Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Kyoto ’14, Day 6 – Yasaka Shrine, Higashiyama District and Back to Tokyo

The next morning, on Sunday, we felt a lot better. We had had a good night’s sleep, thank God, because we needed it. We packed our things back into our little suitcases. We checked our room one last time (or rather, three last times) and then went downstairs to check out. Since our train wouldn’t leave until 2 pm, we left our suitcases at the hotel and went on our way to find a place to eat. The hotel offered a very promising breakfast, but it was pretty expensive, so we crossed the street to the station. There, we soon found a cute little restaurant that served pancakes and orange juice with ice cubes in it, which was very delicious. ^^

Breakfast in Kyoto
Pancakes and orange juice with ice cubes. :3

Since we had visited most of the things we were dying to see, I suggested to go to the Higashiyama district, which is one of the city's best preserved historic districts. If we wanted, we could visit Gion by daylight after that.
We went on our way, somehow found the right metro (Kyoto stationnn…>_<) and got out at Higashiyama station. From there we had to walk a bit, which was quit daring since there were absolutely no signs guiding us in the right direction. Luckily asking helps and we were going the right way. Plus, the streets of Kyoto were so peaceful and pretty, it was also a bit of a treat to just walk around.

Kyoto Streets
The wired streets of Kyoto.

After a while, we arrived at a beautiful red building, which turned out to be the entrance to the Yasaka Shrine. We weren’t planning to visit a shrine, but since the Higashiyama District was easily accessible from here, well why not?

Gate to Yasaka Shrine
I love how you can see the modern city through behind the gate!

Behind the gate, I washed my hands as usual with a pan-shaped spoon. We walked on and passed some beautiful gates and statues. Everything was painted in the same colour of red as every other temple. I have really come to love that specific shade of red.

Wooden Gate
One of my most favourite pictures of my mom. ♥

A little further away, we arrived at a square with another temple. At one of the fountains, two beautiful girls dressed in yukatas were standing. I built up some courage and asked them for a picture. They were very happy to pose with me and they also asked for a picture on their camera as well! They were so cute!

Yukata Girls
These girls were so unbelievably sweet! ✿

I went looking for someone to ask for directions and walked into a man dressed in a white, priest-like robe. Communication went a little rough, but when a second white robed man joined us we were able to figure out where my mom and I had to go. We continued our way, when suddenly we walked straight past a wedding photoshoot ceremony. The bride looked so incredibly beautiful in her traditional clothing! My mom and I were so impressed, we just watched for a while.

Wedding Pictures
I wish I could see how these pictures turned out! *o*

The couple’s families were standing along the side line as well and my mom really loved the women’s dresses. She asked me to tell one of the women she looked pretty. The woman was so surprised, pointing at the bride and saying she was much prettier, haha!
Finally, we continued our way again through a gate and walked for a while, passing a tree with papers tied to the branches, until we arrived at a t-section where we had to go right. We bought some drinks and watched while a girl dressed in a beautiful red yukata was doing a photoshoot as well. We went right, passing a mumbling monk and soon noticed the surroundings changing. The buildings became temple-like and so did the houses. We had clearly entered the Higashiyama district! Suddenly we saw two girls in the distance dressed as geishas. I think they were ‘normal’ girls dressed for the occasion, but they looked so pretty we asked them for a picture. ^^

Geisha Girls
I adored the prints on the girls’ clothes! Don’t they look pretty?

We passed a stall where dried fruits were being sold and the man behind it was so super enthusiastic and nice, he persuaded us to buy some dried orange pieces. We passed another girl dressed as a geisha, sitting in a rickshaw. She looked so pretty as well!
A kind man showed us the right way to go and finally we arrived in the preserved historic streets. This was exactly how I had imagined old Kyoto! *_* I don’t know how to describe it, just look at the picture below and you’ll understand I think.

Higashiyama District
All the buildings looked so amazing! Old Kyoto is wonderful!

