Day 5: KIOTO - Heian Gunju, Kamigamo Jinga - KOBE
This morning we will go straight to Heian Gunju Temple where we arrive in 20 minutes since we are quite apart.
Although it is one of many Kyoto famous temples, it took about 30 minutes to visit this temple and the giant tori What's in the entrance.
The Heian Gunju Temple is an imposing set of sanctuaries built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto.
The buildings are colorful replicas of the Kyoto Gosho, from the Heian period, reduced by two thirds in size.
After the visit, we return to the 100 bus station, where we continue a couple of stops to the Higashihongaji-tenno-sho station, to take the number 204 which is a few meters away and will take us to about Nijo Castle, which is today's next stop.
At this point we recommend something essential, at least for us: to have a map of the buses of Kyoto. The locations and directions are not intuitive, so a map to guide us is very useful and saves us a lot of time.
It takes a few minutes to arrive and the first thing we do is catch up with the information in the guide we have Nijo Castle.
But when we get to the door: surprise! It is closed until January 5 !!
So we have to settle for surrounding it, take some pictures of the outside and look at the positive side: we have more time to visit other things or add something else to today's tour 🙂
So we are going to look for the bus stop number 9 to be the one that will take us to Kamigamo Jinga, the next stop in the morning.
We arrive in 15 minutes and the first thing we do is go to a vending machine to get our usual coffee from a can. We take a coffee and a coffee with milk for 120 yen each.
And right in front of us, one of the toris of Kamigamo Jinga.
Kamigamo Jinga It's one of the oldest shrines in Japan, prior to the foundation of Kyoto.
It is dedicated to Raijin, the god of thunder and is one of the 17 places in the city declared World Heritage by Unesco.
The more than 40 current buildings, including the impressive Haiden Hall, are exact reproductions of the originals.
They say that the two large conical mounds of white sand in front of the Hosodono room represent mountains, sculpted for the descent of the gods.
Kamigamo Jinga It is one of the most beautiful temples we have been to, we cannot say otherwise.
And we understand that you will think that we always say the same of all the places we are visiting, but we cannot say anything else.
Kyoto It is spectacular in its entirety. It is impossible to highlight one thing more than another.
In Kamigamo Jinga We feel that sense of peace and tranquility that only certain places transmit. This is one of them again.
We cross it with tranquility. Enjoying every minute we are here.
It's 11 in the morning when we finish the visit to Kamigamo Jinga and we return to the bus stop, this time to take the number 46 to Heian Jingu and from there we take the number 100 to take us to the bus stop Kiyumizudera Temple from where we will go to the Hishamiya neighborhood.
This is one of the many places that have recommended us to know both day and night in Kyoto And today we have the perfect time to do it.
The route is a little more than 9 km, although in the plane it seems to be much less, so we take a good ride with the bus, since it took almost 45 minutes to arrive due to traffic and the stops that it makes to leave and picking up people.
And after those 45 minutes we meet again in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Kyoto.
If the day we visited it was spectacular in the moonlight, today in the sunlight it is no less.
This area of Kyoto It shows us the most traditional part of the city and although there are many tourists, we are very comfortable walking through its streets.
We get lost between little shops and wooden houses until 12.30 noon, although it is difficult for us to leave this area of Kyoto How much we liked it.
Being the time it is, we decided to take advantage of the fact that we are in the area to go to Gion and also know this area in daylight.
In Gion We decided that we will leave the GPS and the plane aside and go walking the streets in our opinion.
And thanks to this we have one of the biggest surprises we will have today ...
The truth is that Gion It is an essential place in any visit to Kyoto, but we have to recognize that during the day, at least for us, it loses a lot of the essence that we felt the other day when we came in the evening.
So after our little walk through the Barrio de las Geishas and being little more than 1 noon, we are going towards Pontocho, where a little further down we take bus 205 that takes us directly to the Kyoto Station, where we go directly to the post office to change money.
The schedule is from 9 to 16 and you have to enter the green letters area, where ATMs are located and put Bank.
You enter the counter area and ask them to give you the form to fill out.
Today's change is 142 and they give us 138.60, so we can't complain even the slightest!
We wait for our turn and with the purse with yen and before going from Kyoto to Kobe, we decided to eat at the restaurant where we were the first day ...
And as soon as we reach the door we see a cartel with the schedule: weekdays open only at night!
Second thing closed today. As we are just in time, we decided not to look for any restaurant, so it's time to go to a fast food place to load energy as quickly as possible and take advantage of the time gained to visitKyoto to Kobe With a little peace of mind.
At this point we have to say that since we arrived at Japan we will have crossed with no more than 10 western tourists and we will not deny that this is appreciated! Apart from all the more tourist places, for more people we have seen, we intuit that they are much less crowded than in spring or summer ...
So we are very happy with the dates we have chosen to travel to Japan!
That said, we go straight to activate the JRP of 14 days, to release with the train from Kyoto to Kobe, so let's go to the office in the Kyoto Station, which is just entering on the left hand side and at the end of the room they activate the JRP.
Although there is a lot of queue, you can stop by the other counters.
We are a few minutes in the queue and after activating it, something that does not take more than 5 minutes, we are lucky that we ask the girl and she tells us that the train from Kyoto to Kobe It leaves in 5 minutes on platform 5, so it's a bit of a run. Something that does not hurt us to lower the food!
We pass by one side of the entrance doors to the platforms, showing our new JRP and we give a last sprint to platform 5 and of course, with Japanese punctuality, at 14.30 o'clock the train arrives.
We enter the first car and start the road to Osaka, where we have to change to arrive later to Kobe.
At this point we also have to make special mention of the Hyperdia website, which is the best invention we have been able to know on this trip along with the GPS on the mobile.
