Ultimate Experience in Kyoto: Time Travel through Historical Japan

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Kyoto was one of the oldest capitals in Japan, also known as The Thousand Years City. Kyoto is filled with historical sites like royal palace, temples and Japanese style gardens. Being in Kyoto is like travelling back to the old days in Japan, when you can still see traditional architecture and people dressing in kimono walking on their way to pray in the temples.

We stayed in Kyoto for 3 nights during our 2 weeks trip to Japan this summer. Apart from visiting all the grand and elegant attractions, there are few ultimate things that you can try in Kyoto!

Kimono Trying

Want some amazing portraits or prove photography you’ve been to Japan? I highly recommend to rent a Kimono and walk around! It’s a special and memorable experience for sure. There are few kimono shops that offer kimono(yukata in summer, thinner layer and more colorful) trying experience around清水寺Kiyomizudera.

We picked 岡本織物 as it can be booked online. Due to popularity and high volume of response, it rarely has space for walk-ins. You can book your time slot of arrival, that I found the earlier the time, the more choices of kimono available. Usually you can rent the kimono for the entire afternoon and return it by 6pm. There are different price ranges for certain quality and styles to chose from.

On arrival, you will be assist by a staff, picking one and changing with a bottom layer and the kimono complicated applications. If you booked the additional hair styling service as well, you will then pick the accessories and chose from 3 type of hair style. And you’re ready to walk along Kyoto like a local!

Living in a Onsen Ryokan

Ryokan is the traditional house in Japan, it’s a really nice experience to try out how people live in the old days and totally different environment to a hotel. Ryokan have rooms with bamboo wall paper and carpet that kept warm in winter and cool in summer, and you will need to sleep on the floor with mattress and duvet. It usually have a outdoor garden for having a cup of green tea and chatting. Some luxury one even have their own hot spring per room, where you can enjoy a warm relaxing bath after a long day travelling.

Eat like a Royalty

Since Kyoto was the empire capital, it offers a lot of traditional exquisite cuisine that is a must try! Washoku is like a visual and tasting delight. Meal set is at reasonable price like 1500yen to 2000yen, with well executed dishes from small snacks, appetizer, main to dessert, colorful dishes on a set of matching tableware serve in a plate for one, small portion of each so you can try bit of everything without being stuffed. If you are looking for something more luxury, you can order a multiple dishes meal up to 10 dishes.

Kyoto is also famous for its specialty tea Macha, naturally grinded green tea, smooth and rich flavored. There are lots of sub product made from Macha like snacks and ice cream that taste amazing!

Planning Your Trip to Japan: 5 Daytrips Inspirations Departed from Osaka

IMAG4455Osaka is located in Kansai region in Japan, the second largest metropolitan city apart from the capital Tokyo. Osaka is the city I visited the most in Japan, where filled with Japanese pop-cultures, fashion, great food and most important, very convenient connecting other region’s popular destinations.

Lots of the region’s main attractions can be accomplish in one day, so I usually stay in Osaka and planning return daytrip to other cities in Kansai. Here are few ideas of where you can go for a day started from Osaka:

1. Inside Osaka

Start your day visiting the amazing 黑門市場 Kuromon fish market where you can get all kind of freshest seafood and sashimi as a budget but luxurious breakfast! From a selections of raw fishes, fresh oysters to hot meal like gill eel or scallop don, there’s always something perfect for you(and heaven for seafood lover like me)!

Head to the amazing Shisaibashi shopping streets, you can find all kind of stuffs, from signature snacks shop, boutiques, cosmetics to toy shops, along with a mouthful of Osaka famous takoyaki and ramen!

2. Kobe

Kobe is well known for its special kettle ranching that producing tender and juicy beef steak. Kobe is next to a port wit beautiful night view.

Kitano Ijinkan, where used to be a military area in Japan and buildings there are pretty westernized. There are 8 household refurnished into interesting museums with different themes. We brought the passes (3000 yen) that included all of their admissions.

Don’t leave Kobe without trying its beef steak, grease are evenly spreader, grill it or simply boil the beef slice in a hot pot, it melt right into your mouth! Taste that I will never forget!

3.     Nara

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Nara shopping street.

Nara was the first capital of Japan and many temples and historical artifacts are well kept in the regions, and just hour away from Osaka. It’s a city full of vintage and handcraft shop.

Nara is most well known for the deer park, where deer are religious animal which they can walk around the park freely. They get used to human so it’s a popular detonations to pet them and a special encounter with these adorable animal . There are stalls selling biscuits for deer and be careful they are quite aggressive when they notice the food, especially the male one!

4.     Wakayama

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Wakayama castle

Wakayama has some beautiful old temples and one of the most famous castles. You can start your day walking a beautiful hiking path 熊野古道 Kumamon Kodo, used to be the path for Buddhist religious practices. The path was recorded as world’s heritage by UNICEF in 2004 and the whole path takes 5 days to complete.

5.     Universal Studio, Japan

IMAG4019Universal Studio is perfect for movie junkie and kidult like me, it’s my forth time here and I’m still excited about it! Make sure you get your ticket before arriving (for example in travel agency or the airport) so you can pass the long queue just for buying tickets!

USJ opened a Harry Potter themed area The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Remember to the exchange the special timed entrance ticket for the Harry Potter area. It’s first come first serve that very easy to run out due to its high popularity.

Must go: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Space Fantasy, Back To The Future, Terminator 2, Water World and Backdraft.