Three Days in Kyoto - Day 1

Kinkakuji and getting acquainted with Gion's Shijo

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

Kyoto is probably the most popular city with tourists. With its great number of temples and other interesting places, I had a hard time choosing just where to visit in my three days there.

One of the temples I wanted to see the most was the golden temple Kinkakuji. Upon arrival I headed off to see it. To see the city I decided to walk to Kinkakuji instead of riding the train but the walk was too long for me and the way there turned out to be not that exciting.

On almost every photo I have seen, Kinkakuji is always pictured with the same camera angle and now I understand why. A very impressive golden temple standing on a pond like an island reflecting in the water... what a picturesque view it is! Kinkakuji is surrounded by a garden, but the walking path from the entrance gates on the right side of the temple stretches only a short way from it meaning that those views are the only ones available. Nonetheless, Kinkakuji is truly amazing and brilliant shiny with gold. On the day of my visit the weather was good, so I was able to see Kinkakuji in all its glory! The number of tourists present was also amazing.

The 'floating' Kinkakuji is just gorgeous!
The 'floating' Kinkakuji is just gorgeous!

When I travel, I don’t like to rush and visit as many places as possible. I like to take my time and to see different ‘faces’ of a city. So, after visiting Kinkakuji, I walked along Gion's Shijo Street where I stayed in a hotel with the strange name, Sasarindo. Shijo Street is lined by old-fashioned low buildings with all sorts of shops on the ground floor. The shops sell souvenirs, pottery, tea and local sweets called mochi and wagashi.

One of the shops
One of the shops

I walked down the street to Kamo River and rested by the riverside while enjoying the peaceful view. I spotted a large heron walking in the water, looking for fish. There were also some school children and young people enjoying a nice warm day by the river. I thought that that part of Kyoto was very nice and spacious, and I had a good time relaxing there before returning to a busy Gion Shijo in the evening.

Kamo River
Kamo River

With the evening lights, the picture had changed considerably and the street became much more comfortable. I walked to Hanamikoji Street, a district of houses with maiko performances. It had a mysterious atmosphere to it and seeing real maiko quickly passing by, I felt as if I were in a movie! I returned to my hotel walking narrow dark streets filled with the impression of being in ‘another world’.

Very cosy street lined with shops
Very cosy street lined with shops

After this first day in Kyoto, I loved the city and looked forward the next two exciting days.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: https://gurushots.com/f10384/photos Matane!

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Kim B a month ago
A beautiful part of Japan with so much to see and do!
Kim B a month ago
The first time I went there was in 2013, and even then it was much less crowded than it is now. I prefer quieter places, but there are some things in Kyoto that just can't be missed!