Day Trip to Kyoto

Tuesday, 2-12-2014. Day 104.

In Which Things Don't Really Go As Planned.

Well, to be honest, there wasn't much of a plan to begin with, but here's the truth: we failed at Kyoto. Hard. But I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

Kyoto is only a short ride, about 30 minutes by train, from Osaka. So on our last day in osaka, we traveled to Kyoto. We left early in the morning, taking the subway to Osaka station and boarding a JR train (but not a bullet train) to Kyoto.

Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

The first thing you notice upon leaving Kyoto Station is the Kyoto Tower. It's a little controversial, because Kyoto is pretty old school with regard to architecture, and this spire (the tallest building in Kyoto) is a little too modern for some Kyoto purists. We didn't climb it, though. We were a little hungry so we ate some treats from Mister Donut instead.

We discussed doing a walking tour up toward Nijo Castle that would take us about an hour. But it was kind of cold for us Californians, and Samantha still wasn't feeling 100 percent, so instead, we decided to take the bus that went right up to the castle. And that's when we made the first mistake of the day—we didn't by the day pass. It was cheaper by like 20 yen per person to pay as we went, but getting change was a pain. It would have been easier to eat the 20 yen and get smoother on/off capabilities, as we would soon learn ...

Nijo Castle

We arrived at Nijo Castle and walked to the entrance where we were told politely that the castle was closed because it was the first Tuesday of the month.

We went to the castle, but the castle was closed.

We went to the castle, but the castle was closed.

We were a little bummed, but what can you do? We took a few photos of the outside and, after a quick consultation of the bus schedule, jumped onto a bus and check out the Nishiki Market.

Accidental Bus Tour

We realized pretty quickly the bus was going the wrong way. We should have gotten off right there, but we didn't (had we picked up a day pass, we probably would have). Stubbornly, we hoped it would make a turn that would take it back on the right path, but as we rolled past temple after historic temple, it never did.

Bus rider's view of Kyoto.

Bus rider's view of Kyoto.

Eventually we got off the bus and transferred to one going back the other way. We didn't really have a choice ... we were at the end of the line.


Tenryū-ji Temple

Tenryū-ji Temple

This new bus took us right past Tenryū-ji, which is one of the 16 temples that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site (Nijo Castle is the 17th and the only non-religious monument on the list).

The sun had started to set (it sets early in Japan—about 4:30 p.m.—this time of year), so we got off to check out at least one temple so the day wouldn't be a total loss. And we're glad that we did. It was a beautiful Zen Buddhist temple that's been around since 1339.

The grounds at  Tenryū-ji Temple

The grounds at Tenryū-ji Temple

Return Train

We were able to get onto a train back to Osaka right near Tenryū-ji, so after checking out a few of the shops that line the entrance to the site, we walked to the station and headed back to the warm comfort of the Hello Kitty apartment. It wasn't our best day out.

We will be back, Kyoto. We won't be so easily defeated next time.

Notable Statistics

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited: 1 (7 cumulative)
  • Trains Ridden:5
  • Buses: 3
  • Ipadographers: 1

is a writer of things with a strong adventurous streak. He also drinks coffee.

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Day Trip to Kyoto
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