(long post alert, photos added later)
We started our first day early in the morning by taking the very first train available from KIX airport because we intended to go to Kyoto. Remembering that the trip from airport to Namba had taken around 1hour and another 1 hour was needed to reach Kyoto. We arrived at terminal 2 and took the shuttle bus to terminal 1 and stopped by Lawson to buy our Universal Studio’s tickets for October 14, not realizing that it was Friday. We tried to ask the Lawson staff about changing it to Thursday, but it couldn’t be changed anymore so we had no choice but to face the crowd on Friday.
We first stopped by Osaka to put our luggage before we could check in to Hotel Sunplaza. It was good that they provided such service that we did not need to carry our luggage along the way. Then we went to Kyoto. First we visited the Fushimi Momoyama Castle, which I heard is not opened to public and no entrance ticket is needed. After taking the train, we needed to walk around 15 minutes to get to the castle. We went through various Japanese houses, traditional to modern along the streets. When we arrived, we could only spot several people coming to visit this bright-red color castle, making it is very easy to capture the castle from every angle we wanted.
We made the next stop at Fushimi Inari Shrine which is also my favorite place in Kyoto. There were many stands selling food and souvenir along the street before the shrine entrance, whose seller surprisingly could speak Chinese as they promoted their stuffs. What I loved the most from Fushimi Inari is the orange toris lining up which really distinguish this shrine and made it a must visit shrine at Kyoto. We did visit it on our last trip but we did not climb too far from the entrance. It was very challenging to take a satisfying photo because there were just too many people. I knew we would not climb to the top of Mt. Inari because it would take around 2.5 hours to reach the top, but this time we did walk further from the entrance and it revealed that the further we walked, the less the crowd was and so it was easier to get better photo.
After we felt satisfied with those toris, we continued to go to Nishiki Market. Since Nishiki Market was not located right beside the big road, we knew we had reached it by recognizing its unique colorful roof, which was lovely under the bright sunlight. Nishiki Market has numerous kinds of unique food to try and not to mention that they were very delicious. We did try several snacks such as: the baby octopus with egg in its head, green tea fluffy mochi, cheese takoyaki. On our last trip we had already tried the tofu ice cream and tofu doughnut so we did not buy them again this time. We ate our lunch at Sukiya near Nishiki market, one of my favorite gyudon stores and I ordered the three types cheese gyudon; the cheese was very tasteful.
My other Kyoto must visit place is Arashiyama bamboo groove. We also went through the Togetsukyo Bridge to reach Arashiyama. It was very pleasant to sit by the river to enjoy the breeze and the surrounding traffic. After crossing the bridge, we then looked for the famous Arashiyama bamboo groove, which is also a popular place for tourist. I always get confused that the bamboo groove shown in Google images is so clean but the scene I saw on my previous trip was not the same. I spotted power poles along the bamboo groove that I started to doubt whether I came to the wrong place. It came to me that we actually came to the right place; it was that we did not walk far enough to find the more beautiful spot of the bamboo groove.
We also stopped by the Kyoto Station to see the Kyoto Tower, but we did not go into the tower because we saved the high building for Osaka Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden and Osaka Sakishima Building. We just entered the office of Kansai Tourist Information Center located on the 3rd floor of Kyoto Tower to buy Kintetsu pass. It was so disappointing the staff said that there were no more limited express tickets included in the pass. Because we had planned to go to Nagoya the next day, we then bought the reserved seat ticket for Y1900 to reach Nagoya as fast as possible.
We then headed to Higashi Hongaji Temple which was just few minutes away from the Kyoto Tower, to adore its two largest structure: Goeido Hall and Amida Buddha along with the Founder’s Hall Gate.
It was getting late and because we were going to Nagoya for the second day, we went back earlier to Osaka and had dinner of Ichiran ramen at Dotonburi. I love Ichiran so much, its taste was just perfect, however the price has increased by Y100 compared to last year when I visited Tokyo. Dotonburi is famous for the foods as well as the Glico advertisement board. Later during the trip I realized we went to Dotonburi almost every day except for the day we went to Universal Studio. We also visited Dotonburi both day and night so I had the Glico board photo in these versions. My bf thought it was boring but I found it exciting. HAHA