From Kobe to Kyoto
On the day we were due to leave Kobe for Kyoto, we woke up to a rainy day. We bought some savories from the famous pastry shop for breakfast and then went to the Starbucks across the street to grab some tea. Then we went to Motomachi Station and got the train tickets to Kyoto and took the first train. There was no ban on eating and drinking on the train, but no one did not eat or drink anything. It was weird to eat as nobody was eating but we could not wait to eat as we were hungry. We had our breakfast on the train. It took 1.5 hours to reach Kyoto. We practice Japanese along the way using our Basic Japanese booklet. Even if you know a few basic words, the Japanese people are very satisfied when you answer them in Japanese. Therefore, we often used basic terms like “konichiva to – hello”, “arigato gozaimasen – many thanks”, “Itashi mashte – you’re welcome”.
Kyoto station is a large building in the city center. This is the kind of junction point where many train lines are linked. It includes a big multistory shopping center too. Kyoto Tower is located right across the street. Open a parenthesis here, be noted that there is a high tower in the center of almost all Japanese cities.
It is a very convenient to use public transportation in Kyoto. However, it was our first time in Kyoto and it was rainy, we decided to take a taxi to the hotel.
There was a long queue in taxi stand but it was worth to wait. The taxi was very clean and the taxi driver seemed professional with his white gloves and suit. Taxi’s seats were covered with white cloth, the doors was opening by the driver’s self- control. In fact, we could reach our hotel after two stops if we used the metro; we reached in 5 min by taxi. We relaxed in the hotel and settled.
We did not wait long to start to discover the city. Shortly after we unpacked, we went to Imperial Villa to book the Imperial Palace tour.
The appointment office was closed as it was Sunday. We walked through the big and beautiful garden of Imperial Villa and we decided to go to Fushimi Inari Shrine, in fact we had to see it another day. We felt hungry and saw very nice restaurants along the way, however we could not eat in any of these restaurants as the lunch service was already over. So, we bought bento sets along the way to subway and ate it quickly in the station. We reached to Nara Station after couple of transfers and then reached to Fushimi Inari.
Fushimi Inari is one of the most important Doizm temple not just for Kyoto but also for Japan. “Do” means the way. A path that proceeds through the hundreds of doors in orange color symbolizes the progress on this way (Tori tunnels) and it reaches to the hills in the land of the temple. Temple and garden offers many opportunities to take beautiful shots.
Those who would like to make a wish throw coins into the box and call God by moving the rope to ring the bell found at the top :). Also in different places holy spring waters flowing to wash your face and hands just as we have in mosques in Turkey.
Similar to many touristic places, just before and after the gate, there are places to buy souvenirs and foods.
After leaving the temple, we went to Gion, as we have already decided. Gion is a district in Kyoto where tourist like us can taste the preserved Japanese culture and see beautiful places in Japan.
When we arrived at Gion, the weather got cold and we wanted to eat in a thoroughly authentic Japanese sushi restaurant. However, we learned that the dinner options are limited on Sundays. We saw many ramen and candy shops but we were determined to dine in a sushi restaurant, so went to Kyoto station by taxi. On the way we asked the taxi driver if he knew a good sushi restaurant. He left us to a restaurant near the station. There were not many sushi and sashimi selections inside. Still, we ordered some sashimi, spring roll and yakitori (something like shish kebab or skewers), we drank a pint of Kirin each but we had some more space to eat. We tried to find a good sushi restaurant using foursquare app using our phones. We searched for one of the most favorite sushi restaurant, but the restaurant was not where it appears on the map in Foursquare. Instead, there was Royal Princess Hotel at that point, and then we decided to eat in the luxury Japanese restaurant in the hotel. The staffs were gentle and wore authentic Japanese kimonos and make-ups. They served us in a private room. We celebrated Aytaç’s birthday by drinking sake and eating different & beautiful types of sushi. After we left the restaurant, we took a short walk. A station in north to south metro line was very close, so we took the train and reached our hotel after a few stops.