.: Exploring Kyoto – final round :.

Hard to believe after months I’ve finally managed to check all my photos from Japan. It was really good to revisit them, it made my wish to come back even stronger!

I only had the chance to visit Tokyo and Kyoto – which means a good excuse to be back and explore the mountains and other cities – but I have to say it was the best trip I’ve ever done. Not only because I loved all the places, but because it was a full journey: a journey on my mind discovering peace like never before, a journey through Japan’s amazing cuisine, and then all the history around it.

Food-wise we’ve discover not only their cuisine is amazing: not just sushi, but the ramen, yakitori, any rice dishes, all of it! Funnily enough the only thing I avoid is tempura which was introduced by the Portuguese (I avoid fried stuff) – but they also master anything else. I swear I had the best donuts in my life there! We found an amazing cafe at the Kyoto station where we would have a 2nd breakfast almost daily (we were still jet lagged, so we would wake up and have breakfast before 06a.m)

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(I found really amazing the contrast between the gigantic Kyoto station and the rest of the city! we’ve got lost a few times in there and I think there are around 3 shopping malls inside. Yap!)

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Even street food was also quite amazing

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I love gyoza!!!

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One of the most famous places in Kyoto is the Bamboo Grove, which is set in the pretty village of Arashiyama. Again totally recommended that you go early in the morning to avoid the crowds, plus the morning light really transforms this place

Even at the time we went, we’ve already struggled to get photos without any people on the frame.

Then we went back to central Kyoto to explore the neighbourhoods

And more temples in the afternoon. This was one of my favourite, especially closer to the end of the day, where it was really peaceful (Chion-in)

Next morning our mission was to visit the famous red doors (Fushimi Inari Taisha). Whereas we’ve managed to arrive before the crowds, it was actually raining cats & dogs

Here’s the funny bit. I thought these was just a long corridor, what I hadn’t realised was it’s a whole mountain to climb full of red doors!!! I didn’t made it to the top, as I was struggling with all the stairs (the perks of pregnancy I guess). It’s more than 1h up! Because it was raining so much, I was struggling to hold the umbrella and the camera at the same time!

It’s a place I have to go back too, because I felt I hadn’t explored enough of it. After that we went to another really famous place, the Golden Temple     (Kinkaku-ji)

Again it was still raining quite a lot, and this is where I’ve really struggled to make the most of my 28mm lens. Yap, because I gave him my zoom lens, I’ve spend all our journey using nothing else but the 28mm.

And back to Kyoto centre

I really miss it! This journey will always be special in our hearts, because it was my dream trip and because it was the last trip we’ve done together before baby arrives 🙂

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.: Exploring Kyoto :.

If there’s a city that’s now special in my heart, that’s definitely Kyoto. I loved Tokyo too, it’s so diverse, the amazing buildings, a city that doesn’t seem to sleep and yet you can find amazing quiet places. And the food…. ahhh all the food available. But Kyoto brought be down to tranquillity, exploring the temples and just walking around in the gardens. It was absolutely inspiring. Yes we were in areas that were crowded with tourists, but overall the feeling was peaceful. The jet lag was worth so we would wake up quite early in the mornings and avoid the crowds.

But first let me start with something interesting. On our last night in Tokyo I’ve accidentally discovered that another friend of mine was in Kyoto, next day would be her last night in Kyoto, whereas it would be our first night there. What a coincidence! So our first stop in Kyoto after checking in the house was to meet her for dinner

We went to this traditional sake house in Gion. There was a significant wait, but I dare to say it was worth it

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Really delicious food! It was also amazing to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 2 years!!! Next morning we were ready to start exploring around. We took a bus to an area which has a lot of temples to explore. There was almost no one outside and it felt so peaceful and quiet. On our way we’ve even seen the kids going to the school (exactly like in the anime movies, including the kids at the windows waving to their friends).

(Nazen-Ji temple). You can go upstairs on this one, and it’s worth it as the view is pretty good

(Tenjuan temple)

Konchi-in Temple

More than in Tokyo, you’ll see lots of tourists renting a kimono. They are so gorgeous after all! We were having fun trying to identify Japanese ladies (who can wear them with such a finesse and class!) from tourists.

Some Geishas seem to work as tour-guides as well.

Then we’ve reached one of the most touristic areas in Kyoto, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. On the way there you’ll be crossing the old part of town. It’s such a pretty area!

Inspiring isn’t it? Have you been in Kyoto before?

.: Zen Garden – Kyoto :.

You know those places that really become so special to you that it starts to become really easy to imagine you’re there again? Well, while exploring Kyoto I found one of those places, a beautiful Japanese Zen Garden. Just walking in the tatami felt so relaxing! The only thing that really spoiled the moment was this annoying kid running around all over the place and screaming a few times, but we’ve stayed long enough to be able to enjoy the place without him (I still can’t  believe the parents said nothing! In such a gorgeous quiet place, he was really disturbing everyone)

So welcome to Shorenin Temple

Just by looking at the pictures again I already feel so relaxed. This place is so beautiful!

We’ve spent a lot of time just sitting down and appreciating the beauty of the gardens (and also waiting for the annoying kid to go away)

Unlike many touristic attractions in Kyoto, this was actually pretty quiet, so we’ve managed to really enjoy it

Could explore these corridors for hours, just love them! And walking bare-feet on the wood or the tatami is soooo good!

So if I need to imagine a place my heart feels in peace, this is it! I have to go back to this place one day. Seriously!

Do you have a magical place where you really feel happy and relaxed?