This is my second trip (or 3rd day) to Kyoto. But this time round, I will be travelling with Kim-san, a fellow Korean colleague. We set our departure time to be much later. So I will be waking up at the same time as the weekdays, which is 6.50am (and I can avoid having to 'ninja' out of my dorm in the wee hours of the morning). We took the 9am bus from Nagoya and it arrived 40 minutes late (as always); reaching Kyoto station at 12.20pm.
1. Nishiki Market
Based on the plan for the day, we will be going to our first stop - Nishiki Market for lunch. I love to visit markets, especially markets which are clean and orderly. My previous visit to Tokyo's Tsukiji market has left a deep memorable experience.
Nishiki Market is 2 subway stops away from Kyoto station. Here the view from within the market. Stalls line up both end of the narrow passageway.
The market sells a variety of stuff ranging from seafood products, such as the one below...
to barbeque, ready to eat food as seen below, and also dried foods, daily necessities and many more.
The most captivating part of the seafood products are the massive crabs put on display. But the price also distinguish itself from the rest, ranging from 3000Yen to 7000Yen per crab. We grab our lunch around the street at one of the local eateries. I had tempura don which cost only 890Yen.
The main highlight for the day is Arashiyama(嵐山). Arashiyama is Japan's top scenery spot for the autumn red leaves. We arrived at Arashiyama station at 2.30pm, via the Keifuku Arashiyama Line. Turn left out from the station is our first scenic photo shot - Togetsukyo Bridge (渡月橋). There are many tourist crowds crossing the bridge when we got there. The best scene for the bridge is with Mt. Arashiyama as the backdrop, as seen in the picture below.
The multi-colored display of autumn leaves bordering Mt. Arashiyama with the Hozu River.
Here is Kim-san and I. The weather is cooling and it is pretty much alright to go around in short-sleeves shirt.
Across Togetsukyo Bridge is the Nakanoshima Park, and we came back through the bridge to Tenryuji (天竜寺). On the way to Tenryuji, we came upon hundreds of statues of Arahants at one of the temple halls.
The entrance to Tenryuji has a representation of the Bodhisattva Kannon. The red leaves is indeed the most beautiful and perfect offering to the bodhisattva.
In Tenryuji, there is the zen stone gardens with a beautiful backdrop of lake, autumn leaves and mountain.
One of the main halls of Tenryuji.
Here are more photos of the red maple leaves in the garden in Tenryuji.
A close-up view of the maple leaves.
We exited through the north exit of Tenryuji and enter the next sight in Arashiyama, the bamboo groves. The towering bamboo canopies block off sunlight at some areas of the walkway, giving a twilight feel to the place.
We left Arashiyama around 5pm just after the sun has set. And we proceeded to Higashiyama.
3. Night light-up at Chion Temple
I have visited Chion Temple the week before during the day. This time round, I am coming in at night for their night display. During the day, it is free to enter the temple grounds, but at night, it cost a hefty 800Yen. But it is worth the cost considering it is the first night temple visit for me. Let me share a few photos taken (with much effort) on the light-ups.
After visiting Chion Temple, it is off to dinner. The route taken from Chion Temple is much similar to the previous visit. Walking from Gion to Pontocho and finally the main shopping district of Kyoto, where we have our dinner. Thereafter is a walk back to our Ryokan (旅館). I managed to make the accommodation bookings via the itcj. Out of the 10 bookings we have made, only 3 were available as this is really the peak tourist season. We choosed the more expensive accommodation which cost 4,600Yen per person. One of the reason is because of its ideal location (5 mins walk from the train station) and it is new (only opened in March 2007). The ryokan is call Kyoraku Ryokan.
The rooms are cosy and warm. At least I don't have to run to the bathroom; the entire ryokan is heated.
The next day, we visited Higashi-Honganji and this is the park opposite the temple. All the leaves have turned yellow. It reminded me of a scene off Hero the movie where one of the fighting scene is filmed in a yellow leaves forest.