If you’re planning a trip to Japan, you probably already know the three major cities that should be in your itinerary: Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. I originally planned visiting them three but while I was doing my research, I realised how big and fascinating Tokyo is. I decided to cut Osaka off the list (save it for the next trip!) so I can spend more time in exploring Tokyo. I chose Kyoto because it made sense to visit a calm, laid-back city after the hustle-bustle in Tokyo. You don’t have to do the same, just a suggestion. 🙂
So what did I do in those 2 nights and 3 days that I spent in Kyoto? Read on.
10AM – Since I bought the morning package, I had to leave Tokyo at about 10AM and reached Kyoto at around 1pm.
The package I bought was from Japanican (Keep note, this website can be very handy) for 26,900 Yen inclusive of Shinkansen ticket to and from Tokyo and Hotel Stay. I suggest you get the Hikari package (bullet train) over Nozomi (slightly more advanced bullet train) since the time difference between both is only 30 minutes.
You can buy a bento box inside the train and a couple of snacks as well so you’re not gonna be hungry. The only issue I had was the wifi (apparently you have to pay for it before hand) and the staff couldn’t explain it to me either. Luckily I had a travel sim with mobile data.
1:30PM – I checked in at Hotel Hokke Club – location is perfect, almost right next to the station. Speaking of the station, there was a pudding stall where I swear I had the best caramel pudding of my life. But it was popup stall so they weren’t there the next day 🙁 Also, don’t miss the bakery. I lost count of how much bread I ate while I was in Kyoto. 😛 P.S. Most of the stations in Japan are like mini-malls so there’s a lot of things you can buy/do.
Since the check in time was at 3pm, I left my luggages there and went to look around. The hotel was so conveniently located I could walk to almost everywhere. But then again, Kyoto is not very big. I was practically next to the Kyoto Tower. 🙂
PC: Google Images
2:30PM – I walked to the NishiHonganji Temple and spent about an hour (or more) looking around. It was magnificent. I also spoke to a monk – who explained the beautiful history of the temple, specially the myth behind the two ancient trees that are considered as the temple’s protectors.
4PM – Since Nijo Castle was just around the corner, I decided to go there after. Unfortunately, I misunderstood the timings. Visitors who are already inside are allowed to stay until 5pm but the last entry is at 4pm! I was late for about 7 mins. (but since Japan being Japan…) I wasn’t allowed to enter.
Nonetheless, I got to see these beautiful ladies (and gentlemen) dressed up in traditional Japanese yukata casually strolling outside the castle.
4:30PM – Most of Kyoto’s tourist spots shuts by 4pm/5pm so there wasn’t much left to do other than the market and the Kyoto Aquarium which was open until 6pm. For about ¥1500 (Show your student ID), you would get to see Kyoto’s river fishes, penguins, seals and even the dolphin show. What I enjoyed the most though was the Jellyfish zone.
And maybe you could even find Dory 😉
6pm – I headed back to the hotel, rested a bit before I headed to the iconic landmark, the Kyoto Tower – ¥. En route the tower, I passed by Daiso – a popular ¥100 shop full of cute goodies, which was in the same building as the tower.
8pm – Dinner at one of the restaurants just around the hotel. It was a barbecue grill in the building across the tower. By this time, I was already too tired to walk around more!
9AM – You’ll never run out of options for breakfast. The Hotel Hokke Club has an in-house café or you could also go to the Kyoto station right around the corner for their bakeries!
11AM – Kyoto Botanical Garden – ¥150 for students and ¥200 for adults entrance PLUS ¥200/250 for the Botanical Gardens and the Garden of Fine Arts.
1pm – Lunch at the best Ramen place ever! Ramen Sen No Kaze – do not miss it for anything in the world. Ran by a couple, their ramen is by far the best I’ve ever had in my life.
3PM – Kyoto Imperial Palace
4PM – Again, everything else was shut by this time. I spent a lot of time at restaurants and eating at stalls (I will make a separate post on what to eat in Kyoto, stay tuned! ) but if you have time, you could squeeze in Arashiyama or the bamboo forest. Just make sure you leave early because its a bit far from downtown Kyoto.
Also, I wanted to spend time strolling around the city and just enjoy its tranquility. It’s the kind of place I would go to for a city break but still be in a city.
6 pm – Sushi at the Nishiki Market. Everything else started closing by the time I got there so make sure you reach before 5:30pm!
8pm – The perfect night ender would be a drink for those who’d like to unwind on the Sky Bar of the Kyoto Tower. Since I’m a good girl, I opted for the cherry. 🙂 It’s a bit on the ¥¥ side but I think it’s worth it to spend the last night with a nice, sweet glass of your favourite drink overlooking the city.
10am – Check out and head back to Tokyo. *Here you can squeeze in more sightseeing if of course you wake up early!
11pm – I made a quick stop at Daiso again for a bit more souvenir shopping before heading to the station where I had lunch! *TIP: There are a lot of restaurants on the last floor of the station, in case you’re starving and you don’t want to miss your train!
1pm – Board train back to Tokyo!
Hope that helps in planning your trip to Kyoto! Goodluck! <3
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