After a 15-hour flight from Houston to Beijing, 4-hour layover in Beijing, 3-hour flight from Beijing to Tokyo, 3-hour Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Kyoto Station, 3 metro stops ( including two train changes) and a 10-minute walk all along dragging our suitcases, we finally made it to our Kyoto “VRBO” apartment!!! So of course we did what anyone would do once we arrived at our destination. We crashed!
The next day started early around 7 a.m. We weren’t kidding! After our morning chai (can’t take the desi out of me), browsed through travel guides, setup a full itinerary for the day, made a quick stop at a local mart to pick up snacks for the long walk and off we went!
Stop 1 – Sanjusangendo Hall
Known for its 1001 life-sized statues of the Goddess of Mercy. Also happens to be the longest wooden structure in the world. No one is allowed to take pictures inside the temple so all pictures were taken from outside the temple
On our way to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, streets lined up with souvenir shops…
Stop 2 – Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Most visited Kyoto attraction. Almost made one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Not a single nail was used in its construction.
Stop 3 – Maruyama-Koen Park
One of the best spots to enjoy hanami (blossom-viewing) during late March/early April. Also a good place to indulge in the local culture.
Got sucked into a local festival aka tourist trap but ended up experiencing a local tea tradition followed by an entertaining taiko drum performance. Not bad!
Stop 4 – Path of Philosophy
A 2-kilometer sakura (cherry blossom) lined walk by the canal full of lovely restaurants, cafes and shops. Supposed to be the best walk in Kyoto during hanami (blossom-viewing) season.
Stop 5 – Kinkaku-ji Golden Temple
Entirely covered in pure gold leaf. It’s one of the most photogenic temples in the world.
Stop 6 – Conveyor-belt sushi dining in the heart of Kyoto
7 plates of sushi = $8 per person!!! No kidding!!! Expect basic sushi. Nothing too fancy unless you put a special order to the chef.
Stop 7 – ending the night in Pontocho/Gion districts
Entering Pontocho, one of Kyoto’s five Geisha districts. It’s a narrow 600-meter alleyway serving up entertainment since 712. And if you’re lucky, you can spot a real Geisha strolling the streets. Plan on having dinner here for sure if you’re in the area. This is the place to be at night!
Ending the night in Gion, Kyoto’s central part of town & the most famous and entertaining Geisha districts. It’s where it all happens!
Can you tell we walked 24k steps this day???!!!!