Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Kyoto is definitely one my favorite destinations in Japan. It is a mesmerizing place, overflowing with Japanese culture and greenery.
For our day-trip to Kyoto, we visited Arashiyama and
The first place we headed to was Arashiyama, the iconic bamboo forest.
Inside the forest, we discovered a small little area, where you could buy emas (wooden wishing plaques) to make a wish.
Okochi Denjiro, a famous Japanese film actor of the past, formerly owned the land.The estate consists of Okochi's villa, which exemplifies the epitome of traditional Japanese architecture, and is surrounded by beautiful Japanese tea gardens.
Because I knew we would be walking all day in Kyoto's warm, humid climate, I chose to wear something comfortable and easy to move around in. My outfit for the day consisted of an embroidered, Japanese street-style inspired t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers.
Top: KOGIKETSU- Moonlight Koi Shirt
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Bottom: PACSUN - Surfer Blue MOM Shorts
Shoes: GUESS - Gelise in white
Our visit to the villa entailed us taking a stone pathway, intertwined in green foliage.
Along our path, we stumbled upon a picturesque stone bench and decided to do a little shoot.
Here is one of the shots we got of my friend, Karenn!
We also came across a breathtaking mountain view
of the east side of Kyoto.
The end of the pathway in Okochi-Sanso led to a tea house, where we were served traditional Japanese Matcha to conclude our visit. Despite the bitter taste, the tea was a nice way to warm your stomach after a long walk. A sweet biscuit stick is served to balance off the bitterness of the Matcha if it is too bitter for your liking.
After heading out of the bamboo forest, we were tempted to try some Japanese street food before heading to the train station. We tried seared crab meat on a stick and the famous Kyozuan ice cream! Kyozuan is popular for its tofu ice cream flavor and for not falling when held upside down! I got the black sesame and tofu flavor, and it
Next, we made our way to the most well-known shrine in Japan,
Fushimi Inari-taisha is the head Inari shrine, established over 1300 years ago in 711 AD. Inari shrines are devoted to Inari - the Shinto god of rice.
Travel Tip: It is said that you are not supposed to walk through or stand in the middle of Shinto shrine gates because that is where the spirit of the Gods walk through. Despite this, we occasionally forgot. Excuse us!
They say that foxes are messengers of Inari.
Before entering the main shrine area, we made sure to "purify" ourselves with water from the chozuya (water basin). Chozu is the Japanese ritual of how to cleanse oneself before praying or making a wish at a shrine.
Travel Tip: It is proper Japanese etiquette to purify or cleanse yourself before praying, making a wish, or making an offering at a Japanese shrine.
After cleansing ourselves, we finally headed to the Senbon torii gates (Senbon torii translates to "Thousands of torii gates").
Fushimi Inari is known for their never-ending torii gates. There are three separate sets of gates , two small sets, and one large set, all leading up to the mountains. The complete hike takes about 2-3 hours. It was already late in the afternoon when we arrived, so we actually weren't able to complete the hike. If we did, we would have been late for the train back to our hotel!
Each torii gate is a donation dedicated to the shrine from an individual or a company. The markings engraved on the gates are the donors' names.
On our way back to the main shrine, we found a quaint,
little, red bridge.
We perused the souvenir store at the end of our visit, and I came across this cute fox mask! They say that if you take a picture with a fox mask in front of the main shrine area, it will bring you good luck.
I was incredibly thankful to finally be able to see two of the most iconic destinations in Japan, Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari-taisha. Although our trip only lasted a day, it was a birthday I will never forget ( yes, it was my birthday that day )! It wasn't captured with a photo, but I enjoyed the experience of making my first wish at a shrine. I also loved walking through the beautiful and diverse plant life abundant throughout the city. There are still so many sites I have yet to see in Kyoto, and I can't wait to return again for another adventure!
What's your favorite place in Kyoto?
Let me know in the comments below!
Hope you enjoyed this post, and thanks for reading!
Wishing you the best,