Of all the 3 cities we visited during this trip, we got lost the most in Kyoto.
Which is odd since we only had 2 lines to navigate as compared to 8 in Osaka.
I think it's because a lot of the signs here are in Kanji and some stops have little to 0 significant landmarks because it can get very "provincial". As a tourist lost in translation, traditional house upon traditional house can blend into one blurry picture which often lead to confusion.
The only station I found to be "iconic" was the Kyoto main station, all others tended to look alike.
Traveling at night didn't help much either....
Because we wanted to make the most out of our 9 day trip, we decided to squeeze in a side trip to Nara while on transit from Osaka to Kyoto.
Back then we didn't know that Kyoto was closer to Nara or just roughly the same distance so we had to return to Osaka again first after visiting Nara Deer Park before finally making our way to our guest house in Kyoto.
This trip was basically about "winging it" and figuring things out as we went...
At the Osaka train station, we almost booked ourselves a Shinkansen train to Kyoto instead of the regular train we were aiming for (to save on money).
There's 2 different machines, one for regular trains and the other for Shinkansens.
If you want to just try riding a bullet train on the cheap for the experience, this is a pretty good route to take, it only costs about 2000 YEN if I'm not mistaken.
But we were pinching pennies so we bought a regular train ticket instead for just 560 YEN.
The train ride from Osaka to Kyoto takes about an hour or so. We began the trip standing up but were eventually able to find seats along the way as people began to disembark at different stops in between.
I didn't mind, it was quite entertaining to watch all sorts of different passengers inside the train.
I think Japanese passengers are one of the most interesting you'll come across during travels. There's all sorts of drunkards, some passed out, others in business attire or clad in designer outfits head to toe but lying on the floor. Artists covered in paint with a Kirin can in hand. Such a motley crew but all harmless. My favorites are those dressed interestingly like these girls in kimonos and a couple others that I wasn't able to take a photo of but were adorably dressed in Lolita style fairytale inspired outfits complete with wigs and dainty luggage bags in pastel colors to match.
At around 9pm I think, we finally reached our stop, Emmachi Station.
Emmachi Station at this time was pretty much deserted and so were the surrounding streets.
This part of Kyoto was very residential and I found it a tad creepy just because it was so quiet and seemingly barren. Hardly a person in sight for miles.
So if you're traveling solo, I suggest you head to your guest house in this area while there's still sun or get one closer to Kiyomizu which has more foot traffic.
After following directions from the map provided by our hostel and asking a couple of bystanders who were nice enough to accompany us even if we refused because it was several blocks away, we finally found it.
We got a tatami style room...which turned out to have a bunch of insects. I ended up full of bites on my back after spending just a night here.
I wouldn't recommend this place cause the toilet was unkempt and its pretty far from the station and other points of interest.
It was super cheap though. I think we only paid around P600/head per night at this place. So times 3, that's just around P1800/head.
Still, I would've paid a couple more hundred for a place with a clean toilet and no bedbugs. :P
Despite my petty complaints, I have to say that the surrounding neighborhood is one the most charming places I've ever been in.
It was dark when we arrived so I wasn't able to appreciate it right away but it was such a pleasant morning surprise. I really enjoyed walking around these quiet streets.
But since we were on a tight schedule, it was off to the train station again. This time for a first stop in Kyoto which was Kiyomizu Temple.
We asked for directions from the station master.
Travel tip: Keep your questions short. They get confused with too much english. Best to just tell them your destination so they can print out directions for you like this one which is pretty accurate. Even has train schedule.
This is what the outskirts (?!) of Kyoto look like...they remind me of those Asian horror films with the old schools, hospitals and buildings...
The gigantic crows don't help either.
Kyoto main station is much more lively and pretty impressive. It's huge and looks like an airport inside.
When we finally arrived at our stop, we were met by torrential rains making it impossible to make our way towards Kiyomizu so we decided to seek shelter and have lunch first at this random guest house that was close by.
GOJO GUEST HOUSE
I ended up falling in love with this place. It was warm, cozy, friendly and artsy with really good coffee, craft beers and cheap food.
If you're looking for a hostel or a place to say that's close to Kiyomizu, I suggest this area. There's a lot of nice looking guest houses here for different budgets.
This is weird but this is also where I had one of the best Indian curries ever. It's the only thing they serve for lunch: 3 kinds of curries but all really really good. I'm craving for it as we speak. Even the rice they serve it with is tasty.
If you're in the area, this is definitely a must try. Also one of the cheapest meals I had while in Japan.
Thankfully after our lunch break, the rain began to subside and we were finally able to walk the rest of the way up towards Kiyomizu!
MORE ON KIYOMIZU TEMPLE IN MY NEXT POST!
I Promise it's gonna get way prettier and more exciting. LOL
STORIES FROM OSAKA PART 1:
CHECK OUT MY OTHER JAPAN POSTS
DŌTONBORI | SHINSAIBASHI | OSAKA CASTLE
SECOND HAND DESIGNER BAG SHOPPING ACROSS JAPAN -
60 DAY TRIP LOCATIONS NEAR OSAKA CLICK HERE
FOOD GUIDE + DAILY BUDGET WHILE TRAVELING ACROSS JAPAN -
SIDE TRIP TO NARA DEER PARK