Monday, 18 May 2015

Kyoto | Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Walking through the corridors of the hotel, the view of the Kyoto Tower is just as beautiful during the day as it is lit up during the evening. After getting ready for the morning, we headed off to the Japanese Cuisine Restaurant for a traditional breakfast. Believe me, we ended up coming here for breakfast for the rest of the trip. We didn't really wanted to have any western breakfast as we know we couldn't eat as much at the buffet.  

Traditional Japanese breakfast are always delicious to the eyes as well as to the stomach. Japanese culinary as always, thought through thoroughly (bit of a tongue twister there). Loads of vegetables and enough protein and carbohydrates to last the morning. 

After breakfast, we headed to a hotel lounge where they provided a mini concierge and coffee/tea station. It was a great service from the hotel because of the information and bookings they made for us during our trip. If you do end up staying at the Granvia Hotel, I do highly recommend going there for more tourist information instead of the main lobby where it's always busy. 

Waiting at the bus station with a view
One of the cheapest way to travel in Kyoto is by bus. If you visit Japan often, I do recommend getting their travel passes or even an IC Card (Click Here for more information). Which is equivalent to an Octopus in Hong Kong or an Oyster Card in London.  Within Kyoto, they call it the ICOCA, they differ in names depending on the city. Certain older buses DO NOT provide the IC Card service, so be sure to know which bus you're getting onto, or you'll be counting coins out from your pockets and paying more than you should without a ticket each when you entered the bus. There's always a first for everything too. The buses in Kyoto are definitely the first ones which I get on at where we normally would exit. Payment and exit would be where the bus driver is, strange at first, then after a few more rides, it just seemed normal. 

Since it was a glorious day to start the trip off, we decided to go to Kiyomizu-dera Temple first. Glad we did too because it was raining on and off during the rest of our travels. Even though it was a Sunday, I'm glad we did go on the weekend too! I would not have been able to take as many photos of some locals wearing the traditional kimonos comparing the weekdays. Don't be fooled by some of those who wear the kimino or yukata (depending on the season). Many are actually rented by tourists, most I've seen are from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China.

It was a shame that it was just a little too cold for the blossoms to bloom just yet but at least I managed to capture a few good shots!

It was a real shame the temple was in restoration with most parts of the architecture covered but since the cherry blossoms haven't bloomed yet, in a way, I don't feel like I've missed out too much. 

We actually made a reservation at the restaurant first thing before we went off touring around the temple area. We did that to ensure we had a table for lunch because it was the weekend after all, and there will be plenty of locals and tourists. Glad we did too! When we arrived at the restaurant, it was already packed! 

Bit of a shopping time 

Even though we've just had lunch not long ago, I just had to have some good old traditional dessert in Kyoto! I just had to go to Umezono! There are two cafes in Kyoto (Click Here to view on Google Map). For me, anything with mochi, green tea, sweetness and all things Japanese just makes it all so satisfying.

Bunny for my sister 

I couldn't resist a snack on the way

Kyoto Specialty : Preserved Vegetables

I had some street food on the way too...

After a long walk at the temple itself, we ended up at Gion for dinner at the old Junidanya Hanamikoji. Just around the corner at the new Junidanya which is more wallet friendly with set meals and prices that would suit many locals and tourists. I hear it is just as good however, we really wanted to try their older restaurant which is just around the corner from the main street. Personally, it was worth every penny. Click Here for the English website, there is a link where it leads you to the Japanese version with more details. 

Baby Bear | Papa Bear | Mama Bear 

Shabu Shabu Time 

When in Kyoto, you definitely have to try their preserved vegetables! It's definitely not the same in other cities in Japan. 

Dessert to round the meal up

What's your favorite Food from Japan? 

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