Kyoto 2015

There’s a lovely thing that happens when you travel alone; you are completely undistracted. You notice the strides of the locals walking beside you, your nose discovers new smells and leads you to wonderful places to fill your belly; you’re completely foreign in a place that many call home and that feeling while sometimes being scary, is exciting.

The streets of Kyoto were as clean and as zen as the shrines I visited. I was only there two nights and if you decide to visit the former Japanese capital city, I would recommend staying at least three nights.

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Accommodations

You must stay at a ryokan when visiting Kyoto. A ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn. They typically feature tatami-matted rooms (think seagrass carpeting), communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear a yukata (a Japanese robe not be confused with a kimono). Shoes are removed when walking within the inn and are replaced with what look like mittens for feet. Bedding is a futon spread out on the floor and while it may seem uncomfortable to sleep on the floor, I had some of the best sleep in my life while in Kyoto. Be advised, ryokans can be a little pricey but include meal packages and overall are a good value.

  • Ohanabo
    • 66-2 Shokuyacho, Shimojuzuyamachi Agaru, Akezudori, Shimogyo-ku | HigashihonganjiKyoto 600-8158Kyoto Prefecture (Kyoto Station)
    • $125/night in low season with shared bathroom; breakfast and dinner included

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Things to Do

You could spend your days circling the peaceful steps of the endless amounts of shrines and temples in Kyoto and that certainly wouldn’t be a bad way to spend your trip. There is a calming energy within Kyoto’s oxygen that just puts you at ease even when you feel a minor earthquake; I experienced a mini 4.0. Some of my favorites places were:

Heian-jingu Shrine

Kinkaku-ji Temple

Gion District

Kyoto Station Building

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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Eats

I enjoyed the majority of my meals at Ohanabo, but I did spend some time in Nishiki Market where I was able to sample some typical Kyoto street eats. One must eat is the dashimaki (omelet) made with kelp stock. You can find it at Miki Keiran. I also made my way to the Kyoto location of my favorite Japanese Ramen spot in New York City, Ippudo, which was right off the market trail.

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