Kyoto – The Eternal City

The smell of lavender floats in the air. The former capital of Japan and the imperial seat of the samurai emperor shogun. Kyoto has to be on your list if you’re visiting japan!

I made my way to Kyoto from Tokyo , on the very smooth and hi-tech bullet train, the Shinkansen. I would recommend sitting on the right hand side if you’re coming from Tokyo so you get some views of the beautiful Mount Fuji.

The snow capped volcano in the distance.

Upon arrival in Kyoto, I dropped off my backpack at the hostel, and as the day was just so lovely, I had an urge to go running! So I got into my active wear and went towards the river. The entire city just had a very serene and peaceful slow paced aura about it. Everyone seems really calm and just doing their own thing.

Lovely day out.
Water from the mountains in the distance

I decided to just run along and see how far I could get! Although mountains in the distance could be seen and I kept that as my target, I knew I wouldn’t make it that far!

This run however did end up leading me to a hidden away from the tourists Shinto shrine that I had all to myself to explore!

Shinto Shrine
A local map.
Tatesuna sand mounds.

You may notice two cone shaped sand mounds in front often when you visit Shinto shrines. They are called Tatesuna and represent two scared mountains.

Miniature

After my little diversion, I headed back to the centre to make my way toward Nijo Castle.

Nijo Castle was built in the 1600s and has seen a lot of history. Belonging to the Samurai shogun rulers of Japan, and finally imperial rule after which it was given to the city of Kyoto and opened up to the public.

Moat defense!
A grand entrance.
Wheel chair accessible may I add.
The Japanese know how to decor gardens.
Kyoto feel.
I’m always making friends

It was time for a green tea break.

Brewed to perfection.

After being refreshed and energised I caught a train to the
Fushimi Inari  Shrine, which is one of Kyoto’s most famous attractions.

Torii Gate Entrance
Pulling it off.
Majestic

There’s a lot of walking around and things to explore inside this complex, which feels like a mini-town.

You can hike up the hill to get a great view of Kyoto, which I had to abandon half way due to the sun setting when I started my hike. Everyone had left, leaving only me, and those school kids in the picture above behind the women in kimonos, who were actually just as scared as me in the dark forest and warned me there are bears in there and that we should all leave! We left promptly.

Has a very peaceful aura around.
Rumoured to be a 1000 of these gates in number.
Tempting to run through
Which way to go?
Not as claustrophobic as it looks.
It doesn’t end.

So the hike starts here, and I love a good hike! But I also didn’t want to get mauled and killed by a bear as the sun was setting and the forest being slowly enveloped in a sheet of darkness.

It gets spooky in the evening.

Although with nightfall, the lights really do make the shrines look magnificent!

Ghost town
All lit up.
Even better in the dark.

With that I caught the train back to the city centre and got a really bad picture of Kyoto tower.

Guess there’s an artistic flair to it.

The rest of my stay was a very very relaxing and rejuvenating time at the Hotel Centurion Cabin and Spa where I pampered myself a fair bit!

I definitely recommend staying there! You can book here.

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