I arrived by train from Tokyo the day after Christmas. The Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train) leaves every 10 minutes from Tokyo station and is fast…AND VERY EXPENSIVE. It was $140 USD each way. However, it was absolutely the nicest train I’ve ever been on.
After a 2 hour, 15 minute train ride, I was in Kyoto! I stayed at the Kyoto Century Hotel which is right by Kyoto Station. It’s a very nice hotel with an awesome free breakfast bar.
Stations in Japan, unlike most stations in the US, actually have good food so there was lots to eat nearby. We did go a post-dinner mission to find plum wine (which is absolutely amazing if you have never had it before). A European lady with perfect Japanese walked us to the nearest grocery store and she and her Japanese SO found the plum wine for us which was so nice.
Things I visited on my two day trip:
Fushimi Inari-taisha – a mountainside shinto shrine that literally goes up a mountain with awesome orange gates. This visit took a few hours but it was only a 15 minute bus ride from Kyoto station. There’s lots of great street food at the foot at the mountain and before you go through the orange gates and you could walk all the way to the top of the mountain if you want. I walked off the path into the forest and found more shrines so that something you can do too!
Kenninji 建仁寺 – a shinto shrine
Shijo Street – a great place for shopping and eats! It’s a long stretch of stores both high end and for low-brow tastes. There was a great restaurant near Shijo Street that Jake and I ate at the first night. One that was very confusing because they did make us take our shoes off.
Kyoto has a ton of temples and shrines but admittedly, I was over the whole temple thing because I had seen so many already in the surrounding area of Tokyo and in Tokyo itself.