Categories Hotels Japan Recent Discoveries Top 10 Travel with TJD

Japan: Your Vacation Guide in Kyoto

Monday, May 29, 2017
Japan: Your Vacation Guide in KyotoLike1

Japan has always been on my bucket list. I think it is on almost everyone I meet. It’s one of those places that takes you on mystical journey to another world. Actually, it is exactly like that and here’s is your vacation guide in Kyoto.

No exaggerations. 

I fell in love with Kyoto because of that energy and feeling. Transported into another time. Looking around me on the streets of GION, I can almost see everyone’s face with awe and satisfaction that they have also ticked that off their list.

The smell of woodsmoke, the drift of incense; a procession of monks in black-and-gold robes and the silence and stillness from the crowd as a geisha pass them by.

Kyoto cannot be done in just one trip. It’s a start though. It’s a place you need to dig deep into its’ roots and understand its’ history and culture. 

Then there is the food…But that’s for another post. For now, here is a guide to Kyoto when you are planning your vacation to Kyoto, Japan.

TOKYO TO KYOTO

Trains are the best way to get around Japan moreover the bullet train that we took from Tokyo to Japan. Japan’s high speed bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains, offer visitors an experience like no other with speeds reaching up to 320 km/hr! The main Shinkansen lines with bullet trains include Tokaido, Sanyo, Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano and Kyushu. The 2 shinkansen terminals in Tokyo are at “Tokyo” and “Shinagawa” stations. It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Kyoto.

Here is an excellent guide on the bullet train and inside information.

Learn more
SLEEP

Stay at The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto

As a first time visitor to Kyoto and a hotel lover (junkie), The Ritz – Carlton in Kyoto is a property that has to be on your bucket list to stay. It was built on the banks of the Kamagawa River with views of the Higashiyama mountains in the East and minutes away from Kyoto’s popular downtown and 15 minutes away from Kyoto Station and a bike or walk ride away from Gion. We checked into our room facing the Kamogawa river and from the moment you step into the room, you are in the presence of tranquility. The hotel organizes tours and excursions and even a private shrine viewing with sunrise breakfast with monks. The dining at The Ritz-Carlton is nothing shy from exquisite such as Mizuki, a Japanese themed restaurant and the Italian La Locanda. Delicacies with the Pierre Herme boutique by the lobby every time you pass by, you would stop and admire the selection of Macaroons and signature cakes. The most impressive dining of them all was breakfast. There are three types of rooms here: Deluxe, Deluxe Garden, and Luxury; and three types of suites: Garden, Garden Terrace, and Garden Terrace Tatami.

The average room price ranges from ¥63,000/$532 US for a Deluxe City View room with one King bed to ¥268,000/$2,262 US for a top-floor suite with a private balcony and mountain view.

Highly recommended and a walk, cycle, taxi away from the center.

BOOK HERE
THINGS TO DO IN KYOTO

Visit Gion

Take a walk from The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto to Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain. Gion is one of my favorite places in Kyoto with the traditional wooden buildings and the historic district is the most popular place for seeing Geisha especially at around 5pm where the Geisha starts to head out. Please make sure you respect the laws and don’t get up in their faces and respect their presence as she walks by. Always take photos from the side or back, but leave their path open.

Kimono Experience 

The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto offers the Kimono Experience. You are brought into a room filled with colorful material and Kimonos for you to choose from, with a hair stylist and a make up artist and for the next 15 minutes, you are being pampered and taken care of by professionals. It’s an experience you cannot miss out on and a chance to be drawn into the culture by local attire. 

Bamboo Forest 

The Japanese have a long history with bamboo, in myths and legends, metaphorically linking a man’s strength with this plant. The Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama paths which are over 500 meters long, set between Tenryuji temple and Nonomiya Shrine. You can either walk along the forest by foot, cycle or by rickshaw. You can find the rickshaw almost at every corner and they take you to great secret spots!

Japanese Tea Ceremony 

For over 1,000 years, Japanese drank tea and up to the 16th century did they start to take it seriously. Kyoto remains the center of the Japanese tea ceremony world (and tea growing world) and a popular place called Camellia is known to be one of the best amongst many. The Japanese Tea Ceremony It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea.

Fushimi Inari Shrine 

On my bucket list for the longest time! Despite not hiking to the very top (lack of time), you should make sure you do! The hike to the summit of 233m Mt. Inari-san and the pilgrimage circle around the shrines near the top is one of the most interesting short walks around Kyoto. It’s also the best way to see all of Fushima-Inari Taisha Shrine. One of the most memorable moments in Kyoto and one of the most beautiful shrines.

Bike around Kyoto 

Everyone highly recommends and insist on biking around Kyoto as the best way to explore the beautiful gems. It is one of the world’s greatest bike cities and you will find a bike to rent around every corner. Remember that people drive on the left there and so should you on a bike. You can park your bike in many bike stations parking and take a walk after that. One easy route I found online is Kyoto Station to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens via the Kamo-gawa River and will take you about 2 hours.

Visit Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion) 

Kyoto’s most iconic sight. We made sure we went there on a weekday very early morning. Wake up at 6am to catch the sunrise otherwise it would be packed with tourist.

Walk the Philosopher’s walk

Cath the Sakura (cherry blossoms) by walking through the philosopher’s walk. Its name comes from the Japanese philosopher of the first half of the ‘the 900th Kitaro Nishida, who taught for several years at the University of Kyoto, and it is said he used to walk along this street during his moments of reflection.

