We wanted to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine as early as possible after breakfast, but we were kinda stuck at Yodobashi store (close to Kyoto station) and Isetan department store at JR Kyoto station. Didn't really want to leave these department stores. You could easily get lost inside the multiple floors, just browsing (and wishing you could buy all of them). Love especially the food department at Isetan.
We missed visiting Nakamura Tokichi Honten's main branch in Uji, so we looked for their Kyoto branch - which thankfully is also located at JR Kyoto station - look for Suvaco section of Isetan department stores (it is on 2nd floor, and is located at the station, not inside the department store)
Was given some fans while we were waiting for our turn (yep, quite a queue up).
I had the Kyo no Fukiyose (JPY 921), consisting of heavenly green tea and hojicha chiffon cake, and green tea ice cream.
1/2heart had the Matcha Buckwheat Noodle Set (JPY 1201). In this set, we also got the tea jelly. We both agree that Itohkyuemon's version of green tea zarusoba is superior.
Then to share between us, we also ordered Maruto Matcha Parfait (JPY 1001). Pretty as a picture and quite yummy too, although I skimmed the cream off the top (not fan of cream and milk, though I have no problem eating ice creams :P)
After lunch, we headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine by bus and subway (could have taken bus no. 5 straight from Kyoto station but the thought of queuing up in the sweltering heat deterred me off) taking advantage of our two day sightseeing pass (JPY 2000), which grants unlimited use of buses and subways. So we took the subway to Shijo subway, took bus no 207 to Tofukuji, then walked (20 minutes) to Fushimi Inari.
Yep, still had to walk -_-
First time visitors to Kyoto be aware - their subway and bus system could easily make you confused to no end. Familiarize yourself with the bus route (if taking buses), and also note that the pass cannot be used on private railways.
One of the most notable difference of Fushimi Inari Shrine: the guardians are foxes, not the usual Kirin.
We pretty much covered this map within a couple of hours, but there is more area uphill (different map, which I didn't take picture of), and which we didn't go to, as it was so baking hot and hiking up was the least favorable idea we would go ahead for.
|a lot of girls wearing yukata - in fact pretty much everywhere in Kyoto|
|Replacing one of the pillars...|
|Our 'luck'. We bought it just for the fox miniatures|
When leaving the shrine, we chanced upon a cat cafe, paying JPY 500 for 20 minutes of some cat-loving (nah, actually they mostly just ignored us). There were not enough cats >_>, unlike the one in Korea we went to. But we still had fun regardless, and it was a nice break from the heat.
Then we took the bus again and headed to Kiyomizu Temple. As some parts of the temple is still undergoing renovation, we had more fun walking up and down the street leading to and from the temple. Lots of shops selling souvenirs (some of them are tacky and are made in China. Whaaatt!!! I want Nihon made souvenirs, thank you very much), and yummy snacks.
The shops at the streets close at 6 p.m., so we headed to Gion area for a stroll. It is a beautiful area lined with fine dining restaurants and tea houses. It is particularly known as geisha & maiko district as the tea houses also offer
In fact, it was quite memorable for me as I saw a maiko walking by me so fast in her okobo footwear (no way a dressed up tourist can walk in those that fast!). Her kimono was so elaborate and the back kimono train looked so pretty. She quickly disappeared into an alley and an old teahouse.
One restaurant particularly amused me. Steak House Yoshida put up this cow's pedigree letter in front - also detailing the parents, and even the grandfather and great great grandfather of Sir Cow.
Is there such thing as cow otaku?
Leaving Gion and headed back to Kyoto station, we decided to eat at one of the restaurants at Porta Dining.
We chose to have ramen at Ramen Kanjindo Kumagoro.
Miso Ramen, Gyoza, and Tsukemen - all excellent and the ramens were of hefty portions - only costed JPY 1880. They don't have english menu, but they do have excellent pictures of each meal (and if anything else, you could always drag one of the waitress outside and point at any of the food plastic displays to show them what you want).