Day One

From the japan Collection

Day One was easily the most packed day of our trip. On our first real day, we decided to do the Walking Tour of Eastern Kyoto up until Yamasaka Shrine and then head over to Pontocho alley.

These vending machines are EVERYWHERE in Japan.
These vending machines are EVERYWHERE in Japan.
Trying to find our way to the bus stop.
Trying to find our way to the bus stop.
We stopped by a convenience store to try and ask where the stop is.
We stopped by a convenience store to try and ask where the stop is.
These sake barrels were on display on the street.
These sake barrels were on display on the street.
Hanami 花見

First we had to figure out how to get to the Ginkakuji temple to start our hike. That involved figuring out the Kyoto bus system which wasn't straight forward to foreigners like us but eventually we figured it out and after a 30 minute ride we arrived at our stop and started walking. Along the path, the cherry blossoms were blooming and available for viewing (花見).

Jarques face got in the way. This was our bus on the way to the Temple.
Jarques face got in the way. This was our bus on the way to the Temple.
The start of our walking path.
The start of our walking path.
Beautiful blossoms along the way.
Beautiful blossoms along the way.
Selfie time!
Selfie time!
The cherry blossoms were gorgeous.
The cherry blossoms were gorgeous.
It was a little wet that day.
It was a little wet that day.
Kumamon sticker.
Kumamon sticker.

Eventually we turned on an uphill street on the path towards Ginkaku-ji Temple (慈照寺).

Shop along the way to Ginkaku-ji Temple.
Shop along the way to Ginkaku-ji Temple.
Potatornado??
Potatornado??
GIGANTIC bao.
GIGANTIC bao.
The shops displayed some cute and interesting goods.
The shops displayed some cute and interesting goods.
I fell in love with the architecture in Japan.
I fell in love with the architecture in Japan.

We stopped by a local coffee shop for our first coffee in Japan. The old lady behind the counter was very friendly and spoke English well!

We also stopped by a shop to get some cream puffs! A store was selling vanilla, chocolate, red bean and cherry blossom flavoured cream puffs.

Ginkaku-ji Temple 慈照寺

We finally reached the entrance to the temple. The entrance fee was ¥500. We paid the fee and were given tickets for entry into the grounds. The temple grounds were very quiet and clean, landscaped to perfection and gated off.

Entrance.
Entrance.
Lots of bamboo and fences.
Lots of bamboo and fences.
Entry fees.
Entry fees.
Our tickets.
Our tickets.
Perfectly maintained temple grounds.
Perfectly maintained temple grounds.
Gorgeous architecture and greenery.
Gorgeous architecture and greenery.
Fence.
Fence.
Our first experience of extremely tall Japanese bamboo.
Our first experience of extremely tall Japanese bamboo.
A bit of an upward walking path.
A bit of an upward walking path.
Up above, overlooking the grounds.
Up above, overlooking the grounds.
Jarques taking a photo of Tina.
Jarques taking a photo of Tina.
Pond.
Pond.
Reid smiling and enjoying the area.
Reid smiling and enjoying the area.
Macro of some bamboo structures.
Macro of some bamboo structures.
Incense.
Incense.
Hibiscus flower, I think.
Hibiscus flower, I think.
The Philosopher's Path 哲学の道

We exited and continued along our path. We eventually got to The Philosophers Path (哲学の道) which was a winding path that took us down the back alleys of a bunch of neighbourhoods.

There were a lot of unattended vehicles along the Philosophers path.
There were a lot of unattended vehicles along the Philosophers path.
The quiet back streets of the Philosophers Path.
The quiet back streets of the Philosophers Path.
The path took us past a number of real peoples houses.
The path took us past a number of real peoples houses.
Vans like this are common in Japan.
Vans like this are common in Japan.
Plenty of fruit trees along the path.
Plenty of fruit trees along the path.
Back alley.
Back alley.
A lot of these miniature tori gates were along the path on several walls.
A lot of these miniature tori gates were along the path on several walls.
Plenty of greenery exists in Kyoto.
Plenty of greenery exists in Kyoto.
Several other temples exist along this path as well. We did not have time to go in all of them.
Several other temples exist along this path as well. We did not have time to go in all of them.
I love this truck design.
I love this truck design.
A cemetery.
A cemetery.
Flowers in the cemetery.
Flowers in the cemetery.
Jarques and Tina sit among the cherry blossoms.
Jarques and Tina sit among the cherry blossoms.
Some rugged looking writing.
Some rugged looking writing.
Garbage bins are pretty rare in Japan.
Garbage bins are pretty rare in Japan.
A tag of some sort on one of the blossom trees.
A tag of some sort on one of the blossom trees.
Stray cat cart we found along the path.
Stray cat cart we found along the path.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake that essentially contains many different kinds of ingredients mixed together..

