Friday, August 06, 2010

Trip to Japan, Day 5 (Kyoto)

On day 4 we visited the sites just on the edge of Kyoto's prefecture and so on day 5 we focused on sights in the main city area. As we arrived @ Kyoto JR station, our first sight to visit was the Tōji Temple in Kujōchō area. The walk to from the train station to Tōji Temple is not a very scenic one but it's only a 15-20mins walk away and there were more cherry blossoms on the way so it was ok. If you don't feel like walking you can always catch the train from Kyoto train station to Tōji station, which is just one stop away for ¥150 and then a very short walk to the temple grounds.

Walking towards Tōji Temple

Once we got to the temple grounds, we roamed around its vast area admiring the exteriors of the temples. To get to the actual area where the Tōji temple was, there is a ¥500 entrance fee. Once inside the gated area, you can walk around the area and get up close to the temple itself. There is a pond with some ornaments placed inside but also lots of variances of cherry blossoms around the area.

Tōji Temple

Next stop is to check out the Kiyomizu-dera Temple "Pure Water Temple". But first we needed to find a place to have brunch and so we ended up back at the Kyoto Station as there were plenty of options there. After brunch we got back on track to head to the Pure Water Temple and the easiest way to get there is by bus.

With traffic the bus trip was only a short commute and once we arrived at our stop we walked up Matsubara Dori "Street" to get to the Pure Water Temple. There is a lot of the small tourist and snack shops along the way so if you've decided to skip lunch or want to get some local ornaments then you can get them here too.

Matsubara Dori "Street"

Kiyomizu-dera Temple "Pure Water Temple"

The Kiyomizu-dera Temple is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. The temple dates back to 798 and is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site. Another one added to my UNESCO World Heritage visited sites ticked! There is an entrance fee also which is around ¥500-600 I think. If you are cheeky enough, you can walk to the same areas but enter from the exit instead. We didn't even notice this until we were leaving the area and saw other tourists entering from that way. Anyway I don't recommend you do that!

After this we headed towards Gion district, which is also referred to as the geisha district. Not the red-light district type but was sure interesting enough to see the traditional old-style Japanese houses/establishments in the area. From this point we started getting hungry as it was getting late in the evening so we walked all the way to the other side of the Kamo River to have dinner @ Mishimatei Restaurant, which is renowned for the sukiyaki and shabu-shabu in town. The prices are abit pricey but I can tell you it is all worth it.

Dinner @ Mishimatei Restaurant, Kyoto

Dinner @ Mishimatei Restaurant, Kyoto

After dinner we headed back to Kyoto Station to catch our train back to Osaka. This was our last day in Kyoto itself and I have to say that because of time, we had missed most of the other sights that I had originally planned to see but at least I got to check out the Pure Water Temple. My advice is that if you wish to check out Kyoto and have limited time then give Tōji temple a miss.

If you wish to have a look at what sights I had originally planned to see then check out my Kyoto Google Maps link.

Kyoto Tower at night

For pictures taken in Kyoto, click on the Kyoto link by the Snapshots area on the right.

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