05.13.16

TRAVELING TO KYOTO, JAPAN

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

kyoto is a pretty magical place. tons of gardens, temples, traditional wooden houses, geishas, and misty green views. we took the bullet train from toyko (about 2 hours) and spent one night in kyoto…so happy we did! here’s what we did while we were there…

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

i LOVED the bullet train. it was like 200mph (one of the fastest trains in the world) and the best way to decompress. i have always loved just zoning out to some music in my ears and staring at all the scenery…it’s always pretty emotional for me. makes me feel grateful to see new sights and relaxes me. price wise, the bullet train isn’t very cheap (about $125 each way) but it was such an important part of our trip so i don’t regret it one bit. p.s. people told us to get the bento boxes on the train…let’s just say, i wouldn’t recommend that. slimy ha.

tip for the train: we were curious if we needed to book beforehand, but it was really easy to buy at the counter when you get to the station and trains were running very often (like every 10 mins!) so don’t worry about it.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

we stayed in a ryokan, which is a traditional japanese inn that usually offers tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and provide you with a yukata (a casual summer kimono made of cotton) the one we chose, and loved, was called , and it was only about a 2 minute walk from the yasaka shrine you will see below. are ryokans expensive? yeah, it’s kind of a splurge (we each spent about $180 to spend the night, but that also included the clothes and the traditional breakfast, and public baths) very worth it, i’m telling ya.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

SEE THE ENTIRE POST AFTER THE JUMP!…

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

we walked around the yasaka shrine and maruyama park while it slightly rained and it was perfect. it felt like a storybook.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

on our way to the market, we walked through , which had traditional tea houses and paper lanterns everywhere you look.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

i loved walking through the . do you wanna know what i found interesting about kyoto and tokyo? it’s very busy, but somehow never feels very hectic or unpleasant. not sure how they achieved that! major zen vibes. anyway, the market was about 5 blocks of food related stands. it was fun trying the samples and looking at all the packaging and food styling…and then green tea ice cream! i heard there is a restaurant called that is very good in that market.

and look how that tree below has wishes tied to it…

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

forever been a fan of japanese matchbooks and poster designs, so seeing some of these stickers in real life made me very happy.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

after tons of walking, we got back to the room and got a traditional massage (they remove the tables for the massage and when you sleep and set up futons and pillows on the ground) and we were offered matcha and bean paste desserts. jen acted like she thought we had to sleep in the closet ha.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

i really wanted to try a restaurant my friend recommended called , but sadly it was all booked (looks so pretty, so go and tell me how it was!) instead we went on the hunt for ramen and found one of our favorite meals of the trip. this family owned restaurant is called and their dumplings and ramen were out of this world. we had to wait a little bit, but not terrible. love that place!

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

the next morning they set up our room back from a row of four beds and into our breakfast table. they took about 30 minutes to set up what seemed like 100 vessels of soups, rice, porridge, pickles, fish, tofu, tea, etc. it was a beautiful experience. i really enjoyed watching the presentation and hospitality in japan…all the little wooden spoons and ornate bowls, and such care taken.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

downstairs there is a large wooden public bath. if you have been to the korean spa, it’s very similar. all naked. you shower off beforehand and then enjoy basically a large hot tub. there wasn’t anyone in there when we went in, but i know there are other bath houses in kyoto that are open late and much larger. i had my eyes opened to this in berlin, so i was very used to it!

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

there was a ceramic store across the street from where we were staying. my goal was to buy a mix and match set of sake cups so i spent quite a while in here deciding on the perfect ones. i really want to have a little dinner party to remember my japan trip!

loved seeing the geisha girls everywhere…

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

we stayed for another half day because there was still so much to explore. there was a tiny gift shop (right across from coffee shop below) that had the best gifts. embroidered patches and pins, hand towels…we all went a little wild in there.

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

we set out for morning coffee at , which felt like i was being transported to berlin or stockholm and had a killer latte. what a gorgeous coffee shop!

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

our last meal was at a place called . we all needed one meal that reminded us of home a little and this place was awesome. he made all our burgers right in front of us, i recommend this spot!

traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest
traveling to kyoto | designlovefest

i was worried that kyoto would be touristy, so it was a risk. but i actually didn’t feel like it felt that way. people did know more english, and all the cab drivers were so friendly, but if you stick to the areas i wrote here i don’t think you will think it was too touristy at all. it was a dream!

next up, tokyo part 2…and see toyko part 1 here, and hong kong here!

8 COMMENTS

Add your own

    nueyork says:

    These photos are beyond stunning! I have always wanted to visit Japan and this post has made me want to more so!

    HB says:

    Love the photos! I seriously was in kyoto about a week before you guys, and it’s crazy how we each saw completely different things. We saw quite a few different temples and shrines but it was way too touristy for me… too many people! I would probably do it the way you guys did next time!

    P.S We tried the salmon obento on our bullet train trip and it was TO DIE FOR! The pickled veggies are so good!

    Josie says:

    beautiful photos! thanks for sharing! where are you off to next? You always visit places I never even knew I wanted to travel to!

    Amanda! says:

    I’ve only been to Japan for a layover, didn’t leave the airport. We’ve been considering it for a honeymoon trip. We live in Indonesia so flights aren’t too bad, but the hotels and touristy spots are quite expensive when comparing to Indonesia. Your posts definitely make Japan look like it’s worth the expense!

    valton says:

    merci c’est superbe.j’ai très envie d’y aller et encore après avoir vu vos photos

    Bridget says:

    FYI – most “geisha” you see in Kyoto aren’t real – there are lots of places that, for a fee, will dress you up and take you out for a photoshoot. Real geisha are few, far between, and never out in broad daylight. Also it’s really disrespectful to take photos at cemeteries, but you’re gaijin so you get a pass.

    riss says:

    Love these Japan series! fyi you can buy Japan rail pass (JR Pass), it’s a bit on the expensive side ($350-400) but you can use it up to 7 days for unlimited Shinkansen ride. Quite a steal if you planned to go around Japan

    Susan Galvin says:

    Nice post with great Photography.

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