyoto City! I woke up quite early today because I have to go to Kyoto Station to pick up my sister who's traveling from Nagoya City to Kyoto City to join us for our adventures. 

It's Aya's first time to ride a Shinkansen! Welcome to Kyoto Aya!

Bought our Kyoto City Bus One-Day Pass

We had our breakfast before heading out to our first destination.

When she arrived, we headed to the bus terminal area to avail of the Kyoto City Bus and Kyoto Bus one-day Pass (Y600 Adults, Y300 kids) for our family's adventure today. However, before that, we first headed back to our Air BnB residence to eat breakfast and prepare our things for the said adventure today. 

We rode the bus to Nijo Castle.

Arrived at Nijo Castle's main entrance

Nijo Castle

Ella at Nijo Castle grounds

Team Nicerio exploring Nijo Castle grounds

We tried the ice cream at Green Style Cafe inside Nijo Castle grounds.

We left our residence at around 9AM and rode a bus to our first destination for today which is Nijo Castle. This destination is one of those in our itinerary that was pre-planned already. It means that we have paid the entrance fees via Klook long before our trip. Because of that, we skipped the lines just as they were forming. Although my wife, daughter, and I visited Nijo Castle during our 2018 Japan trip, this would be the first time that we'd get to fully explore Nijo Castle and it's vicinity. Honestly, I never expected it to be so vast. It took us around two hours to cover most of it.  

Lunch at Life Nijo Station

After Nijo Castle, the original plan was to go to Kinkakuji but due to some confusion with which bus stop to go to, we ended up walking along Oshikoji-dori looking for the bus stop to Arashiyama instead. Before everything else, we decided to grab some lunch first as it was already lunchtime. Surprisingly, it was quite challenging to find a place to eat lunch at Oshikoji-dori so we continued walking towards Senbon-dori where we saw Life Nijo Station which was a supermarket. As expected, it has numerous selections of bento meals which were way cheaper than common meals served at most restaurants. We rested a bit to digest our food before walking towards the bus stop at Senbon-dori to wait for the bus which would bring us to Arashiyama. It took Bus #66 about 20 minutes to arrive regardless, the 30-minute travel to Arashiyama bus stop allowed us to have our noon-time siesta.

Togetsukyo Bridge as seen from Arashiyama bus stop



Look who greeted us upon our arrival at Arashiyama 

Ella checking out one of the stores in Arashiyama

Upon arriving at Arashiyama bus stop, we found ourselves walking along a long street full of shops and tourists. My mom and sister seem to have enjoyed checking out these stores as we went store-hopping for almost an hour. 

Tenryuji


My mom and dad at Tenryuji's Garden

Got my Tenryuji goshuin

I then "led" them to Tenryuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to check out its famed garden. What they didn't know is that I purposely prolonged our stay in the garden area so that there would be lesser people in our next destination which was Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. During our visit last year, our friend Gil showed us that the best time to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove was in the afternoon of a weekday because there are usually lesser people during these times. However, it was not the case today despite being a Friday. Well, basically I forgot that Friday afternoons are "considered" part of the weekends as most people tend to go out and have fun during these times. 

Next Stop: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Aya at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Pat at Arashiyama Bamboo Park

With that being said, it was hard for us to take that "perfect" solo shot. My siblings and I did not give up though so we waited for almost half an hour. Luckily, the crowd started to thin out and each of us got to have that coveted solo picture taken with the scenic bamboo grove as our backdrop. 

Next Stop: Kameyama Park

Finally a complete family picture

We rested a bit at Katsura riverbanks

We also did a bit of exploration near the river

From Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, we continued walking through Kameyama Park until we reached the Katsura riverbank where we spent some time admiring Mother Nature. 

The stores near Arashiyama Randen Station

Ella saw some awesome gatchapon along the way

An ebisuya plying the streets of Arashiyama

As the sun slowly begins to set, we decided that it was already time to head back home but before that, I suggested that we visit one more must-see destination nearby - the Kimono Forest

Arashiyama Randen Station

Keifuku Randen Tram

Team Nicerio at Kimono Forest

We had plenty of pictures in this magical place

From the Katsura River Bank, the Kimono Forest was just a few minutes away by foot and was inside the Arashiyama Station of the Keifuku Randen Tram Line. During the morning, this place seems normal but at night, the Kimono Forest lights up and becomes an enchanted place. 

It's great to be back at Yoshinoya Kyoto Station.

Itadakimasu!

Look what Ella had for dinner!

After taking family photos in Kimono Forest, we rode the bus back to Kyoto Station. It was dinner time when we arrived and since I craved for Yoshinoya, I brought them to the same Yoshinoya that my wife, daughter, and I visited last 2018. This branch was just walking distance from the entrance of the Karasuma side of Kyoto Station. Our meal brought back memories of our previous travel and also filled us up for an additional activity before calling it a night... and that activity is none other than shopping.

Nighttime shopping at Don Quixote Kyoto Avanti Store.

