Nippon Journey : Day 4 : Best of the best -Kyoto

Day 4 : Osaka – Kyoto

Journey to Kyoto took about 45 minutes train ride from Osaka – via Kyoto Line & Hankyu Arshiyama Line.

Personally, Kyoto is my favorite pitstop in our entire Nippon Journey. The traditional setting and perfectly preserved nature brings tranquility, words could not describe. For those who plans to visit Kyoto, ideally spend at least 3 full days to discover Kyoto. For us, since we only have a day to cramp in all our “wish list” in Kyoto, these were the best that we could get from our day trip to Kyoto.

By the Katsura Riverbank. Background: Togetsu-kyo Bridge

1st Pitstop: Togetsu-Kyo Bridge

Upon arrival at the Hankyu Arashiyama Station, we took a 10 minutes stroll to the famous Togetsu-Kyo Bridge, the symbol of Arashiyama.

The 155-meter bridge over the sparkling clear Katsura River overseeing the Arashiyama Mountain, is a pure beauty. The background will be covered with pinkish sakura during its full bloom in spring and will be covered with red leaves in autumn.

There are lots of souvenir shops at the foot of the bridge, while rickshaws go back and forth there, creating a traditional Japanese atmosphere.
Umbrella shop
Moments perfectly captured

2nd Pitstop: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Road

One of Kyoto’s top sight, just a 15 minutes walk to the north from the foot of the Togetsu-Kyo Bridge.

Walk along the ally full with lines of bamboo and you will see man dressed in traditional Japanese clothing pulling the rickshaw along the road which will give you a feel that you have been teleported to a different era.

The early bloom sakura @ Sagano Mountain

3rd Pitstop : Sagano Romantic Train.

Another 15 minutes walk to the east of the Bamboo Grove Road will take to Torokko Saga Station where you can board the open air Sagano Romantic Train

  • Fees : 620 Yen
  • Operating Hours : 9.00 – 16.00 (until 17.00 on busy days)
  • Closed :
  • Wednesday (except during national holidays, during spring and summer vacation period and autumn foliage season)
  • 30th Dec to end of Feb
Sagano Romantic Train

Sightseeing train line that runs along the Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka. Its charming, old-fashioned trains wind their way through the mountains at a relatively slow pace, taking about 25 minutes to make the seven kilometer journey and giving passengers a pleasant view of the scenery as they travel from Arashiyama through the forested ravine and into rural Kameoka.

Source: Wikipedia

Friendly Tips :

  • The train departs in every one hour and you can choose your departure time at the ticket counter. You may choose to stand (if you choose to stand you will need stand throughout the ride although there are empty seats available) or to sit in the train at the same fees.
  • the train have few coaches but the scenery is best viewed from the 5th coach/carriage, nicknamed “The Rich” as it is a fully open-air carriage with broad glass-less window and transparent rooftop. You may request to be placed at this coach at the ticket counter.
  • The traffic is more heavy from Torokko-Saga Station (you may not have the privilege to be picky), you might want to try departing from the other end of the line i.e. Torokko-Kameoka Station as the station has less traffic, so i was told.
Hike through thousands of tori gates @ Fushimi Inari Taisha

4th Pitstop : Fushimi Inari Taisha.

A less than 20 minutes train ride from Torokko-Kameoka Station to Fushimi Inari Station, you will later be greeted by the grand red vermillion tori gate at the entrance of the Kyoto’s famous, Fushimi Inari Taisha. This is the head shrine of Inari and it also have 4km trails up to the mountain linking to a smaller shines along the way (in the interest of time, of course we only go trough less than a quarter of the trail before we decide to return to the base and enjoy freshly cooked takoyaki along the temple exit gate).

Pre-wedding photo shoot at the Street of Gion

5th Pitstop : The Street of Gion.

A less than 10 minutes train ride from Tofokuji Station took us to the one of the ‘must-visit’ site in Kyoto, The Street of Gion just outside the Gion-Shijo Station.

As if we have travelled back in time. An authentic traditional setting with tourist dressed in kimono, maiko-san & geisha spotted strolling along the street.

Geisha spotted at Kimono Exhibition

6th Pitstop : Yasaka Hall Gion Corner & Kimono Exhibition.
Just stroll along the street of Gion and you will never miss a big hall towards the end of the street which is the Japanese traditional performing arts center. If you are lucky you may bump into the beautiful geisha/maiko at this area.

Yasaka Hall, Gion Corner
Afternoon picnic at Maruyama Park

7th Pitstop : Maruyama Park

Just a few minutes walk from The Street of Gion, we take a break at the park for an afternoon tea picnic beneath the early bloom cherry blossom tree.

Musafir Tips:

  • You may perform solat here as it is quite convenient plus there are plenty of public toilet around the park where you can take wudhu’.
  • You can also go to Kyoto Mosque which is located within a few minutes walk from the Jingu Marutamachi-Station (near the Kyoto Imperial Palace). Follow the link for map to the mosque http://kyoto.travel/muslim/en/.

Kindly also note that the mosque is just an apartment bought by a Japanese & 2 Indonesian muslim and was donated/converted into an Islamic Cultural Center and Musolla (May Allah bless them all) as told by a local muslim friend we met in Kyoto. Hence, the operating hours is quite limited, with details as follows;

  • Mosque and office are open from Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00 to 18:00.
  • They are closed on Sundays and Mondays. If you wish to use the prayer facilities during closing hours, please make prior arrangements at the office.

They intend to build a large new mosque (open on all days of the year) in the near future, insha’Allah. May Allah bless & and ease their effort in realizing this plan.

Sunset at Kiyomizu

8th Pitstop : Kiyomizudera Temple

Another half an hour (1.8 KM) walk from Maruyama Park, crossing through the small ally between Yasaka-Shrine & Kodaiji Temple took us our next pitstop, one of the most prominent world heritage site in Kyoto, Kiyomizudera Temple. Hilly path to the temple but you won’t feel it coz it is surrounded by souvenir shops along the hill, you can just stop-by for a retail therapy before you continue your journey.

Friendly tips:

  • You should buy souvenir here or at tourist attraction spot coz most of the shops are tax-free.
  • You might want to look for the Japan tax-free shop sticker or ask the shop owner whether their shop is tax-free before u purchase anything. It could save you 8% of Japan GST.
  • Shops in other than tourist spot have comparatively higher price hence if you like anything along the way just go ahead and buy it!
Dinner is served

9th Pitstop : Dinner @ Kyoto Rose Cafe (Halal Turkish Cruisine)

From Kiyomizudera Temple we took the bus to Kyoto University bus station (bus no 206). It took another 10 minutes stroll along the university area and across the Kamo River before we reached at our final pitstop, Kyoto Rose Cafe.

We were introduced to this restaurant by a local Japanese Muslim friend we met on our way. The restaurant offered a wide range of Turkish dishes at an affordable price. The best thing is the cafe also offered a group course at a very affordable price of 1,300 Yen per set  which include;

  • soup of the day
  • salad
  • main dish (you can choose from more than 5 main dish selection)
  • any drinks from the beverage selection.

The food was great, the ambiance is very warm and most important, it’s certified as a Muslim-Friendly Shop. For more info, visit : http://www.kyotorosecafe.jp/

Friendly tips:
This place is located near to the Kyoto Mosque. Hence, like mentioned in my earlier post if you want to look for halal food go n find the nearest mosque. There would be plenty along the area.

Muslim friendly shop
– End of Day 4 –
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