In Kyoto (Day 2 – Part 1)

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On our 2nd day of our Spring holiday, we went to Kyoto for a 1-Day sightseeing as well as to meet up with a friend whom I haven’t seen in over 2 years!  Kyoto is definitely not a 1-Day touring city.  You’ll need at least 2 days and a good pair of walking boots.  I also highly recommend getting the bus travel pass although our concierge didn’t recommend it.  However, after walking for a day, you DO NOT want to walk back to the hotel/ train station/ wherever.

Arriving in Kyoto, the scenery is very different from Osaka. Older, more quaint and subdued.

We were greeted at the station by the statue of the supposed founder of Kabuki theatre, who was a woman.  Highly ironic that women were banned from Kabuki during the Edo period and only men were allowed on stage.

Across from the station and statue was the kabuki theatre where you can pay a hefty ticket fee to watch a 3-hour kabuki play.  Would love to be able to do that one day but alas, my pocket is empty and my time is filled.

The first tourist spot that we headed to was the Yasakasa Shrine, which is one of the 3 temple routes to the mountain (I forgot the name) and is also one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto.

I just love how there are so many old buildings in Japan that may not necessarily be used but they still stand and the juxtaposition against modern cars is just great!

Wishes, anyone?

Companies or individuals can donate various sums of money to the shrine and if you hit certain amounts, you can have your company name or name written on lanterns/ lamps/ tori-gate etc.

Pathway to the mountain

(Above) Why is there 1 special name written in blue??
(Below)  F-1? Well…not the Grand Prix.  It’s just the name of a Pachinko parlour in Kyoto.

Got a bad lot? Tie it and leave it on temple grounds

God of binding fate?

After visiting the shrine, we headed off to Kiyomizu-dera, which is a temple that I had visited in 2005 but never went in. This time round, I simply HAD to go in.  I highly recommend taking the walk from Yasakasa to Kiyomizu-dera because there are a lot of things to do and see (plus eat) on the way.

Old and narrow streets of Kyoto

This woman dyed her poodle’s hair hot pink!!

The last time I came to Kyoto, I didn’t manage to see any maiko (geisha trainees) but I finally managed to catch some!!

Maikos at a photoshoot

On our way, we passed by the first pagoda in Japan.  Again, something that you wouldn’t see by taking the bus or train. So it’s worth the walk up the hill/mountain…depending on how tired you are.

The view at the crossroads towards Kiyomizu-dera

What do you do when you’re tired and at a pseudo pit stop towards Kiyomizu-dera?  Why, you eat of course!  We started off with a Tofu Manju (JPY200) which comes with a cup of hot green tea if you sit down to eat.

The filling was really subtle but yet quite yummy.  It’s not the usual tofu but the whey of the tofu that has been cooked with other savoury stuff.  It’s also eaten in some traditional Japanese breakfasts with rice.

That’s me enjoying my manju

When we walked further up the slope, there was a Croquette specialty shop and the special was their Monaka croquette.

As you can see, it is a normal beef croquette sandwiched between 2 wafers and a special cream sauce and cooked black beans.  When closed, it resembled a dessert but it’s really a savoury food party that bursts into your mouth.  The beans are slightly sweet and this mixes with the savoury croquette and all is tied together with the creaminess of the sauce. 

We also ordered a normal beef croquette which was simply delicious eaten hot.  I don’t know why but the croquettes that are sold in Isetan, Singapore, do not hit the same spot as these babies.  Alas, I only took a photo of the 1st character of the shop (as seen in the photo below)…so happy hunting.  Would it help if I mentioned that they ONLY sell croquette? *sheepish smile*

Walking even further uphill, we reached the major crossroads where the buses were offloading tourists and Japanese high school students on tour.  Just in time for lunch.  I spotted a noodle specialty shop that’s on the 2nd floor and that’s where we went to savour soba.

Name of the shop = Menkuroudo

My cold duck soba set

Siew mai’s ten don soba set, which was the special of the day

I shall leave you with the photos of the food for this part as on my actual trip, this was where we took a well deserved rest before heading off, walking around the half of Kyoto.

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