friends, japan, Kyoto, travel

Kyoto 2013 – Higashiyama & Kiyomizu Temple

We only had one afternoon in Kyoto because we spent the morning in Osaka, and wanted to reach Tokyo by nightime, BUT we got to do pretty much all that I wanted to in Kyoto.  Which was mainly to walk along the  the famous stone paved roads inHigashiyama-ku where all the  shops that are historically preserved to resemble Old Kyoto, and to visit Kiyomizudera. There were a couple people (and a bunch of Chinese group tourists) that even dressed up in yukatas despite the hot weather. I wanted to take pictures of them but it was pretty difficult due to the sheer amount of tourists walking everywhere. Since most of the stores were souvenir shops, or ice cream / specialty snack shops we just walked up the paved road to Kiyomizudera, while taking pictures of the scenery.

Unluckily, the main hall was closed for renovation so the outside was all covered up for construction : ( and due to fatigue of walking around in the heat, we didn’t go inside either. But it was my first time going to a Japanese temple so I was quite excited to follow the procedures of washing your hands before entering, and getting my fortune stick. I even got the “best fortune”!!! Hopefully that stays true for this new year : )

Inside the Kiyomizudera complex there is the Otowa Waterfall. It’s believed that drinking water from the fall will help grant your wishes, and that different streams have different wish-granting powers – I suppose some for health, fortune and love sort of thing? Adrienne was saying that the story is if you drink from all of them you won’t get your wish granted at all cause that means you’re greedy, haha. Not surprising of course. There is also the Jishu-Jinja shrine which is dedicated to a love-matching god. They have a pair of stones placed 6m apart, and legend goes that if you can walk from one stone to the other (with eyes closed) you can find true love.  And supposedly if someone ends up helping you to the stone, that person will be required to help you in real life to find your love. However, no one was doing this at all at the shrine…so we of course didn’t either. It was pretty crowded in the area too, so we just touched the rock in hopes for good luck. Honestly I was feeling quite whatever about it because I had already gotten that ‘good fortune’ reading from earlier : D   I leave so much faith into this luck.

After visiting the temple, we walked back down the paved road and this time making a stop to buy souvenirs and ice cream. I had a feeling Kyoto was going to be one of the most “tourist attraction” places I would go to, so I decided to buy my necessary souvenirs there.   One of the things we learnt in Korea was that if you don’t know what to order, just pick the ‘half half option’. In Korea it was half half dry chicken and sauce chicken.  In Japan, it is half half green tea and vanilla ice cream! It feels so stereotypical for Japan to have green tea as one of their main flavours, it’s just like how you would expect it to be. But delicious nonetheless!

As the sun started to set, we headed back to Tokyo by bullet train. This was my bento for dinner for the commute. It seemed to have a bit of everything so I picked this one. It was also pretty neat how on the box they describe where each ingredient comes from. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out what most of the ingredients were : /

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For Tokyo we booked an airbnb apartment in Takadanobaba, the hometown of Astro Boy!! So at the Takadanobaba station, the Astro Boy song is always playing in the background. Our place was about a 10 minute walk from the train station, and Takadanobaba is only 2 stops away from Shinjuku so it was a pretty nice spot to live at. Because our airbnb host owns an English speaking cafe (a place where foreigners and locals can converse and learn using English and other languages), we had to meet him there. I was a bit surprised to see the amount of people at the cafe on a weekday night, and how it was mostly foreigners too! However, it was pretty late at night and we were super tired from all the travelling, all we wanted to do was to pick up our keys, and get settled, and rest. We did however re-visit the cafe on another night and that was pretty enjoyable.

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