We woke up early to prepare our backpacking belongings. It was our schedule to visit the former imperial capital of Japan, the preserved city of Kyoto. It is well known for its old Japanese villages, temples, shrines, and bamboo forest. Also in Kyoto, there is a district called Gion, where geisha is often found.
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Accomodation: Court Hotel Kyoto Shijo Central
Buddies: Family (2+)
Kyoto is less than an hour travel from Osaka depending on the type of transportation. The most comfortable and easier way is by rail. A high speed bullet train travels to Kyoto in just 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station but the fare is not rational for us to avail the swiftest train ride.
At 8:30am, we left the apartment covering ourselves with umbrellas because it was raining since yesterday. The weather forecast in Japan was so consistent, and just like updated in hourly basis. The sunshine will be with us at noontime in Kyoto, based on the forecast. We went to the nearby station and boarded a Tanimachi train to Higashi Umeda Station. We exited the subway station following the arrow signs and successfully transferred to the city’s central railway, Osaka Station.
We found the Kyoto bound platform 7 & 8 but we’re in doubt which train to ride. We preferred the JR Kyoto Line Local because there were less passengers. The train immediately departed at 09:15am. The JR Kyoto Line runs between Osaka and Kyoto, and served by either local or rapid service trains. That time, we understood what was the local service means for. We stopped at all stations! However, it was so lovely to know the stations which are so crowded and scary because there was no passenger. For around 45 minutes, we arrived in Kyoto Station and we hurriedly transferred to platform 8 & 9 of JR Nara trains going to Inari.
We left Kyoto Station boarding the train which has long seats similar to the local service train from Osaka. But we’re just smiled when announced that the train will not stop at Inari Station. We got off at the next stop, Tofukuji Station and waited for the incoming train that will surely pass by to Inari.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
At 10:15am, we arrived at Inari Station. The exit door of the station seems the entrance to Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. We walked following the crowd, adding numbers to the countless visitors exploring the famous site. After a short glimpse on the main shrine, we headed to the pathway gate to experience walking on the trail covered by thousand orange torii gates.
The movement at the entrance was too slow and barely to move because of huge crowds. But deeper on the trail track, the dense of the visitors was reduced. Only those who loves to hike uphills at the torii covered pathway were remained.
We reached Kumatakasha, another Shinto shrine, where we noticed few unfamiliar structures (probably a tomb) and a small lake. We stayed for a few minutes enjoying the serenity of the place until we decided to return back. Besides, my son was already complaining that he was so tired.
The trek downward was easy but we kept it slow to savour the moment of walking under a chilly and rainy weather surrounded by green forested landscape. However, we reached the orange dominant main shrine in just short time using the exit pathway.
At the left side of the shrine’s entrance, there is an alley where there are food stalls. We tasted the delicious chicken barbecue and our curiosities bought grilled white dango balls before leaving the shrine at 11:55am.
We arrived at Kyoto Station at 12:10nn. We immediately went out from the train station and looked for Terminal B3 for the Bus 205 going Kyoto Railway Museum. We rode the bus and got off at Umekoji Koenmae Bus Stop. We walked for around three minutes from the gate of Umekoji Park Handicraft Market to the entrance of the museum .
Kyoto Railway Museum
We arrived in the museum at 12:33pm and paid the entrance fee which costs 1,200 yen per adult and 500 yen for the child. The Kyoto Railway Museum charmed me that much because it was my first time to enter a museum in such kind. The museum is only two years old on exhibition after its grand opening in 2016.
I saw the different types of trains, from the traditional (steam engine) up to the modernized one (bullet trains). I haven’t yet experience traveling on a bullet train, but I touched and saw it so close here. The displays of train models in the ground floor was best viewed from the 2nd floor. They also have interactive activities especially for children but in Japanese language only.
From the 2nd floor, we went outside and found the old steam generated train near the massive roundhouse platform. Its striking whistle blew my mind back to the old age and incited us to ride. For a fee of 300 yen for adult and 100 yen for a child, we experienced inhaling the smoke and exhaled it on the beautiful scenery along Umekoji Park during the 10 minutes relaxing steam train ride.
After the train ride, we passed by at the Roundhouse platform which was built in 1914 and considered as the oldest train depot in Japan. And beside the displays of old train models, is the way leading to the museum’s exit door. We left the museum at 2:10pm.
The transportation in Kyoto is the system I admired most. Kyoto is indeed a tourist friendly city. The bus network is excellent that a tourist doesn’t need to hire private cars to round the city. There are bus routes with corresponding bus numbers to most of the sightseeing sites and even to hotels in Kyoto.
We walked for around 10 minutes and found the Nanajo Omiya Bus Stop. We planned to drop some of our stuffs in the overnight accommodation I booked in Agoda. We rode Bus 207 and got off at Shijo Orikawa Bus Stop, the closest bus stop to the hotel.
Court Hotel Kyoto Shijo Central
We were so thankful to the strong internet connection in Japan. It was easy for us to find our accommodation. Our hotel is situated at the rear side of other establishments. Luckily, it has a banner that is visually seen from the road and a driveway path pointing to the entrance.
We immediately checked-in at 2:40pm although the policy emailed to me starts at 4pm. The family room was already available. We relaxed on the soft bed and viewed the Japanese old residential houses from the balcony. I personally like the hotel’s green tea flavored sweet rolls and tea as compliments.
From J-Suite apartment in Osaka and Court Hotel Kyoto, I confirmed that the toilet bowl in Japan is mounted with toilet seat bidet which keep it warm and controlled sprays for cleaning the nether region. The technology application on this country amazed me well!
(Day 3 of my Japan Visit last April 2018)