Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kyoto Koyo

Last weekend I went to Kyoto for the second time. I wanted to see Kyoto in the fall to view the Koyo (the Japanese word for fall leaves).

I headed there on Friday night with my friend Aneeka. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and then went back to the station to get dinner. I had ramen and gyoza. :) When we got back to the hotel we explored the fire escape stairway and saw Kyoto Tower.

Kyoto Tower Night

While looking for a place to have dinner we saw a lot of cake and parfaits. We were good though and didn't buy any sweets. But after climbing the stairs (all five floors... so tiring! Ok... not really...) we decided we had exercised enough to go back and get some cake! Haha. Yeah, we hadn't really exercised much at all, but it was enough of a reason to eat sweets!

I got a slice of a fruit tart and we sat on some steps in the station to eat. The station is already decorated for Christmas. This tree has lights that are synchronized the the music being played.

Kyoto Station Christmas Tree

Fruit Tart

The fruit tart was really good! Well, except for the one piece of grapefruit. Grapefruit is used in too much mixed fruit stuff in Japan. Ick.
We stayed at the Capsule Ryokan. The capsules have tatami mats and look a bit more traditional-ish than a regular capsule.

Capsule Ryokan 2

Capsule Ryokan

The next morning I got breakfast from a nearby bakery. The one in the back was called a Pumpkin Pot. It was bread with pumpkin and ham inside. It was good, but the pumpkin was a bit weird. I love how the pumpkin tastes, but it just doesn't match the rest of the stuff.

The other piece of bread was similar, except that it had so much more. I discovered something new with each bite. I'm probably leaving something out, but from what I remember it had pumpkin, hot dogs, corn, onion, cheese, tomato sauce, and mayo (luckily just a tiny bit). It was a weird combination, but it all went well together except for the pumpkin. But that was delicious when I ate the pieces separate.

Japan Bakery

After eating breakfast, I headed for the Gion area to meet up with some other friends to do a maiko makeover. Maiko is an apprentice geiko (a Kyoto geisha). It was a super fun experience! I had my makeup done, was dressed in a kimono, and had a wig put on. It took a while, but it was totally worth it! We all looked so different when we were done! It was crazy!


Yes, that's me!!!
Gossip Maiko

If you want to see more pictures of me dressed as a maiko, please check out the link at the end of this post.

If you are interested in having a maiko makeover, I definitely recommend this place (Yumekoubo). It's a bit pricey, but it's not really expensive when you consider the time it takes and how much you get. I think the best part of the price is that for 9975 yen you get the makeover and then they take 20 pictures and put them on a CD for you. You don't have to pay for overpriced prints to get the pictures. They even let us take pictures ourselves while we waited to have our professional pictures taken. Also, when we were finished with our makeup and getting dressed the women who dressed us gladly took several pictures of us with our own cameras.

Here's the website for Yumekoubo:

After finishing the maiko makeover, we ate lunch at Sukiya. I had the three cheese gyudon. It was rice with beef and of course cheese!

3 Cheese Gyudon

After lunch we went back to our hotels to put our stuff away. Outside the station there was a guy sitting with a little kitten. It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute! I petted it for a while. I wanted to steal it!


We headed towards Tofukuj, a temple that we had heard had nice fall colors! Unfortunately, we got there just a little bit before four and it was about to close. So then we went ahead to Fushimi Inari to walk the trail there.

I had been to Fushimi Inari before, but it was a completely different experience at night. It was a lot quieter and the torii gates made really neat shadows.

Fushimi Inari Night

We didn't climb the whole thing, but we did make it to this lookout point that had a nice view of Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Skyline

Originally I had wanted to do the entire trail, but I was glad that we stopped where we did. I wasn't that tired, but I was hungry. I was ready for dinner! :)

We went back to the Kyoto Station area and met up with a couple other friends and had dinner at the mall under the station. After dinner we went to karaoke... fun!

The next morning we went back to Tofukuji. The fall colors were beautiful!


Tofukuji Fall

I was very impressed with Tofukuji. I had read that it was the place in Kyoto with the most fall colors at the time, but that it wasn't at its peak yet, so I wasn't sure how much to expect. I've seen pictures where pretty much all the trees have changed. It wasn't at that point yet, but I think it looked awesome with some of the trees still green. I got some really nice photos. I love the contrast of the red and green.

After Tofukuji many people left for Arashiyama but a few of us went to Fushimi Inari. A couple of the guys hadn't gone the night before and Aneeka wanted to see it in the day. I love that place so I was happy to go back as well. I saw it in the daytime with Lauren but we didn't have a whole lot of time. I'm glad I got to go back during the day because I'm really happy with how this picture turned out.

Fushimi Inari

The guys continued on the trail and Aneeka and I headed towards the area around Kiyomizudera. This is a picture of Inari Station. I like how it kind of matches Fushimi Inari.

Inari Staion

Aneeka was looking for a certain type of dish for her mom (though unfortunately she never found it). I enjoyed wandering around the streets of shops. When I was at Kiyomizudera before, Lauren and I were on a tour and didn't have a whole lot of time to just wander around. I bought a kokeshi doll at one of the shops. I will take a picture of it at some point. It looks really cute together with the kokeshi doll I bought in Asakusa in Tokyo.

Both of us were wanting crepes so we went to a park where she knew there was a crepe stand. I don't remember the name of the park, but there was a nice pond and I saw many ducks. :)


By Kiyomizudera there was a cool cemetery with a view overlooking Kyoto. I love how Japanese cemeteries look. Though I still think my favorite is the one in Toi because of how it goes into the woods and overlooks the ocean.

Japanese Cemetery

We were going to go to Nanzenji Temple, but on the way there we saw the big Tori gate on the street leading to Heian Shrine. That was my favorite place last time I went to Kyoto and I wanted to see the garden again in the fall. So we went there instead.

Heian Shrine Stepping Stones

Unfortunately there weren't that many trees that had turned colors, but there were a few. I like the picture below. I have a picture taken at this same spot from this summer. It's nice to have the same picture in different seasons.

Heian Shrine Garden Fall

Looking back, maybe I should have gone to Nanzenji because it would have been different, but I still really enjoyed seeing the Heian Shrine garden again. I didn't know anything about Nanzenji, but I looked it up on the internet later and it looked really cool and the pictures showed a lot of fall colors. Oh well! I will be back again!

We went back to Kyoto Station and began our trip back home. I got really sleepy on the Shinkansen and had to try really hard to not fall asleep. I didn't want us to miss our stop at Mishima!

After spending two hours on the shinkansen and half an hour on the Izu Hakone train, I arrived at Shuzenji. I had about half an hour to wait until the next bus, so I went and got dinner at 7-11. It was pretty awesome, especially because it was nice and hot! I also had warmed peach juice. :)

7 11 Food

There are a BUNCH more pictures HERE!!!!!!!!!!! CLICK HERE!!!!!!!!!!! There are a lot more pictures of all the places I went and also of my friends and I dressed as maiko! :)


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    Best wishes

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