Michelle (Momo), L. Ploy (Supasana “Luukkhang” Sirisaengtaksin), and I went to Kyoto for the weekend!
We took the night bus on Friday at 10pm from Tokyo and arrived in Kyoto just before 6am. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this travel option for future visitors to Japan unless they are super ケチ (cheap) like us. The bus cost about $50 each way which is a great deal compared to the shinkansen (bullet train), which would cost around $150 each way. Bullet trains are so fun though and buses are (if you’re like me) impossible to sleep on!
We were starving upon arrival and the ONLY thing open at 6am was a Sukiya so we ate breakfast there. It was surprisingly good. Salmon, rice, an egg, natto, tsukemono, and miso soup. I’m a big fan of the rice-natto-egg-green onion combo.
After this we walked by several (closed) temples in the area and then once Starbucks opened we sat outside and people watched until our hostel opened. We stayed at J-Hoppers Kyoto and it was great. I highly recommend it.
This was my second time to Kyoto so I didn’t feel a huge need to go see all the famous temples, but we did want to go see Kinkakuji – the Golden Pavilion.
Then we took a tiny train wayyyy out through the countryside and into the mountains to Kibune. On the way I saw a single-car train for the first time in my life. Our train conductor also manually operated the train, opened and closed the doors, and took the tickets. すごい。
We heard at the hostel that Kibune is a beautiful place to eat Japanese food right along the river, so in Kibune, we ate. Well, first we walked past a lot of incredible and incredibly unaffordable places like this and got really discouraged that we would have to stave off our hunger and take the train all the way back without eating..but then we found this soba place called でんべ (Denbe):
Pretty cool huh? I ordered the cold soba with grated mountain potato and vegetables. It cost me about $12. The other restaurants in the area served set seasonal meals using local ingredients and specialties for at least $50 each.
Then we headed back to Kyoto city and walked around the Nishiki market (which had already closed) and some of the shopping areas nearby. We came again the next day and shopped here as if we couldn’t buy this same stuff in Tokyo. Haha.
This first day was pretty fun but Sunday was even better. I’ll post on that tomorrow : )
*click images for full view please