While making our way to Nagoya for the next stage of our Japan trip we stopped by Kyoto. I specifically plan to head to Kyoto for a day trip before leaving late in the evening for Nagoya. It is too late for me to plan a stay in Kyoto given how expensive the hotels are and this is the next best option. I have always wanted to visit Kyoto and could not miss out on checking out even with a limited time. Many stays in Osaka as a base while checking out Kyoto given that hotel prices are much cheaper. Kyoto is an easy day trip away with it being super accessible via trains. You can travel from Osaka in 15 to 30 mins. Follow me in checking out Kyoto. Kyoto is a sprawling station with tons of attractions and areas of interest. This is a city that you can check out for a week and still have things to do. I barely touched the tip of the iceberg.

Getting from Osaka to Kyoto

Getting from Osaka to Kyoto is very easy. This makes it perfect for a day trip. There are multiple train connections between the two cities. You can also use your JR Pass on this route. Google Maps will be the most reliable platform to plan your journey. While you can certainly use the Shinkansen, this depends on where you are starting your journey from. Depending on where you are based, it might not be the best and fastest way. We got to Osaka Station and took a Rapid train to Kyoto Station. Kyoto Station served both the Shinkansen and the normal trains. It is located in the heart of the city and is a huge stop.

Since we had our baggage with us, we went looking for some lockers to keep our bags while we explore the city. Do have some loose chains on hand for the lockers or you will have to look for those that you can pay for with an IC card. We kept our bags on the side nearer to the Shinkansen tracks to make things easier later on. We paid 1200 yen for a medium size and a large size locker. Following on, we took a local train and start exploring Kyoto.


I had to plan out my time in the city given the limited hours that I had. Furthermore, I am not the type of traveller that likes to rush around and travel just for the sake of travelling. I prefer to take my time and immerse myself in each spot to see it. It certainly doesn’t help that I spend a huge portion of time getting the perfect shot as well. I wanted to visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Fushimi Inari Taisha and Gion. It doesn’t help that they are on the opposite side of the city. After settling our bags, we took the JR line to Saga-Arashiyama Station. We can use our JR Pass for this. It is a short ride from Kyoto Station. Immediately after exiting the station, we were greeted by this lovely sight. Check out that colour.

From the station, it is a short stroll to the bamboo forest. Just follow the crowd and you will never go wrong. It is rather peaceful among the tall bamboo. The vibes are really good. At some spots, it might be very crowded, do walk in further and you will find spots with lesser crowds.

We also went by this cute little shrine right in the middle of the bamboo forest. I have no idea where this is but it looks so cute and chic. We learnt from others and did a little prayer here too.

We then made our way down to the area around the Katsura River and Togetsu-kyo Bridge. How pretty is this! It is so charming and romantic! This spot is perfect for pictures. The streets surrounding the area are full of restaurants and stalls selling souvenirs. We got ice cream and dango while walking around.

The next stop of our itinerary takes us to Fushimi Inari Taisha! This is another must-visit in Kyoto and is at the top of my list. If you have seen those iconic Japanese travel pictures with numerous red arches, this is where they are taken. It is a very scenic spot and lovely. Similarly, we took the train here and did a transfer back to Kyoto Station. They are quite hilly and gorgeous. Seriously, how pretty is Kyoto! A tip for pictures is to walk for a bit and turn back to take the pictures.

We spent the rest of our day at Gion! This is the historical part of Kyoto and the geisha district. It is extremely charming both during the day and in the evening. I love this area. It has a lot of character. I love the pictures here. You have to stay till it gets dark! I wish that I had more time here.

Furthermore, travelling in the autumn/winter season also meant that you have a shorter days! Do note that public transport is rather sparse in this area and most of the time you will be relying on using the buses.

Eating in Kyoto

I had some really good food in Kyoto. We stop by for a late lunch in the city centre after visiting the Fushimi Inari Taisha. This spot is unplanned and we only went while seeing which spot had the highest rating on Google. The place is called Katsukura Shijo Teramachi and they serve up tonkatsu! The food is very very good and in a sense rather well-priced. I enjoyed the food here and wow the miso soup. This is the first time I finished my miso soup and even ask for refills. It is packed full of mushrooms and tastes so good. Call me a country bum or what but I did not have such good miso soup before!

You can find the menu of the place here. I love the tonkatsu.

Right before leaving Gion and Kyoto, we also stop by this cute little store that specialises in matcha! Kyoto is known for its matcha and you can find tons of stalls all over the city selling matcha items. You can find parfait to soft serve! They are especially prevalent in the Gion area. We went to Ito Kyuemon and got ourselves some treats while resting our legs.

Here is also some random dango and ice cream that we got earlier in the day at the bamboo forest area.


I can’t wait to be back in Kyoto. There are still so many places that I would love to visit and have barely covered. It certainly lives up to its reputation of being the cultural and historical capital of Japan. This is a city that you can spend a week in and still have things to do! I would love to be back and slowly explore this city. It has everything that you might need or want. Fancy department stores, culinary delights as well as the cultural aspects. These are the reason why Kyoto is such a popular choice among tourists. Gion has a totally different vibe when you visit it after dark. It has so much character.

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