Though Spring is the most popular season in Japan because of its beautiful cherry blossom trees, it is also very beautiful in Autumn. I decided to go to Kyoto only a week before my trip to Seoul. I booked my ticket last minute. The peak is usually end of November in Kyoto and first week of December in Tokyo. I was a bit earlier but most of the trees have already started changing its colors.
The nearest airport to Kyoto is Osaka International Airport. The train ride from Osaka to Kyoto is one hour. Arriving in Osaka gave me a very nostalgic feeling. As though, I went back in time and I knew that Kyoto will give me the same feeling as it was once the imperial capital of Japan. Located in the Kansai region, Kyoto is famous for its classic Buddhist temples, as well as beautiful gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district.
Japan has always been a dream destination for Filipinos. If you ask 10 Filipinos which country they would like to visit first, half will answer Japan not only because Filipinos love Japanese food but because we all grew up watching Japanese anime and reading Japanese manga as a kid. Who does not have a Hello Kitty and Kerokerokeroppi stuff? Who does not know Voltes 5, Bioman and Shaider (I am not old haha), Mojacko, Doraemon and the all time famous Slam Dunk! The famous Meteor Garden Series from Taiwan, to those who don’t know, was adapted from Japan’s Boys Over Flowers Manga.
Many Filipinos are still afraid of traveling to Japan because of the impression of difficult visa requirements (they are much more lenient now – I haven’t heard of any tourist getting denied a visa recently) expensive goods (you just have to know where to eat and where to buy), no English translations (their bus, train, and other public transportation all have English, and there are also maps, apps, magazines, and brochures to guide you along the way), etc. but in reality, it’s not so different from traveling to our neighboring non-English-speaking countries. If anything, you can count on the Japanese to be the most polite, most helpful people you can ever encounter as a traveler. Clearly, there is no reason for any fear or doubt. It’s also one of the safest places in the world! I managed to travel on my own, and I’m sure you guys can do it too!
When people will ask me which is my favorite place in Japan, I will answer Kyoto. I’ve been to other famous places in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka included) enough to be 100% sure about my answer. It was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, so you can just imagine how deep and rich the tradition and culture is in this place which matches my very old soul.
But before I get started with my 10+ posts worth of momiji (maple leaves), let me show you what most people first see when they arrive in Kyoto – Kyoto Station a.k.a. my most favorite station in Japan.
If you do not have a Japan rail pass, you can purchase a one way ticket or return ticket at the airport (if you are flying back via Osaka airport). I bought a one way ticket as I will be flying back from Tokyo to Dubai.
Kyoto Station is one of the most beautiful stations I have seen. I have imagined myself being in a Japanese drama with Matsumoto Jun here.
Kyoto Station is also the main station connecting to other cities in Japan and if you are going to Tokyo. Hundreds of thousands of people pass by the station every single day. There are hundreds of shops and restaurants and you will notice how clean it is. Though Kyoto station looks very modern, as soon as you step outside, you will feel like you are going to a whole new different world.
Looks like they are going on a School Trip. If you can see the sign boards, Kyoto Station connects you to the JR Lines. On the right is a Shinkansen (Highspeed Train)
Kyoto station is also where you can find all the buses going to the places that you would like to visit. You can purchase a Day Pass for 500 Yen (not bad right!) and you can hop on and hop their public buses the whole day. There are guides so it is very easy to know which bus you need to take.
One of the reasons I love Kyoto station is they have a restaurant called Wa Cafe which serves delicious Japanese fusion pastas. I ate this pasta every day while I was in Kyoto. There was even a day when I ate it during lunch and ate it again for dinner. It is similar to Vongole but with a Japanese twist (900 Yen).
Kyoto Station is also packed with Cute Cafes!
This looks like a Before and After Shot
Say hello to my classmates! You will often see Japanese students ride a bus or a train together in a group. This shows how safe Japan is.
Outside Kyoto Station is the Kyoto Tower