Monday, December 30, 2013

fam bam - kyoto

After a late start to the day we finally arrived in the Higashiyama Area in Kyoto. This area is famous for geisha sightings and Kiyomizudera Temple. Kiyomizudera is currently undergoing renovation right now so some of the buildings are wrapped up. We didn't enter the temple because my family has no interest in it. We spent most of our time in the area in front of Kiyomizudera eating samples and shopping. This area is one of my favorite places in Japan, I love all the old timey architecture and atmosphere. Only downside are all the other tourists.

cheesing in front of the deva gate of Kiyomizudera
Between my brother and my sister Evo, it's almost impossible to get a decent picture of all of us. Blink blink blink. No one really appreciated the architecture of this place so after doing some shopping we walked to the nearby Gion District to grab some lunch.

another family portrait this time giving me the realization of how I look identical to my dad...
Had a hard time finding someplace to eat because of all the picky eaters in my family. Have eaten so many noodle based dishes in the last few days because that is the only thing people seem to agree on. After a late lunch we took the bus to Tofukuji stop and then we walked from there to Fushimi Inari Shrine. I would not recommend doing it this way because there isn't any signage in English and the roads around here can be quite confusing. I would say that it took around a 20-30 minute walk to get to Fushimi. I was getting worried because the sun was setting and I wanted my family to have a chance to take some pictures and actually see the famous torii in daylight.

fam model walks through the torii
Fushimi Inari at night is a little freaky with only lanterns lighting the way and creepy dark forests just on the other side of the torii. Also hard to take pictures - hate having to use flash. Since we had bought the one day bus pass we took the #5 bus back to Kyoto Station, the only bus line that connects Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari. I strongly recommend taking the train here rather then the bus, which is infrequent.

To read about my previous visits to Kyoto click here or for my prior trip to Fushimi Inari where I included more information about the shrine click here.

The Details
Kiyomizudera Temple
Hours: open everyday 6:00am - 5:30/6:30pm depending on the season
Admission: 300 yen for adults or 400 yen for special night events
Access: Take bus #100 or #206 (be careful there are two #206 buses one goes in a clockwise direction and the other counterclockwise the trip can take 15 minutes or over an hour and a half if you go in the wrong direction) to Gojozaka (recommended) or Kiyomizu-michi stop. From the bus stop it will be around a 10 minute uphill walk.
Bus Fee: 220 yen flat rate or 500 yen for a one day bus pass
website

Fushimi Inari Shrine
No closing hours and admission is free
website (Japanese only)
Access: Inari Station - strongly recommend taking the JR Nara Local Line here from Kyoto Station takes 5 minutes and costs 140 yen. A train departs from Kyoto Station every 15-20 minutes. The Inari Station exits directly across from the shrine.

Can also take the #5 bus from Kyoto Station, travel which is included in the one day bus pass. It was hard to locate the bus stop near the shrine because it wasn't near the shrine or the surrounding shopping area. In order to reach the bus stop upon exiting the shrine make a right and walk down the street (away from the JR Inari Station). As soon as you see a kind of busy intersection make a left down the hill (away from the direction of the shrine). If you pass the Fushimi Inari Station serviced by the Keihan Line (another alternative) then you're going in the right direction. Cross the tracks and keep walking downhill, you'll still see shops and such along the way. Keep going until the shops end and you'll eventually hit a busy intersection where the bus stop will be located. I have included the bus schedule for the #5 bus heading back towards Kyoto Station below. A bus comes once an hour...

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