Our second full day in Japan was SO fun! It started by waking up early (4 AM) to get check out of our hotel and get to the Tokyo station. From there we got on the Shinkansen (bullet train) and were off to Kyoto. At the station we bought a bento box with rice and katsu pork, and some chocolate treats. We ate those on the train and we were off. The Shinkansen is one of the fastest trains in the world and it was amazing to see so much of Japan. We passed Nagoya, Mt. Fuji, rural farm areas, the ocean, bays, mountains, and more. We saw rice fields and apartment buildings, big and small cities, it was all so wonderful.
We got to Kyoto about 9:00 AM and the second we got off the train WHAM it was packed. We got on another train to Inari, and we stood the way there. We got off the station at Inari and it was even MORE packed. We literally couldn’t walk because there were so many people. We got a bit lost and walked and walked and walked to our hotel, finally got there and dropped off our stuff, then headed back to the Inari Shrine.
On our way to the shrine, we passed a cool parade with drummers and horses and all kinds of things, all for Golden Week. It was really awesome, I loved it! There were tons and tons of people there for Golden Week, but a bit of hiking and we were pretty alone. The shrine is absolutely amazing, I was astounded by it. So many tori (or gates) all going up the mountain for miles and miles. It’s beautiful and peaceful and it took my breath away.
We passed little shrine areas with incense and prayers tied to trees. We bought some souvenirs and chatted with family, then hiked allll the way back down.
We saw tons of kimonos and spent SO much time trying to get good pictures, and just had a blast at the shrine.
We stopped and got some ice cream bars from the convenience store, then hopped back on a train to Kyoto. At the station we switched from a train to a bus which drove us around the city of Kyoto on the way to Kinkaku-ji. We saw all these beautiful thousand year old houses, shrines, temples, and castles. So much of Kyoto is preserved and it’s just beautiful to see some new buildings right next door to a thousand year old house and garden. I wish we’d had a little bit more time in Kyoto, it was just amazing!
We got to Kinkaku-ji and it was also insanely busy! It was also SO HOT there, so everyone seemed to be eating green tea ice cream which made me laugh. We got into the Golden Temple area and it blew me away! It’s crazy how old it is, and how beautiful the gold on the building is. I was just blown away with how long it’s been there and how beautiful it still looks! The temple sites on the most beautiful “pure” land which just adds to how amazing it is there.
We spent some time there taking pictures and marveling, then it was back on the bus to pass some more castles, shrines, and homes.
We got back to the station and were starving, so we decided to find a place for lunch. Randy spotted a place that had okonomiyaki, and we had to stop! It’s like a veggie and meat pancake which sounds gross, but it was SO good. The sauce is SO amazing and I was just obsessed with it. We also got a yakisoba which was amazing, and it was all cooked on this grill right in our table.
We got back on a train for Inari and walked around the city, and happened to catch another parade with the CUTEST little kids chanting and amazing drums!
We checked into our hotel and said we’d rest for a bit, it was about 5:00 so we watched a little Netflix and then somehow, we fell asleep. We didn’t wake back up until 8:00 when we debated going to get dinner. While we were talking about it…we fell back asleep! We woke up again at 9:30 just barely, and managed to brush our teeth and crawl back into bed! The jet lag had caught up with us and we were DYING! I was a little sad we slept so long, but it was SO worth it the next day because we were so rested.