Traveling Japan on a budget = overnight bus to Kyoto. After a day full of Disney magic, Steven and I hopped on the bus to Kyoto. About the first 3 hours of the 7 hour drive consisted of stopping to pick up passengers at various bus stops throughout Tokyo (an ideal stop and go situation for a good night’s sleep, haha). We arrived a 5:30 am, ready for a full day of touristy fun!!! AND WE GOT IT!
We started our day at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. There are over 5,000 red torri gates. If you have seen the movie Memoirs of a Geisha then you have seen this shrine on film (and the red gates). To walk/hike the whole trail, along which the torri gates can be found, it takes a good couple of hours. It’s truely amazing, especially on an early spring morning.
Throughout the day, we continued to see other famous historical landmarks of Kyoto. The city is rich with history because it was the location of Japan’s government during the Samurai rule. One of the most exciting and informative visits of the day was the Nijo Castle, once home to the Samurai. We were able to tour inside. All visitors walk through the castle bare foot. The architecture, decor and furnishings are so different and unfamiliar to Americans.
Other pretty amazing stops included the Golden Pavilion and the Imperial Palace, although, visitors were not permitted inside the palace walls.
Our tummy’s were rumbling my mid-day so we headed to a great market called Nishiki Market. While we were there, we tried all of the yummy speciallities including fried tofu, soy donuts and fresh fruit smoothies. The market had endless outdoor stalls selling food that, for the most part, I was unable to identify. There was fish, vegetables, dry goods, spices, sauces; you name it!!!
We finished our extravagant sightseeing day at a place called Kushiya Monogartari. A kushiya restaurant serves all-you-can- eat raw skewers of meat, vegetables and fish. You fry the skewers at your table. Steven and I devoured 109 skewers of meat in our allotted 90 minutes of all-you-can eat and we concluded the meal with heaping bowls of ice cream…delicious!
With our, food baby tummy’s, we headed back to the bus station and boared the 11:30 pm overnight bus back to Tokyo!