26th May, 2018
I had been looking forward to visiting Kyoto so much, and it didn’t disappoint.
We had the most wonderful time there. Jam packed days of train adventures and exploring and learning so much about this wonderful country.
We stayed at COTO Kyoto Momoyama. Sleeping on traditional Japanese Futon beds. We just loved this property. Brand new and fully equipped. The Japanese really know how to do interiors, and this place was just gorgeous.
Once again, in a great little neighbourhood of Fushimi. Out of the hustle and bustle of the main city, yet still only a short train ride into the CBD if we wanted to get amongst it.
So many lovely arcades and streets to explore. Little shops to browse. Lovely locals to talk with and learn from. It very quickly felt like home to us.
Nara is in the Kansai region and was an easy train ride from where we were staying. Famous for the beautiful wild Sika Deer that roam free in the area, and the kids were so looking forward to getting their animal fix.
Nara Park is just beautiful and I was delighted to see a few cheery blossoms had held on to their pretty pink blooms, waiting for my arrival. It was a cool day, with a slight breeze and it was just magical watching the pink petals fall from the trees like Sakura snow.
Nara has more to offer than just seeing cute deer. The town is so sweet, with much to see and explore. We spent half a day there, but you could definitely stay in town for a few nights and really cover some ground.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove:
Another place I had been looking forward to visiting was the Arashiyama bamboo grove and I must be completely honest and say that I was a little underwhelmed with the grove itself. I had imagined this huge bamboo forest with walk paths for miles…room for the kids to run around and explore. It was in fact, one short path thick with bamboo either side, crammed with people taking photos. It was still beautiful, of course, just not what I was expecting. The perfect case of – too many photos on social media and expectations vs reality.
However, I am really glad we made the trip here as the weather was absolutely perfect and this outing turned out to be one of our favourite days of the entire trip. The town of Arashiyama is just beautiful. The lake is stunning and you can definitely spend the whole day wandering around, enjoying a green tea soft serve, or Asahi in the sunshine, and watching the world go by.
Fushimi Inari Taisha:
The Fushimi Shrine sits at the bottom of a mountain, and takes approximately 2 hours to climb up and back – walking through the thousands of torii gates. You’ve probably seen it plastered all over social media. Insta-famous for its stunning vermillion torii gates.
Entry is free. Be sure to take some water, wear your walking shoes and be prepared for crowds. It was pretty busy the day we visited, but still so very beautiful, and definitely a highlight for me.
Okay, here goes – BIG call…Kyoto is hands down my favourite! Of all the places we visited in Japan, Kyoto is the first that comes to mind – every.single.time. and the first I would return to.
If you’re ever planning to visit Japan – make sure Kyoto is definitely on your list.
Next up, the final instalment of our Japanese adventure –