Japan Travel Guide - Kyoto Day 1

Now that we are back from Japan I can do a travel guide on one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. From the vibrant culture, amazing food, wonderful people and beautiful sights there is so much to do in Japan and certainly to really explore you need more than one week. However I only had a week and I made sure to fit in as much as I can.

On arriving in Tokyo late at night I cleared immigration and custom pretty fast especially because all my stuff was carry on. I try to avoid checking in stuff because it always ends up wasting time for example we waited over an hour in Bali for our luggage so this time I left my perfumes at home : ).

So if there is a tip I would share is to avoid checking in luggage. The second tip is to buy the Japan rail pass. It saved me so much money seriously if you plan to travel between cities just one round-trip may put you over what you spend on the JRP. You do have to buy it before you leave your country of origin. Once you get to Japan you show your passport at one of the Japan Rail offices and they give you the pass. They will ask you the day you would like to activate it so depending on when you want to start traveling between cities that's the day you choose as your 'start' date. I had a 7 day pass so I packed my travel in those 7 days and saved my last days in Tokyo for when the pass expired.

I got there late at night so I slept at my hotel which was a short walk from the Tokyo station. Getting to the hotel was super easy. I exchanged my money at the airport, got a ticket from the vending machines for the monorail which was about 250 yen about $2.50. I changed trains for the subway and soon I was at Tokyo station the excitement was real.

The following morning I woke up and caught an early train to Kyoto. This is the day I activated my JRP. My adventure in Japan was about to begin. The journey was about two and half hours and when I got to Kyoto again my hotel was a short walk from Kyoto station, I dropped my stuff and went to explore.

Kyoto - Day 1
Using my JRP I got on a train to all the different places I needed to go to. The JRP as I mentioned earlier is super handy. There were places that I needed to take the bus which wasn't covered by the JPR but having this pass saved me a lot of money. Below is a picture guide of Kyoto.

I activated my JPR early the next morning and headed to Kyoto.

I got to Kyoto a little too early to check in to my hotel and so I left my bags at the front desk and set off to explore. I will note that the train system is super efficient and you can get anywhere without struggling. I had read that taxis are expensive in Japan so that wasn't even an option.

I started at Tenryu-ji Zen Temple because I heard the zen garden here is gorgeous and right on the other side is the bamboo groove Arishiyama.

So well maintained

After attempting to get some tourist free photos I walked out and decided to get lost in Kyoto. Really I had a destination but I wanted to explore the town.
I found this temple and explored for a while. Not tourists here so it was nice to explore at my own pace.

Isn't this random tree beautiful?

 I found another temple that wasn't on the list and quickly paid the fees and went in to see for myself. This was the entrance.

 Prayer requests are popular in Japan in most if the temples.

 Charming well maintained gardens

After having my fill I headed to the Golden Pavilion - Kinkankuji. It's a tourist trap but it is worth it. The Japanese take such pride in their work. All the temples are so well maintained.

After this I headed to the train station to get back to Kyoto for the evening.
That evening I took a bus from Kyoto to Gion and we found a local hotel where the food was amazing.

Look out for Day 2.

Listening is loving...

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