We’re doing a massive throwback in this blogpost all the way to early 2017 when I travelled to Kyoto, Japan with my sister! We also visited Osaka during our time there but personally I enjoyed Kyoto way more as it was the perfect blend of the city and countryside life. Kyoto is packed full of culture, history, and nature that I would definitely visit this beautiful city again. Here are a few spots that I checked out and would like to recommend to you guys!
1. Sagano Scenic Railway
The Sagano Romantic Train which operates from Torokko Saga in Arashiyama and terminates at Kameoka passes through the Hozu River revealing some of the most beautiful and scenic nature in Kyoto. We went there during early summer and it was the perfect timing to catch some nice breeze on the train during the hot and humid season. Spring is also a good time to go if you want to witness the Sakura trees in full bloom.
2. Nara Park
The Nara Park or also known as the deer park in the city of Nara, Japan resides many of the Japanese deer called Sika deer. They used to be considered as sacred creatures where caught killing these animals could be punishable by death up until WWII when they became national treasures instead. Although in the recent years the protection against these deers have dropped significantly. However, for tourists this spot is particularly unique as deers can be found roaming around freely and crackers are sold nearby for feeding.
3. Nakamura Tokichi Honten
I certainly cannot write a travel diary without recommending to you a good food spot. I present to you a matcha tearoom called ‘Nakamura Tokichi Honten’ in Uji, Kyoto! I believe this location is quite a popular one for tourists and they do not take reservations (correct me if I’m wrong!). My sister and I went very early in the morning before its opening time to ensure we did not have to wait too long to secure a table and we still had to wait for a while as there was already a line outside! This is no surprise as Uji is known as a producer of green tea so if you want the true matcha experience I would highly recommend this place!
This was definitely an unforgettable experience and it was truly well worth the wait! We got to sit outside right by the tearoom’s little garden which just made the overall experience even better. Everything from the matcha tea, matcha ice cream, matcha shaved ice, to the outdoor scenery was done to such a high standard and quality. I have never tasted something so rich but yet so clean at the same time. 10 out of 10 would 100% recommend!
4. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
When it comes to iconic places in Japan, the bamboo forest is definitely one of them made famous by either photography-lovers or Instagrammers. The bamboos are so high and tall that it caves in a little at the top blocking the sky view which creates a super cosy and dimmed out atmosphere.
Such locations are becoming more and more popular as a similar one can be found in South Korea called the Ahopsan Forest made famous by the recent K-drama ‘The King: Eternal Monarch”.
Between Kyoto and Osaka, the former certainly placed a bigger impact on my overall trip to Japan. Although Osaka was mesmerising in its own way, I felt a lot more at ease in the nature of Kyoto. The hospitality and cleanliness in Japan were the most memorable elements for me, something that never usually stands out to me in other places which not only makes me want to go back again but to actually experience life there for a while.
Just a little reminder, take care of yourself and stay safe!