letters to my younger self

Kyoto Series: From Touristy Places to New Discoveries

We left almost the same time as day two. Supposedly this is going to be a free day in Kyoto however, since we haven’t visited half of what’s supposed to be in day two – the third day will be an extension. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s to hoping we will have enough time to cover the wonderful places of Kyoto because this is our last day (in Kyoto).

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Going there is the same as yesterday wherein we headed to Kyoto station. While we were searching for Mcdo (because breakfast!),ย  we chanced on this Information Center (where we need to buy the Kyoto all-day-city-bus-pass), we got lucky we need not search for it so we bought it and dashed to Mcdo to have breakfast.

Bus Ride to Kinkakuji
I’m not very familiar with bus routes in Kyoto and when we went to the bus stop –ย  there were already long lines forming. Good thing it is not very hot that day. I don’t remember the bus number we rode that day but riding a bus here is pretty much the same back home. The bus in front of us (that we were supposed to ride on) were already full and they said the next bus will arrive after fifteen minutes but I am thinking we already wasted time waiting in line so what if we’re going to stand in the bus, I say let’s just squeeze in. So we squeezed ourselves in (five of us) and a lot of people next in line might also be thinking the same way so inside the bus we were like a canned sardines. ๐Ÿ™‚

Which is fine by me but they also thought that we could’ve waited, you know, and when we waited we could be sitting and not standing with bodies being pressed on us. Which also seems a pretty good choice – but we’re already stuck there. Haha.

The bus ride is fine (because I am used in riding MRTs) and there was minimal traffic and the bus moves fast and just swerves so yeah, when riding a bus you have to really plant your feet and hold onto something.

The ride was quick. And I noticed even if the bus was very packed, the people doesn’t seem too annoyed by it. In fact, it feels like it was a day-to-day experience for them. And that’s how I know they were not “reklamador” or if there was an english term for it, let me know.

We got off at Kinkakuji-michi bus stop along with a lot of tourists. From there it was only a short walk to the entrance to Kinkakuji Temple.

Golden Pavilion

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This place was very touristy and how can it not? Upon entering the place (before the entrance to the temple proper) we were surrounded by a lot of autumn trees. And they were so amazing. The green trees back home have a calming effect but being surrounded by the reddish, orange-ish leaves of autumn was awesome, it’s like I was able to see something that I never thought I would. But in reality it is like that. Living in a tropical country I never thought I’d see autumn face-to-face let alone to travel. Bliss.

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Which dropped a little when we entered. Don’t get me wrong. The Kinkakuji Temple is impressive – it looks so fantastic like in the pictures and the reflection of it in the water is amazing. But I guess there is a certain downside when the place you’re going to is very famous because there were a lot of people and some were shoving us when we wanted to take pictures.

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The whole place was covered in autumn leaves and you can walk around the whole place.

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Remembering it, we took our time strolling around – really, sometimes I wonder what did we do but I guess time flies when you’re in a wonderful place with wonderful people and before you know it – you’re already hungry. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Being hungry is a sign that we need to move to other place. Haha.

Wandering in the Streets in Kyoto
I didn’t realise we walked a lot in Kyoto – I only now notice it while chronicling our day to day happenings and I must really liked Kyoto to not remember how tiring our long walks are or I must really liked walking in unfamiliar streets of my favorite country or I must just really liked walking. Period.

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We walked the long road from Kinkakuji to I don’t know what that highway is called but it is still fresh in my memory – we were walking and can you guess why? We were again dumbfounded on where to eat. So we searched. And walked. And searched. And walked. Crossed the streets. And back again to near the Kinkakuji-michi bus stop (where we started). And because we were like searching for an hour – we just entered this random restaurant in the second floor.

It was like a bar type restaurant and the menu is mixed western and Japanese so we ordered baby back ribs! ๐Ÿ™‚

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We were sitting at the bar and the atmosphere’s fresh and cozy and there’s a movie about a dolphin (but I don’t remember the title) – but I remember the story. But I didn’t get to finish it. The food is delicious and it was past 3pm when we were done.

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Time flew again and it was still an hours ride to the Silver Pavilion which will close by 4:30pm. Which means that we won’t have enough time to go there so we planned to go to Kyoto Botanical Garden instead.

Bus Rides and a Discovery Trail
We rode a bus going to the longest name of the bus stop I ever read: Shokobutsuen mae bus stop.

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It was hard to ask other people on what bus to ride going to this station because it is very long!

Anyhow, we were sitting in the back of the bus and it really feels like Japan, riding in buses and seeing other people ride the bus and the next station is being flashed on the small screen in front – I don’t know if you’re getting annoyed by me already – but the normal and simple things that is in Japan that I am experiencing makes me giddy like a little girl having a doll for the first time. Maybe my dream is to live in Japan, not to travel in it. Darn. I wanted to, though. But I don’t want to work there. I love and been so used to and loved Filipino working culture that I don’t know if I ever want to experience others. But still I wanted to live there. If only.

