For our first day in Japan, we decided to visit it’s former capital – Kyoto. Personally this is the part that I’m super excited, since I love to explore the traditional side of Japan more.
We allotted 2 out of 4 days of our Japan trip here in Kyoto.You might be wondering why we decided to just go to Kyoto on a day trip rather than staying there for 2 days. The main reason is that we want to avoid the hassle of checking in and out to 2 places, and besides, the train ride is very convenient and won’t take much cost as well ( 890 yen, one way). Also, since it’s a last minute booking, we weren’t able to find any good deal hostel in Kyoto since most of them are fully booked.
So now, I will be sharing with you our Day 1- Japan itinerary- Arashiyama Bamboo Groves (Kyoto), Tenryu-ji Temple, and Umeda Sky Building:
1.Kyoto Station Noodle Express Shop
This is our favorite affordable noodle shop in Kyoto. We’ve eaten here twice and it’s just so good. It’s the best udon I’ve had in my life (Yes! even better than the udon in fine-dining restaurants in the Philippines).
Actually, its not just the udon that I love, but the experience as well. By eating here, we were able to see how disciplined the Japanese are. They are waiting patiently in line if there is no space inside, and won’t make themselves fit in. They also clean the space where they’ve eaten after, so no need for a cleaning aid.
Also, I just love hearing how they slurp the Oh-so-good Udon soup! It just shows how good the food is! I also tried doing it when I was there, and I love the feeling too! I wanna go back to our favorite Noodle Express shop!!!
2. Arashiyama Bamboo Groves
This is one of the most photographed places in Kyoto. We were so happy taking pictures of the place, but overall, no picture can replace the feeling we had when we were in the midst of Arashiyama Bamboo Groves. It’s like a place so calm, cold, and safe – tall bamboo trees protecting you and telling you that there are still reserved places like this where Mother Nature is so happy.
The whole walk will take you around 20 minutes. Just a tip, don’t give up easily and assume that the bamboo will look the same all throughout. As you go farther, the bamboo looks more even and fresh. The final winding path is definitely one of the breathtaking points.
How to go: From Osaka Station, ride the JR Line to Kyoto ( ~ 890 yen). Alight in Kyoto Station, then transfer to the Sagano Line ( upon exiting Kyoto train station card stamping area, turn left, then you will see the Sagano station there. You can use your Icoca card for this). Alight in Arashiyama station ( Kyoto to Arashiyama will take around 20 minutes). From Arashiyama, your walking ( or biking) adventure starts. You will not have any problem navigating the place since many tourist maps /posters with English translation are in the district.
What to do: (1) Visit the breathtaking Bamboo Groves Path, (2) Go temple hopping (Tenryu-ji temple, etc), (3) Ride the Sagano Scenic Train (advisable during autumn), or (4) Visit the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji in the outskirts of Kyoto which is a temple containing 1200 cute rakan ( stone statues representing statues of Buddha).
Cost: The Bamboo Groves is free but the other temples have their corresponding entrance fees. The most expensive entrance I think is 500 yen. Most of the sceneries are free since Arashiyama is a nature trip destination.
Tip: Make sure to budget your time. Walking around this place is quite time consuming. If you want, you can also rent a bike and drive your way through the Bamboo Path.
3. Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji temple is the most important temple in Arashiyama district. You will pass through this on the way to Bamboo Groves, so it’s not much effort to visit it. It’s well known for its garden that has survived years. Luckily, we were able to spot a Sakura tree and Plum tree here as well! But I think, both of it are placed there intentionally to attract tourists. The other trees doesn’t have flowers yet.
How to go: You will see this along the Bamboo Groves. As I mentioned earlier, Arashiyama is full of big tourist maps so you won’t be lost. Also, you can simply walk around and follow the flow of people. That’s the best part of an adventure right? – Being lost 🙂 But kiddin aside, if you feel that you are seriously lost, then try to ask the locals using your best Charades powers, and you will surely find the right way.
What to do: Take a rest under the trees, and take pictures of the big Tenryuji temple. Just a note, using of tripod in the place is not allowed.
Cost: Entrance Fee is 500 Yen.
Notes: No closing days, and open from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
4. Umeda Sky Building (Floating Observatory)
Umeda Sky Building, or Umeda Floating Observatory is a famous landmark in Osaka, and is known for its architecture and floating escalator. If you think it is just like any other observatory you’ve been, well, yes, it might be, but it still has its own magic.
From here, you can see an obstruction- less 360 degree view of Osaka- both the city and the ports. At night, the floor is also lightened up to mimic a galaxy full of stars! Plus, for lovers out there, they also have a love locks terrace where you can place your locks as a pledge of forever love!
Aside from the top of the world experience in Umeda sky deck, one of the memorable experiences here as well is your way up. The elevator ride is super cool since the walls are made of glass so you can definitely see how you go up up and away . The escalator of Umeda Sky Building is famous as well, since it’s somewhat floating- it’s not inside a room of floor.
How to go: Actually, we got lost on our way here. From what I can remember, you need to go down in Osaka Station. Then, try to ask the tourist information guide in Osaka station on how to go to Umeda Sky Building. We’ve lost our direction going here, and roamed around Osaka area for around 30 minutes, then realised that we are in the opposite way. Nonetheless, the whole experience is fun – talking to cute Japanese on where is the right way and they answer happily using their super Charades skills.
What to do: Take a picture with the majestic Osaka city view, chill and take a rest while looking into the relaxing view of the city. You can also place love locks if you are with your partner.
Cost: Entrance is 700 yen, BUT it is free if you avail of the Osaka City Pass ( 2000 per day, unlimited train rides for non-JR, and free entrance to 28 establishments including Umeda).
Tip: Go here by around 5pm to 5:30pm, so you can reach the golden hour of sunset, then wait a little more to experience the night view of the city. At least you are able to see 2 phases of the Observatory. It is definitely very, very lovely at night because of the Milky Way Galaxy effect in the floorings, so make sure to go here with your loved ones!
That ends our Day 1! All of us were dead tired for this day, yet very happy and fulfilled.
Read more about my Budget Travel Osaka Adventure:
- Part 1- Japan Travel like a Ninja for only 12,000 pesos – Personal Tips and Notes
- Part 2- Day 1-Japan Travel Like a Ninja for only 12,000 pesos – Arashiyama Bamboo Groves, Tenryu-Ji Temple, and Umeda Sky Building
- Part 3- Day 2-Japan Travel Like a Ninja for only 12,000 pesos – Osaka castle, Tenma, Pokemon Center Osaka, Dotonbori
- Part 4- Day 3-Japan Travel Like a Ninja for only 12,000 pesos – Kyoto, Kinkakuji Temple, Botanical Garden, Osaka Castle, Denden Town
- Part 5- Day 4-Japan Travel Like a Ninja for only 12,000 pesos -Namba, Dotonbori, Ichiran,Shinsaibashi
- Part 6-Japan Travel Like a Ninja for only 12,000 pesos-Itinerary and Budget
- Japan Travel in a Budget:Osaka-Nikko-Kyoto-Tokyo Autumn Highlights
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Universal Studios Japan Experience
- How to Apply for Japan Tourist Visa
Tokyo/Kanto Budget Travel posts:
- Hitachi Seaside Park – Japan’s Best Autumn Spot
- Chureito Pagoda, Shimo-yoshida- Great View of Mt. Fuji
Going to Japan soon but don’t know where to start? Try to avail of my customized budget itinerary to learn and be able to tour Japan alone! Just click here.