From Yoshinoya, we walked to Don Quixote Kyoto Avanti Store on the other side of Kyoto Station. Don Quixote, fondly called Donki by its shoppers, offers tons of products at a cheaper price. During this shopping visit, I bought a 128 GB Mini SD memory card for just 2980 yen. Upon checking the price of the same brand here in the Philippines I discovered that I managed to save about 600+ pesos.

Overall, we managed to visit only 4 tourist destinations today but the memories we got there were truly outstanding. Because of this, I could safely say that I'm very excited to see what's in store for us tomorrow. So where would we be heading next? Well, that's something that you should be looking forward to as well. See you guys!

Read more:

Previous: Japan Diaries Day 1
Next: Japan Diaries Day 3

Comments

  1. Another great post. Your writings always make me want to visit.

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  2. I made some Japanese friends during the 2018 world cup, i must confess y'all are a great people with rich culture and history. i can't wait to visit Japan in the future

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  3. This post took me to an adventure and I am thankful that I came across to it in this thread today. Thank you for sharing and your pictures are amazing as well.

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    1. That made my day Marjie
      :) I'm happy to have brought you on an online trip to Japan.

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  4. I've been longing to visit Japan at least once, during the 'Cherry Blossom' season. It is indeed a nice place as shown by your cool shots. Thanks for sharing your experience, You must've enjoyed it!

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    1. We enjoyed it so much. Like you O also yearn to visit during the Sakura Blossom season. I've been to Japan 3x bit still haven't seen it.

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  5. hi
    the places you visited are simply gorgeous especially in the night . Does the bamboo forest that you visited is also open at night . that would have been a great picture indeed

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    1. Oh the Kimono Forest is open all day long. However, best time to visit is at night when it's all illuminated. :)

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  6. Japan is my dream destination! What did you loved the most about your trip?

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    Replies
    1. For this trip, what I love most was the fact that I got to tour my parents and siblings.

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  7. What an exciting trip. The cities look so full of life and culture.

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    1. It is. However, I honestly want to visit the rural areas of Japan more.

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  8. You should check out the Arashiyama monkey park. I went there in 2011 and was terrifed as the monkeys are free to roam in an area. You can also feed them! You might enjoy it more.

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    1. Ohhh! I was actually planning on visiting it. However, the influx of people at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove delayed us an we had to scrap the plan of going to the Monkey Park. :(

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  9. I would love to travel to Japan one day! Thank you for these dairies! Now, I want to visit even more.

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    1. I'm happy that my diaries motivated you to visit The Land of The Rising Sun. Looking forward to your visit

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  10. I like the fact that you are traveling with your family. It is a great way of creating memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. Cheers to more travels!

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    1. I agree with you. It's fun traveling solo but traveling the family is gold.

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  11. The food looks so delicious there. Food stops are going to be my main focus when I visit japan. I must try everythiiiiing!

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    1. Hahaha. There are endless food to try in Japan. :) You should stay there forever. Hehehe

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  12. I miss japan so much. Nice guide

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    1. Thank you Lorita. I hope you could revisit Japan. :)

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  13. Love the cool steps outside of the Nijo Castle! The Kimono forest looks like a fun spot to visit as well. Lots of places to go in Kyoto!

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    1. I agree Shelley. Nijo Castle is one of the must-visit places in Kyoto. The Kimono Forest on the other hand is a hidden gem. :)

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  14. What a beautiful in Kyoto Japan I really wanted to go to Japan because of their environment and weather. Awesome photos.

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    1. Come visit Kyoto Mayz. There are plenty of places for you to blog here. :)

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  15. I cancelled my July trip for Japan and moved to next year hoping that by that time we already got a vaccine, and we can travel again. Anyway, there's always be Kyoto waiting for us :)

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    1. That's true. Kyoto's just here waiting for you to visit. While waiting you can read more of my blogs to add more destinations to your itinerary.

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  16. Seems like you guys had tons of fun, Neil-san! ANG ASTIG NG PHOTOS!!! 😲 <--- this is me gawking. I'm freakin' jealous of your shots! It's difficult to travel on your own - walang photographer. Hassle naman if mag setup pa ng tripod. Most of the time I just ask random people. Sorrymasen! Hahaha! The walk/hike going to Arashiyama is super distracting! There are tons of stores that sell random items (it's where I got my Geta) and food stalls.

    ps: Good thing I didn't see that Donki branch in Kyoto. Sigurado, ginabe ako pabalik sa apartment ko (Dotonbori). Hahaha!

    psii: Na LSS ako sa kanta ng Donki. Bad trip! Hahaha! Don don don Donki. 😂

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    1. Hahaha napurge ko na ung theme song ng Donki sa system ko after several weeks, now you reminded me of it again. :D Hahaha

      Totoo yan mahirap nga magset up ng tripod lalo na sa mataong lugar. Thank goodness for this trip my sister was along for the ride. Trained siya for Instagram photos. Hahaha



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  17. ohh my....after reading your Japan story here, I really missed my travels to Japan, wishing to travel again to Japan soon. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

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    1. You should come visit Japan again soon. :) You'd love it.

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  18. I bet this was an amazing experience!!

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  19. I have heard only lovely things about Japan, it is definitely on my bucket list.

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