3 Nights In Kyoto

After 5 nights in Tokyo, it felt great to be leaving the big city and onto a smaller, cozier one. Some of my best memories from this trip come from Kyoto. Keep reading to find out what they were!

Our 3 Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Traveled via Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, Kiyomizudera Temple, Philosopher's Walk

Our hotel was in the Higashiyama area. It was a beautiful and romantic walk to our hotel.

Kiyomizudera Temple at sunset

We had to walk uphill for about a mile to get to the temple and saw so many stores and little restaurants. We had an ice-cream cone and part of a fishcake dish called Dango by the time we reached this majestic temple. It was inexpensive to get into the temple and it's totally worth it! Not only are there temple structures here, but also a long walkway with gardens, and of course, a great view of the city.

Gion Quarter

Later that evening we walked over to the traditional side of Kyoto, Gion Quarter. There were traditional Japanese houses and ladies wearing just beautiful robes and kimonos. It felt so majestic just being there. One thing I found really cool was that there were temples immersed in the neighborhood, between houses. We'd walk past a residential area and there would be a temple almost on every block. On our way back to the hotel, we went to a local restaurant to try Okonomiyaki. It was so much fun interacting with the locals there and watching the chef make our food right in front of us.

Day 2 - Arashiyama Area, Monkey Park, and Bamboo Forest

We set out to go to Arashiyama to see monkeys. This place was just breathtaking. There was a lake and a beautiful mountain with blooming Cherry Blossom trees all around it. There was a spot in the mountain that looked as if there was a pink floral waterfall coming down it. It was serene! Turned out, we had to hike about a mile up this mountain to see the monkeys. The climb was definitely worth it. We were able to leave the crowds behind and were so happy to see that the monkeys just roamed free here. We even got to feed them! This was one of our best experiences in Japan.

Day 3 - Nara Deer Park and Fushimi-Inari Shrine

We got to Nara around 11:30am and went to a popular local restaurant for lunch. Now, if you haven't heard of Nara, it is known for it's resident deer that roam the parks of Nara. I have to tell you, we saw the deer and they were really cute! Now I was expecting to just see a few of them, but it made to so happy to see that there were so many of them. You can buy food to feed them for about $1.50 USD and we bought three bunches between the two of us to feed them. THE AMAZING PART, these deer bow to ask you for food and bow in thanks! How cool is that? Some of them even let you pet them! It's the younger deer that are more skiddish.

We went to the Fushimi-Inari temple next. We got there around 4pm and decided to climb all the way up the mountain. What is so incredible about this hike is that, the trails are surrounded by vibrant red gates. This is a top tourist spot in Kyoto so it was really crowded, but the higher we climbed, the fewer people we saw. That's where we got to take some great photos! Since we saw so many things this day and walked a lot, we decided to go back to our hotel and only stepped out to eat dinner at a nearby restaurant.

The next day, we set out for Osaka to get closer to the airport. Check out what we did during our day in Osaka, in my upcoming post.