Japan: Lit Gardens & Shrines in Kyoto + Japan Travel Tips

On our 3rd day, we went to Kyoto! We bought a one-day Keihan railway pass since Kyoto is about an hour away from Osaka. There are different ways to get to Kyoto but the cheapest and fastest is by train. Taxis are very expensive in Japan! Buses and trains are just about the same price so you can plot your way to this famous spot either way.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Our first stop is at the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. Dennis and I got there after lunch already so you can imagine the herds of tourists! Gasp! I guess that's why they suggested to go to Kyoto early so you can go to many places. But we had to catch up on sleep so there you go, lol!

The entire shrine is approximately 4 kilometers long and about 1 1/2 to 2 hours walk. I was looking for the infamous shrine IG money shot but that would require me to go up and good thing I didn't attempt to go all the way up, because Dennis said that you had to finish the whole thing once you start.

He started and he finished with gasps of air and tired feet when I saw him. Natawa ako na naawa nung nakita ko siya. Haha! We honestly didn't enjoy the shrine very much, but maybe for the history and the religious buffs, it is a worth a visit.

What was worth the visit for me was their food! Hahaha! There are many street vendors and souvenir shops at the foot of the trail -- this, I thoroughly enjoyed!

Matcha + Hokkaido Soft Serve Ice Cream!

Takoyaki! Who can resist?

Grilled Chicken Skewers!

Crab Skewers - wasn't able to try this because I was already stuffed by the time I saw this!

Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji

After that, we went to Eikando, one of the most popular gardens to visit for Fall Foliage in Kyoto. It was already late afternoon when we got there and they told us that they were already closed off for the morning but we can wait for the illumination night show at 5:30pm.

We had to wait for an hour but it was really worth it! It was getting chillier by the minute since it was close to nighttime and we were just standing in line waiting for the tickets to be sold but when we entered, it was like a magical garden! We loved it!

Japanese have a way of marrying nature and technology. They have a lot of illumination night shows across the country and we appreciate that they still take care of nature and highlight its beauty despite them being one of the advanced countries in terms of technology.

The photos don't do justice, it's really beautiful and the gardens were perfectly landscaped complete with shrines and bridges. Too bad they don't allow photos to be taken on the bridge, we think that's the most beautiful spot in the garden.

Malamig na, besh! Pero push lang!

As with the other gardens and shrines, they have a place wherein they pay tribute to their gods. Inside this temple, we saw that there was a huge painting of a fierce dragon under the skies. Dennis is very friendly with strangers, and he tried to ask one of the attendants there to explain the painting. Japanese are very kind and friendly people so even though they have a hard time speaking in English, they will still try to answer and respond to you. So he TRIED to answer Dennis.

By this time, I felt the struggle of the attendant to explain the painting so I told Dennis to let him off the hook! Kawawa naman si kuya! Hehe! But we appreciate him trying to let us in on his culture :D

Thanks, Kyoto! Next time, gising na kami nang maaga for your other scenic spots!


For this part, I'll also share a couple of tips or travel hacks in Japan. Since Japan can get pretty expensive, here are some things that worked for us...

Where to Stay
We booked our stay at Nest Hotel in Shinshaibashi, which is near the subway and just a couple of minutes away from Dotonbori. We booked via booking.com although you can also try Agoda or Trivago. The great thing about it is that there are options like free cancellation (if you're not yet sure but just want to reserve the room asap) or pay later (if you don't have cash on hand yet).

Nest Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi, Osaka, Hotel Front – Evening/Night

There are a lot of options to stay when you're in Japan, there are hostels, capsules and airbnb. But I would recommend just booking a stay at a hotel because of the convenience of not having to bring towels, toiletries and making sure that hot water is available and you can opt to come home to a clean room after a long day outside. :P Or maybe that's just me, lol!

Nest Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi, Osaka, Semi Double Room, Smoking (Eco Friendly Plan - No Housekeeping), Guest Room

Our room at Nest Hotel was just P2,300+ per night for a single room. It is the most basic room but it has all the things we need and the staff is friendly and accommodating to all our queries so highly recommended!

Be wi-fi ready
We bought our wifi via Klook days before our trip. All we had to do was show up with the voucher at the airport and they gave us our sim card which we inserted in our phone, and for just P1000+ we had wifi everywhere we go for 8 days!

Bring skyflakes and 3-in-1
Lol! So baka kami lang to! Our trip was on a budget so we needed to be wa-is. One meal in Japan would cost you around around P300-P500. That's their affordable meal already so if you want to splurge on some meals, you have to scrimp on other meals.

For us, we choose to just eat bread and coffee at our hotel room for breakfast and eat heavy brunch/lunch before we go on our day's itinerary.

Conbini is your best friend
We ate at Shake Shack one time and we were shookt when the cashier punched everything and our meal was at 2,700 yen (P1,300 pesos). We were going to Mount Rokko that day and so we will spending more for the tourist passes, so because this was more than our budget for lunch, we ate at Konbini/grocery stores for 2 meals after that. Ha! Bawi-bawi lang! 

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You can't splurge on everything, so in cases like these, Lawson, Family Mart and 7-eleven are your best friends. :)

Buy tourist passes at Klook
At Klook, you can buy one-day or two-day passes that will give you access to subways and buses. 

For Kyoto, we booked Keihan Railway one-day tourist pass. For Mount Rokko, we bought a tourist pass as well. Sayang we didn't get to buy the Osaka tourist pass and Kansai tourist pass hehe! 

Since transportation can get pretty steep in Japan (a bus ride is around 200-230 yen, which is at least P100 while subway rides cost from 180 yen and up! And when I say up, our airport ride from our hotel is 900 yen, that's P450 pesos *gasp!) So it is really best to plan your itinerary ahead so you can also buy the passes in advanced and save a lot of money :)

Hope you learned a thing or two travel hacks :) Traveling need not be expensive, you can be practical and still have a lot of meaningful and fun memories!

Next post will be about Mount Kobe, our favorite!


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