Kyoto International Manga Museum
After we checked out of our Airbnb, Andy and I made our way towards the Kyoto International Manga Museum. On the way, we got to take a nice walk in the city parts of Kyoto. We stopped at a Doutor for some breakfast, which consisted of some nice hot tea and some small sandwiches. We’ve always wanted to get something from Doutor since we saw them everywhere in Japan. Funny enough, Doutor is a lot like Tim Hortons in Canada. They sold similar items and of course, they’re everywhere.
Visiting the Manga Museum was a really interesting experience since both Andy and I are only somewhat familiar with manga, but we knew that manga is a really important part of Japanese culture so we wanted to learn more. Most of the museum was just a huge library, filled with manga about every subject you could imagine. It was tons of fun walking around and just randomly picking out books to read. My favorite part of the museum was this room that showcased manga from every year since the 60s. Each year had a dedicated section and as you walked around the room, you followed a timeline which showed the most popular manga that came out during that year.
Next, we went to Ginkaku-ji, also called Jisho-ji, a Zen temple that represents the Higashiyama Culture. It had a really nice garden for a morning walk. The arrangement of plants and stones was really peace-inducing.
This temple was located in a cute old part of town. Right outside, there was a street full of small eats. We got some delicious mini cream puffs (matcha, vanilla, and custard cream filled) and some nice hot green tea there.
For lunch, we went to get udon at a nearby restaurant called Omen Ginkakuji Honten. It was really fun to eat there since it was the first time we ate sitting on a tatami mat. I think we both quite enjoyed it, but we just sat on our butts instead of our legs.
After lunch, Andy and I took the Philosopher’s Walk along the canal to Kyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple with beautifully colored architecture. In front of the temple, there was a fun street with tons of cute stores and street food stands. Along the way, we saw a lot of people dressed in traditional Japanese clothing, women in kimonos and men in their equivalent. I honestly had such an amazing time exploring this area with Andy, even if most of those stores were tourist traps.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
After visiting such a gorgeous temple, we went to yet another site of architectural beauty, Fushimi Inari Taisha, the famed gates of Kyoto and the head shrine of Inari, the kami of foxes. We got here at around sunset so we got to see the gates before and after the lanterns lit up the inside. It was tons of fun walking this area and it was just such a wonder to see a path made up of so many gates.
After we finished walking a portion of the gates, we went down the mountain through the small street in front Fushimi. Here, I got a cute fox plushie as a souvenir for Kate. Also, we were getting hungry so we couldn’t help but try all of the street food there.
Shinkansen back to Tokyo
Before heading back to Tokyo, we decided to grab some dinner at the train station since in Japan, train stations have some of the best restaurants. After checking out all of the restaurants, we decided on getting some curry. The food was honestly delicious, especially for its price and convenience. Also, I liked how you could choose what you wanted in your curry. I got fried chicken, mushroom, and green onions in mine, and Andy got fried pork, egg, and green onions in his.
Then, we just got on the Shinkansen and rode it all the way back to Shinagawa station. And that was the end of our adventure to Kyoto and Nara. It was so much fun, and it’s crazy that that was only the beginning of our time in Japan.