Kyoto: Where getting lost is always a good thing

We got lost on our first night in Kyoto—and it pretty much set the theme for the first half of our 10-day Japan trip. :P

Our flight had arrived an hour late and it took us another hour via the JR Hakura Express to get to Kyoto station, where we ended up taking the wrong exit that led us to walk—hauling our 20kg luggages, I might add!—two kilometers away from our quirky family-owned Japanese inn. To put ourselves out of our misery, we ended up taking a seven-minute cab ride to the wrong hotel (cost us a painful Y660, too), where my friend Bea had a rude awakening in the form of an old man wearing only a t-shirt and his tighty whities. Haha. We eventually made it to our cozy backpackers inn, where the owner kept shushing us for making too much noise—we arrived a little before midnight and it was already lights out AND we were too excited to stay still.

It was, to say the least, a pretty eventful way to start our 10-day Japanese adventure. :D

If you’ve been following me in any of my social networks, you would know that Japan is like an ex I can’t get over. The place haunts me and I really felt I had to come back for a longer visit. What did me in was the second to the last day of our trip last year—that PERFECT afternoon spent walking along quaint Sanjo-dori street all the way to Nara Koen, where the deers seem to outnumber humans and where the magnificent heritage temples of ancient Nara proudly stand. A gloomy raincloud had followed us around for days, but that amber-hued afternoon, the sun finally came out and we got to see and experience Japan in all its glory. There was just something otherworldly and ethereal about the place that hooked us in.

Fast forward to a year and a month later, and there we were again, drinking ourselves silly that cool spring night in Kyoto, grinning from ear to ear because we were finally, finally in Japan again :D

Kyoto 2013

We decided to make Kyoto our homebase this time—it had rained non-stop when we were there last year so we didn’t really get to explore Japan’s former capital properly. I was once again in charge of creating our itinerary, and this time I made sure to squeeze in as much of Kyoto’s must-see places as possible :D

All the effort doing research definitely paid off because the places waiting for us were absolutely beautiful—especially the ones we ended up getting lost in. Some of my favorite snaps…

Koi pond at the Tenryuji Zen Temple

Kyoto 2013

A gentle breeze blew past us while we were walking around Arashiyama, and the moment we entered the path leading to its famous bamboo grove, we were hypnotized.

Kyoto 2013

Kyoto 2013

Bamboo trees, some as tall as four- to five-storey buildings, swayed gently back and forth, its leaves emitting a rhythm that sent us on a trancelike, meditative state. Which, of course, did not keep us from camwhoring, as seen below:Kyoto 2013

Rickshaw ride in Arashiyama

Japan 2013

The one thing I should’ve done in Kyoto…CYCLE!

Kyoto 2013

Went past this field when we got lost :P

Kyoto 2013

Ended up back in the main street because we were drawn to the smell of these babies.

Kyoto 2013 

Look at these two, all dressed up.

Kyoto 2013

Walking around Gion at dusk…

Kyoto 2013

Geisha off to her evening appointment…

Kyoto 2013

Downtown Kyoto…

Kyoto 2013

Do yourself a favor and buy this strawberry and red bean mochi in the basement of Daimaru.

Japan 2013

I came back to Japan for this. Biting into it is pure bliss. Gaaah.


2 thoughts on “Kyoto: Where getting lost is always a good thing

  1. Gion is such a lovely spot. The most magical night of my traveling life was there – seeing it snow over cherry blossoms in Gion. It’s a bit difficult to get lost in Kyoto, don’t you think? What with all the parallel grid-like streets. Tokyo on the other hand is a complete maze without a guide – at least until they invented GPS!


    1. Well when you compare it to Tokyo, going around Kyoto is easy peasy. Tokyo is a labyrinth…if it weren’t for Hyperdia, I don’t know how I would’ve made it to the airport. Not that I’d mind being stuck in the place.

      Any chance you have photos or an entry of that magical night in Gion? :) sadly, the cherry blossoms evaded us when we were there. But we got lucky in everywhere!


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