The Japan Journal - Day 11

K Y O T O  Districts covered: Arashimaya & Gion Day 11 marks our final full day in Japan, a mere bitter feeling. This country is ...

K Y O T O 

Districts covered: Arashimaya & Gion

Day 11 marks our final full day in Japan, a mere bitter feeling. This country is beyond beautiful and is hands down my favourite Asian country I have visited. Before I start getting sappy and sentimental, our final day must be documented! Today was a tour-less, free and easy day. But we still made sure our day consisted of visiting the main sites of Kyoto.

Our first sightseeing destination was the Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shrine) and from Kyoto station, it takes less than 10 minutes via the Nara line to reach Inari station, costing 140yen. From the station, it is only a 3 minute walk to the entrance of the shrine.

With over 10000 orange torii gates lined up along the trail, the Fushimi Inari Shrine draws in copious amounts of visitors daily. Each gate is donated by individuals or organisations; the bigger the gate, the more costly it is (could reach over 1 million yen for a large gate). The walk up flights of steps was well worth it when the trail through this enchanting forest was filled with simplistic beauty.

The journey to the summit of the mountain and back would take around 3 hours. You don't have to complete the trail, as you have the choice to turn back at any point you desire. Be prepared for ceaseless groups of people hoarding the pathway that runs through the torii gates, so it may be tricky to get that perfect Instagram shot.

Keep an eye out for a fiercely talented old man, crouching along the pathway of the shrine, engrossed in his sketch of his surroundings. Using merely a black ball point pen and pencils, he managed to accurately capture of this touristy destination. 

Don't forget to drop by the food stalls whilst you're back near the main entrance! You won't be able to miss it as the smell of this eclectic mix of foods will lure you in. 

The historic value Kyoto possesses can be seen through its traditional outlook, with its streets decked with crimson red trees, old shop houses and un-commercialised railway stations.

I highly recommend walking around the uncluttered streets near the Fushimi-Inari Shrine as it offers a unique perspective of Japanese culture. 

Lunch was at a small road-side eatery, and we kept it quite simple. I ordered my favourite oyakodon because chicken and egg is quite the ideal combo. 

You also can't go wrong with a typical katsudon. However the egg was not cooked with the pork, so if you prefer the traditional katsudon where the egg is pan-fried with the pork, then this might not be your cup of tea.

Mum's gyudon bento set offered all the side dish goodies such as miso soup, tofu, and Japanese mashed potato. 

Our next stop awaits as we embarked on our tour guide-less adventure. One of the most iconic Kyoto landmark is none other than the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. But first, we couldn't continue our exploration without giving into the temptation of all the matcha soft-serve ice-cream stalls that line the pathway leading up to the forest. 

The nearest station to bamboo forest is the Saga Arashiyama Station located a 10 minute walk away, with trains running via the JR Sagano line. This magical forest is simply enchanting. Once you're in the midst of the bamboo grove, you'll be surrounded and consumed by bamboo stems and also large groups of tourists snapping away. 

The bamboo forest is most popular and crowded during spring. In the summer months on weekdays, the forest may be less hectic and you could end up with the ideal, picturesque photo. Once again, you will encounter talented artists lost in their own world whilst replicating (without the tourists of course) this popular landmark.

We made our way to the vibrant and traditional district of Gion, known as the geisha and entertainment district. Gion has a collection of alleyways and streets offer old-fashioned teahouses, restaurants, bars, and historic sites.

Dinner awaited us at Kyoto central. Since it was our last night in Japan, we wanted to try something somewhat different to what we have had the past 10 days. So we settled for a restaurant that served traditional Japanese dishes with a steamed and soupy take to it.

It was certainly a light and tasty end to our trip, with hasty final explorations undertaken the morning after. Also if you happen to see this at a grocery store, try it. I liked it so much that I visually documented it for future reference. 

And just like that, the finale of the Japan Journal is upon us. Undeniably rated my favourite country in Asia, I will most definitely be back for you Japan x

[check out yesterday's itinerary:

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