WORDS TO GET YOU BY

Sumimasen – Excuse me

Thank you – Arigato gozaimasu

You’re welcome – Do itashimashite

Goodbye – Sayonara

Doko – Where?

Hai – Means I’m satisfied ( sometimes could mean yes)

Wakarimasen – I don’t understand

Ganbaru – Ill do my best

Oyasumi Nasaii – Goodnight

Like this article? Share it and save it on Pinterest!

Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

Leave a Reply

Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • Two years ago today, I sailed in the arctic for the first time, I found a place where the chaos inside me was understood and my heart felt at home. 
The Arctic taught me so much... I learned to love every single weakness and strength I have in me, because no matter where you go, your thoughts go with you... but most of all the possibility of having all my dreams come true, that makes my life so beautiful and I cannot wait to go back ♥️ #TravelwithTJD 
Photo by @dennisstever
  • I left my heart in Scandinavia 💫
First thing I’ll do when @emirates resumes, and not one day later... fly back in the Arctic. 
Possibly Iceland, rent a van and drive for 1 week, waking up under the Arctic skies to a different landscape everyday... I visualize every moment of it and how I would feel. 
I miss nature and thrive when I’m surrounded by it.... then fly into Finland for another week and drive through into Swedish wilderness, waking up in a cabin by the lake, without any sense of time... doing exactly what I want to do, simply because it makes me happy... Going swimming, taking long walks and clearing my mind. 
It’s not long now till the borders open up again, I’m always hopeful. When was the last time you’ve traveled solo? And where are you dreaming of? Also, follow along @travelwithtjd - it would mean a lot to me if you could support our beautiful small business, which is how passion turned into a reality. 🤗
  • 35 years living in Dubai. I’ve watch the city grow from a slow-pace movement to one of the fastest cities in the world and back to slow. It’s soo eerie to witness so much change in a lifetime. I first landed in Dubai with my family the year @emirates first started operating. Yet, as the city slowly starts to open up, I can’t help but feel grateful. Mostly for the determination and efforts the country has done to keep those like myself, a guest in their home, safe. It’s been a long journey and I’m hopeful for the future. Thank you @mydubai
  • Legend says: There is an intangible string of fate that binds souls destined to be together. Those connected are bound no matter of time, place or circumstance.
The red string of fate is derived from an ancient East Asian belief. According to this myth, the Gods tie a red string around the ankles of all those that are destined to meet each other or help each other in a certain way.
No matter how near or far you are from them, the thread remains. There will be times when mentally or physically, you feel distant from those people, but that doesn’t affect the thread that binds you together. I’ve always believed and loved this tale... and thought it was a great time to remember it. 
Do you believe in legends and tales? 💫
  • Im finally slowly starting to feel like myself again, it’s been challenging and a battle adapting to the new... I read something I posted once before and felt like reading it over and over again, the more I read it, the more I started to remember who I was, who I am...and, with this new moon, I feel it’s my chance to start over again, finally. Some clarity. Some strength. 
I believe in giving people time...Time to process the good and the bad because, there is something so beautiful about unforced bonds. 
I’m a forever kind of person. I don’t have room for temporary. I believe in big love, of growing old with your friends and soulmates. I believe in being there for people through thick and thin. I believe in not giving up when things get tough. I believe in relationships that can make it through everything... unforced bonds. 💫
What about you? How are You!?
  • Maybe you say that you are in touch with reality and “She is not” 
But maybe, instead say, “Her reality is so different from ours that she can't explain hers to us, and we can't explain ours to her”

Reality differs from person to person... My reality is liberating and filled with love... I’m going to remind myself to always be brave enough to keep holding on to it 💫 ♥️
  • Finland... I dream of you in colors... only the blind can feel...💫
  • Some truth: 
I created a life I always dreamed of, and not what others expect of me. 
I knew what I wanted from the very start and I didn’t let anything stand in my way. 
The stories of who I am is told through what I remind myself on how far I’ve come and that it’s always ok not to have everything figured out. 
I’ve always known what I wanted out of my life, and I’m still on my journey. 
So, how am I coping with our @travelwithtjd business during this pandemic? 
I’ve pushed away those who told me “ You are a dreamer for thinking it will end soon” -  because I believe it will. 
I’ve dropped those who laughed when I said “we will fly the skies once again, sooner than we think”. Because I’m a free spirit.
I’ve blocked those who have repeatedly given me their advice that I should ‘find a new hobby or create a new business’. Because, with this lockdown or not, I’ve been creating my own reality, with my passion and love for yoga, traveling, photography, reading and my persistence on building an empire out of @travelwithtjd - I’ve been (and still) doing exactly what I’ve always loved. 
We are strong resilient human beings. 
I’ve fallen in love with being alive a very long time ago. And I for one, will always stay hopeful and I know that in the end, everything always works out. Because it always, always does. 
Photo by @dennisstever
  • This is for those who give everything they’ve got to make their lives as beautiful as their dreams... and for the friends who stick... for what’s real and what's not...
You will find them in the little things... and little moments. Now more than ever. 
That's when you know 💫 
Happy Palm Sunday 🙂
  • Woke up this morning feeling a sudden disconnection.
There’s power in disconnection.
When you separate yourself from the world for a while, you’ll figure out what’s feeding ur soul, what’s entertaining ur ego, what’s nothing but a distraction... and then you find exactly where your alignment is.
  • Happy whatever f**** day it is 🤷‍♀️
  • Someone said to me “The strong woman you are becoming will cost you people, relationships, spaces, outings and material things. Always choose her over everything!” And so, I did. 💫