We passed many wonderful stores (lots of them sold umbrellas) and little restaurants. After a while, we passed a shop that sold geisha-like hair accessories and I couldn’t withstand the temptation to take a look inside. They had the most amazing hair pieces! Unfortunately, the typical geisha ones with the string of flowers were quite expensive, but I found an absolutely beautiful hair pin with crystal butterflies dangling from it. One of the sweet shop ladies showed me how to pin it into my hair, which turns out to be quite easy! I went to pay, bought an extra protective, soft bag (which wasn’t all that necessary after all I later realised, oh well) and left the store again. What a wonderful souvenir from Kyoto! ♥

Kyoto Souvenir
The shop was so beautiful, inside and out!

We went on and passed a little alley that led to a ‘geisha make over atelier’. If I ever visit Kyoto again, I really want to do a geisha photoshoot as well. *_* It seems like so much fun! This time, we really didn’t have time for it, but who knows next time..?

Geisha Poster
I spotted this beautiful poster and I just had to take a picture of it!

We reached the end of the street and walked up the famous Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka stairs. The view back on the street was so pretty!

Stairway Up
My mom walking up the famous stairs.

We walked on, just taking pictures of everything. We walked in the direction of the Yasaka pagoda, since it really stood out (literally) and the road just automatically went up that way. ^^

Yasaka Pagoda
In front of the Yasaka pagoda in the distance.

We briefly went into a store that sold all kinds of different music boxes. They had so many cute ones! The music they played sounded so soft, it was hard not to buy something! We walked on again, a little downhill, when two girls in incredibly colourful yukata walked in our opposite direction, which resulted into an amazing picture!

Yukata up the Hill
Isn’t this picture just wonderful? ;_;

We followed the road down when suddenly we passed a tree that was filled with late blooming sakura! Someday I hope to see a park filled with sakura trees, but seeing one big tree was already really lucky! Of course, we needed to take a picture of that!

Late Sakura
Sakura, sakura! ✿

We arrived at the end of the street and back into ‘the normal world’, aka the road with normal houses and cars and buses. We checked the time and decided to go back to the hotel, pick up our things and wait for the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. After some walking we found a bus station and soon the bus arrived. It was nice to sit down and enjoy Kyoto. We passed multiple things I definitely would like to see some day!
We arrived at Kyoto station and left the bus. This was definitely a very busy bus station: everywhere people were waiting for different buses, but always in a very neat line! So fascinating. We could also see the Kyoto Tower. It has a nice location, but it’s quite an
ugly thing. XD
Suddenly, while I looked up at Kyoto station’s enormous front side, I realised where we were. I had seen pictures of Kyoto station’s amazing and modern main hall, but my mom and I hadn’t seen it because we had arrived at a different side. When we entered, we both couldn’t suppress an ‘Oooh!’ The hall was gigantic and the ceiling seemed to be miles away: it was so big! Everywhere there were metal frames on the ceiling and on the walls. See for yourself on the picture below, describing it is so hard!

Kyoto Station
Amazing Kyoto station. The ceiling was so high!

Since we had time left, we went to explore this part of the station a bit by going up the escalators (so many, so high)! There were so many people walking around in the hall, it looked like an ants’ nest! We took about four long escalators, that’s how high the station was!

Up the Escalator
My mom taking a picture up the escalators.

We arrived on the roof, where the walls had large windows so you could oversee the entire city! I am sure my dad would have left to see it: he loves panoramic views.

On Top of Kyoto
On top of Kyoto~!

We walked all around the windows. On one side, there were windows looking out on a helicopter landing spot. It was pretty cool. :3 Before we went down again, my mom asked me to take a ‘scary’ picture for her.

Up on the Roof
It’s like my mom can fall down a really steep wall any moment! 0_0

Finally, we took the escalators down again. Since we were in a different part of the station, I needed some time to figure out where to go to get back to our hotel. I spotted the entrance to a department store and decided to enter it. Usually, department stores mean good news and easy guidance to your destination. Uhm… no, not in Kyoto station. We got quite lost and it took us a while to find the main hall again, after which we finally found the right way. *sigh* We walked through familiar halls of Kyoto station when I spotted a super market. We wanted to buy some food for the train, so we entered the shop and looked around for a bit. We bought some drinks and some puddings. ^^

Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping in Japan. :3

Suddenly I spotted a corner where they sold onigiri! I pointed it out to my mom and said we had to try it! When she asked me what it was, I said it resembled sushi a bit. I mean: rice wrapped in sea weed with an additional flavour like tuna? I’d say it’s comparable. But apparently a Japanese man walking by overheard me and loudly and annoyed said to his colleague in Japanese: 'That’s not sushi!’ Uhm… yes, good sir. I realise that. If you don’t speak my language, don’t criticize me. It was actually funny though. XD
We bought our onigiri and went on our way to the hotel. I quickly bought a beautiful postcard in a book store and then we arrived at our hotel. There, we picked up our luggage and went back to the station, where we immediately found the right platform. That is the only plus about Kyoto station: the Shinkansen tracks are very clearly indicated. ^^

Back to Tokyo
Ready for the ride back to Tokyo!

