Visiting Japan: Last Days!

And finally! Last part of my wonderful visit to Japan. If you’d like to see the other parts click here for part 1, part 2part 3 and part 4. Hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have! Writing about the trip was a great way of looking at all my photos and remembering all that I enjoyed doing while I was there.

Day 10

We had planned to go have breakfast in a local café, but as we were leaving our host said that there was free breakfast at the hotel, so we decided to save a few yen and ate some croissants and grabbed a few cups of filtered coffee.

After that, we tried to find the right bus stop so we could go to see the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji). In Kyoto, the best way is to travel around by bus, and you should buy a day ticket, as it’s quite cheap (around 500 yen I think). However, we got on the wrong bus and rode it for around 20 minutes before we realised it.

We noticed our mistake when we suddenly saw that there are two pavilions with similar names in Kyoto (Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji) which are in opposite parts of town! So we got off and boarded the right bus.

Even though we lost quite a bit of time with this, and because the bus routes aren’t that well planned, it was so worth the time. Kinkaku-ji is stunning. The moment you go in you see it, floating above the water, the sun reflecting off its golden paint.

IMAG2555The gardens were breathtaking and I really didn’t want to leave. There were a few Buddha statuettes (at least they looked like tiny Buddhas) and you had to try and throw a coin in their bowl, which I was able to, so I hope the bad luck from the fortune I got on New Year’s Eve (see part 2) has been completely obliterated by this.

IMAG2556IMAG2561There were a lot of little souvenir shops and tea shops, and we lit a few candles (old promise I made to my godmother): I burnt one to reduce the stress in my life, and my boyfriend burnt one so he would get good job opportunities.

Reluctantly, we left the beautiful pavilion and got the bus so we could go see the oh so famous Gion. I wish we had the time to be able to see it at night, as most restaurants there were closed, but we got some sweets and had really good oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice). For some reason I didn’t take a lot of pictures, I think I felt uncomfortable and in a rush, as we only had that day in Kyoto and I still wanted to go to a specific temple just outside town.

IMAG2568IMAG2571After lunch and some more walking around, we then got the bus to Kyoto’s central train station and got the train to go to the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. We got off at the train station with the same name (grabbing the opportunity to add another stamp to my collection) and followed the crowds. Turns out the temple is right outside the station, you can’t miss it!

IMAG2577The Fushimi Inari Shrine is a Shinto Shrine dedicated to the god Inari, who is the protector of grains, mainly rice and sake. Throughout the whole shrine there were statues of foxes, who are believed to be Inari’s messengers.

IMAG2576The shrine is famous for the unbelievable number of orange toriis (or gates) which were donated by inumerous businesses and restaurants, in order to have good fortune. Each of the toriis had the name of the businesses and business owners written on it and the toriis make a tunnel-like path all the way up to the mountain top.

IMAG2582

IMAG2591We wanted to go all the way up, but due to our tight schedule (and to a certain someone’s grumpiness), we paid our respects in a small shrine and walked back down. If you’re trying to get that perfect photo of the toriis without a single person, good luck. Maybe if you walk closer to the top you’ll be able to.

We left Fushimi Inari and had a few snacks in Kyoto station before getting on the shinkansen back to Tokyo. It was a short adventure, but I think we saw a lot of amazing sights and places that I won’t easily forget. I hope I’ll have the chance to revisit Kyoto once more, and maybe try renting a kimono! That’s definitely on my bucket list.

Day 11

Back in Tokyo, we decided to go to DisneyLand! We got the train, it took us around an hour to get there, so it was around 11 when we finally bought our tickets (around 7000yen, or 70 dollars each) – there were no lines! It had been years and years since I had been in a proper amusement park, and I enjoyed every second of it!

IMAG2595Our first stop was, of course, the Star Wars ride, as the movie had recently come out (and what a great movie it was). After that we got fast track tickets for Space Mountain and tried other less popular rides while we waited. We then had lunch and did the same for Thunder Mountain.

IMAG2607In the evening we got caramel flavoured popcorn inside a giant Minnie Mouse bow and made ourselves comfortable in order to watch the evening parade. It was a really magical day and I really recommend it to anybody who has the means to visit DisneyLand. It’s really funny to see how most visitors’ first stop is the gift shop so they can wear matching hats and jumpers throughout the day.

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Days 12 and 13

The last few days in Tokyo were dedicated to shopping and getting ready to leave the country. One of the last highlights was that we went to the Kill Bill bar in Roppongi, which was pretty cool.

IMAG2635Japan is a really amazing place and I enjoyed every single minute I spent in it, even when all we did was visit the kombini or buying hot green tea from a vending machine. Writing these posts, remembering all the wonderful adventures we had, it’s made me really excited about going back in September.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about this. Sorry it ended up being so long, but there were just too many things I wanted to show you!

Don’t forget to comment, and until next time,

Ines

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