Kyoto is basically a short train-ride away from Nara. Having previously worked for a Kyoto-based company, I have had my fair share of travels into Kyoto. But it was only after I left that company did I manage to find time to visit the touristy areas of the beautiful city.
After checking out from our Nara hotel we hopped onto the city bus and headed to Kintetsu Nara Station for our ride to Kyoto.
|Our ride into Kyoto!|
The 40+ minutes ride basically flew by (compared to the 2-4 hour rides we had in previous days). I would highly recommend Nara and Kyoto as a pair whenever one visit this part of Japan. Both are highly traditional side of Japan yet presents them in a different way. Nara felt like a pilgrimage while Kyoto felt like time-travel to pre-war Japan. In any case these 2 destinations were miles away from Tokyo or Osaka.
Once we entered Kyoto Station, the 1st thing that we did was to find out hotel. For Kyoto I booked a room at the APA Kyoto-Ekimae. No particular reason apart from low price and distance to the station. Its practically 5 minutes' walk away from Kyoto station yet cost much less compared to other hotels near to the station. The negative point? It's cheap, it's relatively good, but the rooms were super small!
|Hello Kyoto Tower~|
Since we were there before noon, we couldn't check into our room so we left our luggage at the frontdesk and went for lunch at Kyoto Station. A hotdog (or 2) and a coffee later, we found ourselves at the tour bus counter. While it may be good for 1st-timers on a free-and-easy trip to Kyoto, we were put off by the schedule and price of the tours on offer and decided to just visit Kiyomizu-dera on our own. We found the queue for the bus at the terminal in front of Kyoto Station and hopped on!
I've always liked Kyoto, and even more once I've visited Kiyomizu-dera. From the stall lining the streets leading up to the top, to the magnificent view from the top, it never fails to give me the feeling that I have travelled to another time. This time we also managed to make our way to 二年坂(ninen-zaka) and 三年坂(sannen-zaka).
4-5 trips and more than 10 years since my 1st trip to Kyoto, it was actually the 1st time I walked the slopes of 二年坂 and 三年坂. The slopes gave it another feel to this side of Kyoto and I would have loved to spend another day just having traditional Japanese desserts and tea in one of the many beautiful houses lining the streets. Unfortunately we have already walked our dear boy's little feet ragged and he finally started whining "Can you let me rest my little feet?"
We hastened towards Gion, with the hope to find the fastest way to the subway stationand back to the hotel. Along the way I couldn't resist but make a detour to take the above picture of Gion.
A nap, a dinner with some ex-colleagues near Kyoto Station and a much deserved rest for the night. Next stop will be Arima Onsen, some say the best onsen region this part of Japan!