We had done a lot of walking and it was almost lunch time. We stopped by an Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) restaurant Okonomiyaki Zen we stumbled on along the way. It had only 5 tables and could sit a maximum of 15 people. They spoke very limited English but the Okonomiyaki was delicious. We ordered three (beef, pork and squid). It also seemed like a good time for a beer!

Our pork okonomiyaki.
Our pork okonomiyaki.
Asahi.
Asahi.
The restaurant owners did all of the cooking, thankfully.
The restaurant owners did all of the cooking, thankfully.
The entrance to the shop.
The entrance to the shop.
A quaint little shop with a bike at the entrance and a tanooki statue.
A quaint little shop with a bike at the entrance and a tanooki statue.
Nazenji

We continued down the Philosopher's Path and made our way to Nazenji, a temple ground with an amazing brick aqueduct that we were able to follow all the way to to the back entrance to the temple where an old railway remained. We followed the railway all the way down to the river and back to the city streets which led us to our next stop, the Heian Shrine tori gate, a massive orange gate leading into the temple grounds.

Huge burnt wood structure, Ginkaku-ji.
Huge burnt wood structure, Ginkaku-ji.
An incense pot.
An incense pot.
Arches of the aqueduct.
Arches of the aqueduct.
Moss.
Moss.
Everywhere.
Everywhere.
On the Walls.
On the Walls.
Jarques washing his hands at one of the temples.
Jarques washing his hands at one of the temples.
Wishes tied to a fence.
Wishes tied to a fence.
Another cemetery we found.
Another cemetery we found.
Up on top of the aqueduct.
Up on top of the aqueduct.
Signs.
Signs.
Along the railway, there were many in kimono taking photos.
Along the railway, there were many in kimono taking photos.
Reid being silly.
Reid being silly.
Photo in front of the cherry blossoms.
Photo in front of the cherry blossoms.
Adorable.
Adorable.
Boat in the river.
Boat in the river.
A GIANT tori gate.
A GIANT tori gate.
These are sake barrels.
These are sake barrels.
Kumamon was drawn on one of the wish tablets.
Kumamon was drawn on one of the wish tablets.
Maruyama Park 円山公園

After Nazenji, we found our way to Maruyama Park(円山公園) where there were a lot of street food vendors. We snacked on Takoyaki and squid here and eventually stopped to sit down in a park with tables. We ordered a few beers and rested our weary feet after a good few hours of walking.

A street vendor grilling squid.
A street vendor grilling squid.
Takoyaki griller.
Takoyaki griller.
Our picnic area in the park.
Our picnic area in the park.

We started heading in the direction of Pontocho Alley and stopped by Gion (祇園) and Yasaka-jinja Shrine (八坂神社) to see if we could spot some geisha. (We sort of did?)

You can see two geisha at the bottom of this photo. They were swarmed by tourists and shuffling away.
You can see two geisha at the bottom of this photo. They were swarmed by tourists and shuffling away.
One of my favourite photos of the trip. The alleyways in Japan are not scary at all, some of them are even inviting.
One of my favourite photos of the trip. The alleyways in Japan are not scary at all, some of them are even inviting.
Ponto-cho 先斗町

We made our way to Pontocho (先斗町) which is an alleyway of small restaurants. It was a bit early when we go there so we first stopped at 小川珈琲 for some coffee and dessert.

Coffee in a little teacup!
Coffee in a little teacup!

We headed back to Pontocho and looked through each of the restaurant menus. We stopped at 六傳屋 as we heard their black sesame soup was delicious. We waited for maybe half an hour before we were taken to their upstairs area. I ordered a snapping turtle soup and it was delicious.

The snapping turtle soup.
The snapping turtle soup.
The delicious black sesame soup.
The delicious black sesame soup.
A photo of the alleyway.
A photo of the alleyway.

After a long day, we headed back to the AirBnB for a much needed rest. (Tip: Do not bring brand new shoes to a walking trip. You will get blisters).

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