Unfortunately, there were absolutely no seats anywhere on the platform. Which was a shame, because we were tired like hell. x) Oh well, at least we could admire the big advertisements on the glass walls. I especially loved one that featured the DeLorean from Back to the Future.
Finally the train arrived and this time I was able to take pictures of it!

Hikari Shinkansen
The arrival of the Hikari Shinkansen.

We entered the train, sat down and soon it departed again. We said goodbye to Kyoto, got settled and opened our food wrappers. My drink, pudding and onigiri were all very tasty! They made a very good lunch.

Our (still unopened) food.

After about two hours, suddenly a miracle happened! We saw mount Fuji again, but more glorious than ever! It lay there, in the middle of the land, striking against the blue sky and the April sun made the snow-covered top look even whiter. It looked so beautiful! *_* Even the Japanese in our couch commented on how beautiful it looked that day!

Mount Fuji in April
Mount Fuji in all its glory! Isn’t it just breathtaking? ♥

The rest of the trip we mostly slept, until we finally arrived at Tokyo station. When my dad and I had walked around at this station, it was still under construction, but when my mom and I got outside we could see the front, which apparently is based on Amsterdam central station in my country.
We took the metro to Shinjuku, where it was as crowded as ever. I was a bit lost, but when I spotted a familiar building I thought I had found the right direction. Thought. Unfortunately I led us in a very wrong direction, resulting in us walking very far and having to go back again. I started crying; I was so angry at myself! We were so tired and I managed to make us even more tired! Luckily my mom was so sweet! I felt so bad though. ;_;
We managed to find the right way and finally arrived at the hotel, where we entered our room and fell down on the beds.
After some rest (which helped a lot), we decided to have some dinner and go to Ikebukuro afterwards. I changed into my cute bear hat (I wanted to wear it at least once during my trip and I had planned it with this particular outfit) and we went on our way.
After some doubting, we decided on an okonomiyaki restaurant in MyLord. Okonomiyaki is one of my most favourite Japanese foods, so we sat down in the little line for the apparently popular restaurant. Finally, we could enter the restaurant, where we got quite a surprise! All the tables had their own griddle! It turned out to be a restaurant where we had to make our own food! How amazing! *o*
Luckily, we weren’t completely left on our own. After you chose a dish, a waiter or waitress would come to your table, mix all the ingredients and show you how and how long it took to prepare the meal. My mom and I both chose a different dish, so we could both try two. ^^

Okonomiyaki Process
The process of okonomiyaki:
1. Have your waiter mix your ingredients.
2. Stare at the pan until the 4 minutes are over and turn the big pancake inside.
3. Prettify your dish with sauce and other things of your choice.
4. Itadakimasu!

It was a lot of fun to prepare our own okonomiyaki and it was sooo good! Thinking about it now makes me hungry…

Me waiting for my next serving of okonomiyaki. ♥

Eventually, our dinner took so long we couldn’t go to Ikebukuro anymore. Which was, thinking of it now, actually a good thing. Finally some rest in our busy Japan schedule! XD
We went back to the hotel, where we went to bed. It had been an eventful day. ^^

Purchases of the day


  1. It's so exciting to read all your adventures! All the food looks so delicious, it's making me nostaligic! I look forward to your next post ♥

    1. Thank you so much, I am glad you like my posts! =D
      Ah yes, I always love food so much I need to take pictures of it, hihi. ^^
      Thank you so much for your support~!

  2. You seem to be having so much fun! I hope I'll be able to experience your fun adventures myself someday! I'd like to travel abroad to study fashion design in or outside of Harajuku, though college is quite a ways away for me still. I look forward to reading the rest of your adventures! ^^