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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It was time for a green tea break.
After being refreshed and energised I caught a train to the
Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is one of Kyoto’s most famous attractions.
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.
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.
Although with nightfall, the lights really do make the shrines look magnificent!
With that I caught the train back to the city centre and got a really bad picture of Kyoto tower.
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.