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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).