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We got off at the Shokobutsuen Mae bus stop and it is already dusk. What I love about Kyoto streets is that it doesn’t get too crowded. (Or maybe the place we’ve been in) With the exception of the touristy places, Kyoto streets doesn’t get packed even if (I’m assuming) it was already their rush hour during that time. And it was very nice to walk in their sidewalks, aside from the cold weather (because who likes to walk in the heat?), the atmosphere is peaceful and the silence screams safe! And a lot of people were riding their bike and it was one of the things I appreciate in Japan. That bike is a sustainable form of transport.

Come to think of it – I was never bothered by the pollution in Japan. It was like it wasn’t even polluted. No smoke-belching vehicles and a lot of people were either using the mass transport system or bike. Not so much private cars. Commuting haven still. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then I am so glad that the map were telling us to walk beside this river in order to go to Kyoto Botanical Garden. It was 15 to 20 minutes walk.

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And there at that time, we went batshit crazy. Or only one of us. There we were, enjoying the view and the sound of the flowing water in the river and then suddenly (to battle the cold) they just jogged. Or ran. Or whatever. While shooting ourselves in video.

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I still remember the laughters in that video (which sadly, wasn’t saved) but it was crazy and funny at the same time.

Of Crossing Kamo River
While walking or running or playing around, I saw these rocks positioned as a bridge in the middle of the river and I immediately thought I should cross the river.

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I asked them and they were initially not so keen on the idea (and I remembered how it was also the same when I wanted to cross San Juanico bridge by foot earlier this year) so I just said I will just cross the river (for experience because we only live once) and go back.

But when the two of us were already crossing, they thought it was fun so there we were – all five of us – in the middle of Kamo river, skipping on rocks, crossing the river, even touching the water to know how cold the water is in autumn and taking pictures and the sound of the rushing water calms me, and that was one of the highlights of the Kyoto visit. I just knew that place will be my favorite even if there was no abundance of autumn leaves but water, and who could resist the sound of the rushing water?

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And I guess that was the time when we knew we were neverย  gonna make it to Kyoto Botanical Garden before it closes. So we just took our time and that place was wonderful in its normalcy and simpleness. It was an upgraded version of Marikina riverbanks – if the two were even comparable. How cute it is, yesterday we were in the Vigan version in Japan and now we were in the Marikina riverbanks version albeit a high-end one.

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If I were living in Kyoto – that place will be my secret hiding place – the place I’ll come to when I am sad or just want to be alone or if I wanted to write calligraphies or watercolor or if I need to clear my mind or I want to be alone with my thoughts. I wanted a place like that back home. If only I could bottle up all the beautiful places in there and bring it back home with me – I would.

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It was such a nice place. And we stayed there until the sun set.

And we go back again to the bus station.

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We initially planned to go again to Dotonbori at night but we were already tired. And also, we saw the Uniqlo branch in Kyoto station and bought some heat tech.

So we just headed straight home and bought dinner at convenience store near us.

So if you’re going to ask me how come we’re tired when we only have two place visited that day? Well, the travel is composed mostly of walks and even if it is not hot it is still tiring after a while. So there. Our last day in Kyoto.

I guess it is a good takeaway from Kyoto – we’ve been to the best of both worlds – touristy places and off the beaten track. And I can’t say that we missed out on some places we could’ve visited if only we were determined to go because I just really wanted to travel and explore in a relaxed pace and I guess all of us did.

What’s really awesome in this day is what we made with what is given to us. Long walks? Well, we’re going to make it entertaining by having amusing stories we’ll laugh at. Hungry? We’re going to eat what we want most. Chasing the closing time? Abandon that and we discovered a very nice place.

Kyoto is a very wonderful and amazing place. And I was grateful that one of us insisted that we allot three days in Kyoto instead of the original one to two days only. Honestly, we haven’t even visited half of all the amazing places in Kyoto – how do other people squeeze Kyoto in one day?

And then there’re the amusing people I’m with. They say you develop a closer relationship with the people you’re travelling with. And it’s true. I got to know them more. And they see you when you’re being stupid, hungry, grumpy, when you’re losing patience, when you’re being crazy or acting giddy like a child or just running to amazing places like the amazing view is going to run out – I discovered so many amazing places in Kyoto but I also discovered amusing persons – their quirks and whatnots and nothing beats that. I guess it is amusing how travelling with other people makes you know them more – because we’re no longer in our comfortable workplace rather, we are aliens in this place and the best way to know a person is to know how he or she is outside his or her comfort zone. And when you come to know a person, you also know whatย  experiences made up how he or she is today. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I quote from Because This Life is our First Korean drama:

“Meeting someone in life is actually somewhat astonishing
That’s because, he brings with himself his past, present and his future.
That’s because, someone’s whole life comes along.

Not really related but I guess that’s how your life becomes entangled with other people when both of your whole lives comes along. ๐Ÿ™‚

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