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Konnichiwa from Japan: Kyoto

As much as I loved Tokyo and it’s unique city life qualities, I still wanted to enjoy a more peaceful and cultural experience. To do so me and the crew rode the bullet train to Kyoto which is about a little over two hours away from Tokyo. Immediately when you arrive in Kyoto you feel a more harmonious vibe than you did back at the fast paced capital city. What is also incredible about this destination is the fact you have access to more site seeing, delicious food tasting, and even get to witness how well Japan’s heritage is displayed throughout Kyoto’s streets.

Here are some of the things I did…

Monkey Park

This is a wonderful day activity to do if you’re in Kyoto where you can get up close with the snow monkeys. Admission to get in is $5 and the hike up the mountain is fairly easy. I would advise bringing tennis shoes and water. Once you’re at the top you will spot monkeys swinging all around and some may even come inches away from where you’re standing. Coolest part about the visit is that you are given the chance to feed the monkeys from behind a cage.

Views of the Kasturagawa River

The squad was not expecting a hike up the mountain. Depending on your pace, it shouldn’t take more than 30-40 minutes one way.

Important safety rules

The Heian Shrine

It’s free to enter the Heian shrine and there is a cool Chinese-style garden located right behind the main buildings which will require a small fee. During my visit I was very fortunate to witness a Shinto wedding take place before my eyes as I read these traditional ceremonies are rare nowadays. Security was tight ensuring tourists did not get too close the couple and pictures inside the main shrine was prohibited. Nonetheless it was very nice to live in the moment and enjoy it’s beauty.

Fushimi Inari-taisha

This shrine was my favorite one to come explore because of it’s significance and majestic beauty. It is famous for it’s thousands of Torii gates that leads into several trails around the sacred Mount Inari. It was not easy getting a clear picture of the shrines without having another tourist trying to get their selfie in. If you want the best pics or simply want to have the area to your self, then I would recommend going as early as possible in the morning.

At the entrance of the shrines, there’s a guest services department that allows visitors to design their own mini Torri gate for a small fee

Cherry Blossoms

One of the main reasons why I planned my trip during the Spring time was so that I can see the Cherry Blossoms. When first arriving in Tokyo I was a bit worried that I had came late since most of the cherry blossoms had fallen off from the trees. However in Kyoto it seemed as if I just arrived during the peak season for these alluring flowers. The flowers were located all over neighborhoods and parks and it truly made me have a greater appreciation for Japan.

Ryลzen Kannon

The Ryลzen temple a war memorial that commemorates the fallen from the Pacific War.

Yasaka Shrine

I recommend coming here around sunset to take the best pictures as you can capture the lanterns light up.

Fire Ramen Restaurant

If I could eat ramen from Fire Ramen everyday, I would! This was the coolest dining experience I received in Kyoto as we were all searching for delicious eats. Depending on what time of day you visit just be prepared to wait 30 minutes to an hour to get seated. Once you’re in the chefs will give special instructions of the do’s and don’ts while seeing the food being presented to you.

Eyebrows almost got burnt off

Cheers

Gion District

Lot’s of traditional style Japanese structures found in this district and one can also spot geishas in the area.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

This is a popular site for many tourists as you will see countless bamboo trees all along the path. You can either choose to walk through the grove or rent a bike to cruise by.

Day Trip to Hiroshima & Kobe

Hiroshima was a place I visited that instilled so many emotions in me. As you walk through Peace Park you will read several signs with facts and messages to remind you of the horrors from the war. Just thinking about during my early school years studying about WWII and the incidents of Hiroshima/Nagasaki had always left this small feeling of shock. It’s not until I actually stood in front of Genbaku Dome that I felt intensely upset and sad. The feels were real that day and each of my friends agreed that part of the trip was crucial to get a deeper understanding of the effects from war.

We encountered a live prayer from a group of students.

There’s a underground museum free to the public that shares more stories about the Hiroshima incident.

The fallen victims from the bombing.

After immersing ourselves into some history, we wanted to find some relaxation by taking a train to the nearby city of Kobe. I came here for the sole purpose of trying the well known Kobe beef so many locals have talked about. Although it’s not required to travel all the way to Kobe to taste some kobe beef as you can find this meat in other parts of Japan, we just wanted to be Boujee. The long awaited journey to eat delicious Kobe beef was well worth it and I considered this as my favorite meal during my time in Japan. If you want that good quality, you must be willing to shell out some dollars as this is not cheap. It was all McDonalds and cheap street food after this fine dining experience.

 

After spending 3 days in Kyoto I realized it was not enough time to enjoy every aspect of the city. There were still several temple and shrines on my list that I did not get to check out, including the famous Golden Zen temple. All the more reason why I plan on returning one day to this memorizing country. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… this trip is one of the best ones I’ve went on and I owe a million thanks to the JP crew for making this happen. I sense a reunion coming soon…

 

Here’s a recap video of my trip so you can see some dope footage of Japan.

 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about my trip or would like some travel tips, feel free to reach out to me anytime. “Mata mite ne” (until next time)

 

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