How we used Kyoto as a base to explore Kansai

During my 10-day trip to Japan last October, my mom and I spent 6 days in the Kansai region and visited Kyoto, Fushimi-Inari shrine, Uji, Nara and Osaka.

Since we wanted to see many sites in Kyoto as well as the Jidai Matsuri, we used Kyoto as a base and took day trips to the other Kansai cities. But if you are more of a city person, you’d probably like staying in Osaka better than Kyoto.

Our itinerary was like this:

Day 1: Arrive in Kyoto
Day 2: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari – Uji – Nara – Kyoto [Kansai Thru Pass]
Day 3: Kyoto
Day 4: Kyoto – Osaka – Kyoto [Kansai Thru Pass]
Day 5: Kyoto – Nara -Kyoto [JR]
Day 6: Kyoto (Jidai matsuri)

My mom and I are temple, old building lovers so three days in Kyoto was fine. (Although we did spend a large part of our last day napping in the public bus.)

Continue reading “How we used Kyoto as a base to explore Kansai”

Stayed: Capsule Ryokan Kyoto

My mom and I stayed at Capsule Ryokan Kyoto for 7 nights during our 10-day trip to Japan in late-October.

This is my second time in Kyoto, during the last trip, my friends and I stayed at a hostel where the sheets smelled like the last occupant. I decided to switch accomodation this time.

After trusting my guts, I booked the Ryokan Ensuite at Capsule Ryokan Kyoto. The room includes two futon, a fancy space shower and a toilet cubicle right next to the entrance. It is really amazing how they manage to save space.

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Mom and I stuffed our luggage under our bed. We kept the futon rolled up when not sleeping to watch TV, do book keeping, eat rice balls.

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We reached Kyoto at 6am as we came on a night bus. The hotel officially opens at 10am so we hung around the station. While it opens at 10am, we could only shift in at 3pm so we kept our luggage and went off.

The lady at the counter spoke perfect English, in case anyone is worried.

Nishi Honwanji (西本願寺) is just around the corner of the ryokan so that makes it a great first place to go.

Price
7,980yen per night for two persons. Not a bad price for Kyoto. 

Location
The ryokan is indeed within walking distance to Kyoto Station but I would rather take the bus. If you bought the 500yen Kyoto bus pass, take the buses that stop at Shichi-jo-Horikawa (七条堀川), the ryokan is just nearby.

The location is good for sightseeing sites and there’s a direct bus to Gion area.

Internet
Internet connection is one of the most important criteria for me when choosing a hotel. This place does have Internet, but Wi-Fi connection is limited to the ground floor. Inside our room, we have a LAN socket (they have LAN cables).

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While I brought a netbook, there are things that felt better on the phone. During the nights when I update Facebook/mobile blog/check my horoscope on my iPhone, there was a family of what I guess are Brazilian-Japanese folks having dinner, being merry. I’m not the sort to mingle quickly with people so I kept to myself all the time.

Laundry
There is also some washing machines and one dryer at the fire escape landing. If all machines are full, there is a self-service launderette opposite the ryokan which charges a few hundred yen more.

If I go back to Kyoto, I would like to stay there again. But since the New York Times covered it, I seriously doubt whether I can get a room.

 

 

 

To Ōsaka

On rapid train (not shinkansen) to Osaka, the land of food and comedians. I am now wearing a pair of carrot orange tights which I bought last night at Uniqlo for 100 yen from the bargain bin. I suspect it’s too gaudy to be sold at regular price.

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Looking around the train, most people are wearing black tights. The only colored pair is wine red worn by an old lady.
The train supposedly will take 50 minutes to reach Osaka. That’s a lot of time to spare.

 

Day 3: Fushimi Inari, Uji, Nara

Busy busy day. Woke up really late at 9.30am plus.

Using our Kansai Through Pass, we took the train to Fushimi Inari to see the torii.

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Mom and I gave up halfway climbing the hill and headed to Uji.

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Also did a fortune telling thingy. Make a wish, and lift the rock. If it's light, your wish will come true.
My wish will take a hard time to come true. Whatever!
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Finally visited the Genji Monogatari Museum. Forgot to bring my camera along to the gallery so here's a photo of the Uji River.
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Then off to Nara. It was quite late so we didn't visit any attractions. Went for onsen. Nice! Here's a photo of Nara's bus.
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