Dec 31, 2015

Free things in kyoto

After living over month in Kyoto I would like to share some of my favorite places. And of course, because I know how it feels like to travel broke, everything I recommend is totally free to do. If you would like more posts like this just comment below and ask. :)

Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Mount Inari or better known by the name of it's well known shrine Fushimi Inari Taisha is my favorite place in Kyoto -and maybe in Japan and in whole world-. I visited this place so many times I'm not even going to admit how often I went there. 

Torii gates in Fushimi Inari
Torii gates from Mount Inari

Most of the tourists -and there is so many of them- end up there because of the Torii gates covering the road up and down the mountain. The road most of the people take is approximately 4 kilometers to the top. It's definitely worth of the walk! In addition to the torii gates you will come across small shrines, beautiful view to see Kyoto and 

Torii gate

You can see many interesting things and if you have time or want to visit in many times you should explore the forgotten side roads. You never know what you will see! Some interesting things I saw were little waterfalls, rice fields, mandarin -or something orange growing from trees- farm, old stairs going all way up to the top and of course cats that followed you around like guardians of old secrets.

Torii gates in sunlight

Now I want to share one of my best memories from this magical mountain. I ended up visiting Inari at dark and decided follow two Japanese boys to the scary looking not lighted up path. The boys were going to turn back after while but seeing me walking -white girl alone not scared of anything- they couldn't. I had a lot of fun following them and trying to not laugh when they clung to each other and tried to be brave. In this trip -after the boys decided to turn back- I found the most beautiful waterfall ever. 

Rooftop/Observation Deck of Kyoto Station

If you don't have money to visit Kyoto tower go here. Heck even if you have money you should go here! You can see everything in Kyoto and -I can promise- it's breath taking view. The night and day views are funny to compare so if you have time visit two times.

To get there you just go up the escalators and stairs until you are on the top. Be aware that especially in evenings you will share the view with dozen romantic couples -making out in dark corners-. Well young love is always sweet to see, right?

My recommendation is go to the Isetan department store's food floors and buy cheap lunch to take and eat while watching the moving city below you. You can get to the Observation deck also from the top floor of Isetan and same time you can see endless escalators of this department store's -sigh worth to admire-.

While you are there you should also visit station's Skyway that starts from restaurants floor and provides you view to the station and city.

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Two words beautiful and historic. The main attraction is Imperial palace but if time isn't problem you should see the gardens and grounds around it. I went there to see autumn leaves and ended up walking around couple of hours like child seeing his first fall colors.

The tour guide told interesting stories about the royal families that had lived in the palace. You could almost feel the former days and modern time blending together. I didn't wait a lot from this place but it became one of my favorites in Kyoto! It was my last day in Kyoto and second last in Japan so it will forever stay in my memory as place that gave me the great goodbye.

Imperial palace's garden is just magical
To get in palace's ground you need to go free guided tour organized by the Imperial Household Agency. You need to apply before hand to get in tour so the instructions you can find here. This place may sound too hard to get in but you shouldn't get scared! In reality it's quite easy especially if you do it in person in Kyoto.

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