On this website you just have to put the itinerary you want to do and it shows you the schedules, the name of the trains ... etc. It even marks the platform on which the train will leave.
This, with Japanese punctuality, is a handicap to keep in mind so as not to miss a train!
He train from Kyoto to Kobe it takes 50 minutes counting the transfer in Osaka, where we stop 5 minutes and at the moment, the train that will take us to the platform arrives Kobe.
At train from Kyoto to Kobe We take the opportunity to write some postcards and almost miracle, when I look out the window, I realize that at the stop we are there is Kobe!! Although the name is Sannomiya!
This station is the center of Kobe.
Roger has mimicked the environment and already acts like a Japanese and when he touches a bus or train seat he sleeps so it doesn't help much when it comes to controlling train stops 😉
So it's time to run again and get down at full speed. Once outside the station, we look at each other in awe with everything we have in front of us.
We have gone from a Kyoto to Kobe, from the traditional to the modern, which is presented to us at least, very futuristic.
For guidance we do not hesitate to connect our GPS and we are on our way to Kobe Chinatown.
Just get off the train from Kyoto to Kobe We have noticed that the temperature has dropped, but at the same time we have a radiant sun that makes us cheer up even more.
As we move away from the Kobe Station and we begin to mix with people, we realize that there are more “different” people here than in Kyoto.
In less than 15 minutes and always guided by our GPS we arrive at the entrance of the Kobe Chinatown.
He Kobe Chinatown, Nankinmachi, is a squeaky and bustling tourist collection of Chinese shops and restaurants that is very familiar to us, having visited some in other cities around the world.
We had a good time in the Kobe Chinatown, getting lost in the streets parallel to the main street.
After more than 1 hour, we put direction towards the area of Kobe Harboror Kobe Harbor Land, to where we arrived in less than 10 minutes walking.
In this area of Kobe we began to notice the cold more and since we arrived at Japan, we can say that this afternoon is the coldest we have had so far.
He Kobe Harboror Kobe Harbor Land It is packed with restaurants and shopping centers.
From afar what stands out and the most characteristic is the Kobe Tower where we go up after paying 600 yen per person and go up in the elevator that takes us to the first viewpoint.
After several turns of 360 degrees, we go up some stairs And we reach the top floor, where there are some perfect chairs and windows, from which to see the sunset ... the bad thing is that they are already busy and people defend them to death!! 😉
Here we stay for a while resting in the armchairs, waiting for someone to get bored and leave us a little hole.
We had not noticed before, but now, that we are resting in the armchairs, we see that the majority of visitors are couples, quite young, who do not stop getting cuddles.
Here we have to make a small paragraph and that is when we reach our hotel in Kyoto, we have an email from Sachiko and after exchanging several comments, he explains that today, Christmas Eve, in Japan It is celebrated very much as a couple and it is a day in which couples usually go out to celebrate it, having dinner and exchanging gifts.
And after 15 minutes waiting, they finally leave us “a window” where we can live an impressive sunset!
This is our special Christmas Eve ... last year we lived in the Dead Sea in Israel and this year we are enjoying it in Japan.
We left the Kobe Tower practically at 6 in the afternoon and we go back on our way, going back through the Kobe Chinatown where we cannot avoid stopping again and take some photos with the night lighting.
Here we meet again with a Kobe crowded with couples with a festive atmosphere that infect us.
And when it's almost 7 in the afternoon, we go in search of a restaurant, recommended by a girl from Kobe, Facebook follower, where to eat one of the best meats in the world, Kobe Meat.
As we do not have the address, we use the always helped Tripadvisor, but in this case, having the wrong address, makes us take more than two laps through some alleys, until in the end we managed to find the place.
We climbed the stairs and as soon as we entered the door, wishing to try the Kobe meat, the girl tells us that everything is reserved !!
You should have seen our face. Surely it was a poem.
As there is no turning back and once we are going to eat the best meat in the world We want to do it in a place that has good opinions, we go back to Tripadvisor and we find one very close to where we are, which is even more recommended than the previous one, the Kobegyu Stake Land Kobe.
Upon entering we were impressed with the dimensions of the place and how beautiful it is.
They give us a shared table with more people, with an iron in the middle and with a cook who will do the Kobe meat in front of us.
After giving me several laps a la carte, we ordered a 200 gram dish of Kobe meat special with vegetable garnish and other dish of Kobe meat "Normal", also 200 grams.
And what can we say about Christmas Eve dinner? The only thing we can say is that after this, we will never look at the veal in the same way ...
The Kobe meat It is a delight for the senses and if you can, do not forget to try it.
And where better than in Kobe?
In the end, the bill goes up to 9980 yen, that we really didn't find anything expensive for what we have eaten.
We left our meeting with the Kobe meat past 9 at night and we go straight to the Kobe Station to catch the train from Kobe to Kyoto.
And this is where we call it for not consulting the Hyperdia website for not having a battery in mobile phones and we take a local train that stops at Umeda Osaka station and not at Shin Osaka ... so apart from taking longer than expected, being A private train, which we learned later, we realized that when we skipped the winches of the station, it was not because they were broken, it was because we were sneaking!
Arriving in Umeda we have to get lost in the hallways of the station until we reach Osaka and from there we take a JR, which takes us to Kyoto, but that is not the fast service, so it will take us longer to reach our hotel in Kyoto.
An adventure that is given by not paying attention to the posters.
Of course, we have a good story to tell about the night of Christmas Eve last in Japan.
After this train, we arrive at the Kyoto Station Almost at 11 p.m.
And from here, in less than 15 minutes, we are entering our room at Citadines Kyoto Karasuma-Gojo without being able to look away from our soft bed.
Today has been a full day and we have lived a perfect Christmas Eve ...