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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Kyoto Day 2: Higashiyama District: Kiyomizu-dera Temple-Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka- Kodaiji Temple-Maruyama Park

After our breakfast, we walked to Kyoto station to take public bus to our 1st station-Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Today our trip is to visit the Higashiyama District which is also the Eastern Kyoto. We spend one whole day in this area as there are a few places that you can visit. I don't recommend to run different districts in one day as you will need to spend more on your transportation cost.

Here is the itinerary of the day:
Kiyomizu-dera temple- Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka- Lunch: Omen Restaurant- Kodaiji Temple-Maruyama Park-Kyoto Station-Dinner: Chinese Resturant in Porta Dining

There are a few buses that able to take you to Higashiyama district, it depends where you want to stop. There are three bus stations along the tourist spots: 
-Gion bus stop is near to Yasaka Shrine & Maruyama Park
-Higashiyama-yasui bus stop is near to Kodaiji Temple  
-Kiyomizu-dera bus stop is near to Kiyomizudera Temple.

You can take either bus no. 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to one of the three bus stations. I didn't not purchase Kyoto bus city one day pass as I only visit to one area that cost me 230 yen per way instead of 500 yen pass card.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple- a historic temple that was established in 778, even before Kyoto became the capital of Japan. The two most famous places of the temple are the Main Hall, where the Eleven Headed and Thousand Armed Kannon Bodhisattva - which is famous for the power of answering prayers - is enshrined and Kiyomizu Stage, which is the veranda of the Main Hall extended over a precipice.

Admission fee: 300 yen per person
Opening Hours: 6am-5.30pm, 6.30pm-9.30pm

For more information of Kiyomizu-dera temple, visit their website.

The stairs toward the temple. Love the sakura flowers around the place. You just cant miss it during this season. It is all over the place in Japan.

Kyoto Jishu Shrine also named as the cupid of Japan. Many young people come over here to pray for their love relationship while parent will come over to pray for their children. It is popular to have Jishu Shrine charms for "splendid love".

This Love stone also called love fortunate telling stone. There are two stones located about ten meters apart in the main building. It is said that if a person walk safely from one stone to another with his/her eye close, his/her love will be granted. It is very popular among the Japanese and this practice  is still remained until now. I still see some young ladies doing it when I'm there.


Walking on the streets of Sannenzaka

Green Tea Cream Puff-500 yen
Scrumptiously cream puff I ever have so far. Although the outer layer look hard, but when you bite it, it is so fluffy and creamy. One isn't just enough and the price might kill you too.


While walking through the street, I found this place selling handmade pottery, just a short distance from the temple. You just can't miss the unique setting in front of the shop. It is called Traditional craft Asahido, visit their website to find out more.

I just can't resist the beautiful craft work of their cups, bowls, plates and many more. I picked a few which instantly become a big baggage for us. Since it is handmade, the price didn't come any lower. A simple cup may cost from 500 yen and above. 

Yasaka Pagoda

I spotted this old man selling some snack along the street.

Not sure what is it call, but it is fried glutinous rice, taste quite nice too. 100 yen per piece.

A man photo shooting real geisha in one of the small alley.

Our lunch at Omen-Kodaiji Branch, one of the best place for Udon in Kyoto. It is located between Kodaiji temple and Maruyama Park. You can ask any locals there, they will show you the place as it is quite far from Kiyomizu-dera temple.
We went after lunch hour around 2.30pm, thought of skipping the lunch crowd, but to our surprise it is still packed inside. We have to wait for 5-10 minutes for our turn. There is English menu for foreigners, so don't worry if you can't read Japanese.

We order two set menu:
-Seasonal Set with Omen Noodles-2100 yen
-Saba Sushi Set with Shrimp and Bean curd Noodle, add on crispy tempura-2700 yen
Starter (free)

Saba Sushi & Crispy Tempura
Since the Saba fish is served raw, the fishy smell is so strong, I don't think anyone can resist . The tempura was nice and crispy.

In the Seasonal Set with Omen Noodles, it comes with marinated salmon & vegetables, simmering tofu with citrus soy sauce and boiled bamboo shoot with sweet pepper sauce. All the above taste quite nice.

Shrimp & Beancurd Noodle
The soup was a bit salty but overall the udon is very nice. 

Seasonal Set with Omen Noodles
I like their Udon very much, springy and smooth. Taste wise very similar to Sanuki Udon in KL, but the sauce for the Udon is simply delicious. No wonder it is listed as best Udon in Kyoto. I would recommend to order just their Udon instead of the set menu because only the Udon that is delicious in the shop. Of course price didn't come in cheap as well, we spent around RM 160 for two set of Udon.

Next, we went to Kodaiji temple- an outstanding temple in Higashiyama District. More information visit their website.

Admission fee: 600 yen per person include access to Kodaiji Sho Museum.

Bamboo alley in Kodaiji Temple

Last station of the day is the most famous park for blossom viewing- Maruyama park. It is best to come in early April when all cherry trees start to bloom. Lots of people will be picnicking under the trees to enjoy the lovely view.
This is the oldest cherry tree in the park which is located in the centre of the park, easily to spot as people will be crowding around to take photos.

Stalls were also set up during the cherry blossom month to cater to the people. Japanese around the country will come over here for picnic/parties. You may also see some drunk teenage group shouting and teasing around.

People walking in the park


We took the bus no 206 back to Kyoto station.

Since we were too tired to go anywhere else, we went back to Porta Dining for dinner. We found this chinese restaurant that specialised on Mapo Tafu which is also his favourite. Their menu only come in Japanese so again he has to dig up his skill to read, but don't worry there are pictures in the menu where you can guess what they serve. Good thing about Japanese restaurant is that they will always have 3D sample food outside their shop for you choose and the food will serve exactly the same even the portion!

Pot of tea

Ala carte: Mapo Tofu (non spicy)-900 yen
You can actually choose the level of spiciness of your mapo tofu. He chose non spicy that I really disagree because what is the point of eating Mapo tafu without spicy. However, it turn out to be superb! The taste of the mapo tofu is so good even without spicy. We didn't expect we can find delicious Mapo Tofu in Japan since we hardly can find any in KL nowadays. Must try! 

Sweet & Sour Fish with Mapo tofu set- 1250 yen
I ordered the set menu which come with fried popiah, salad, dessert and soup. The sweet & sour fish taste so so and the mapo tofu didn't taste as good as the ala carte we ordered above. I guess they serve better in ala carte than set menu. I would recommend to order their ala carte since most of the side dishes didn't turn to be good, kinda waste.

That is the end of our Day 2 in Kyoto. Stay tuned for more...


Find out more on my Japan Trip 5/4-12/4:
-Osaka-Kyoto Itinerary 2014
-Travel from Osaka Airport to Kyoto- ICOCO & Haruka Pass
-Kyoto Day 1: Kyoto Station- Fushimi Inari Shrine-Nishiki Market
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