Day 8 in Japan saw me arriving in Kyoto, visiting the cherry blossom filled Kiyomizu-dera Temple, watching geishas perform and eating in Pontocho Alley.
Day 8 in Kyoto started with our first bullet train, which took us from Hakone to Kyoto. The city was once the capital city of Japan and is the home of several Buddhist temples, Shinto temples and also wooden houses which are hundreds of years old.
Bullet train to Kyoto
We took our first bullet train from Hakone to Kyoto, also known as the shinkansen. The journey took about an hour and a half. As it was so early in the morning, we stopped off to find a bento box at the station. I am vegetarian so this was near enough impossible so I settled for a bottled hot chocolate, some cookies and a salad. Yes I did end up getting a stomach ache by the time I finished the train journey.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the independent Buddhist temples in Kyoto and is a historic UNESCO site. On arrival, we bought our tickets and then proceeded to walk around the temple. As it was the height of cherry blossom season, it was really busy with countless girls in kimonos getting their photos taken against the historic floral backdrop.
The temple was absolutely beautiful and the surrounding gardens were breathtaking. We did a rather fast stroll of the temple as we were trying to make it to the cultural show but I could have easily spent a day in there.
Next, we went to see a cultural show in Kyoto, otherwise known as a Maiko Show. We had tickets as part of the tour package but we still had to get there early as it is usually standing room only. I was also one of the chosen ones to take part in the tea ceremony which was fascinating to watch. We drank matcha tea and also had a traditional Japanese biscuit too.
The show was amazing. We had the chance to see a Japanese comedy sketch. a puppet show as a well as seeing some geishas perform their traditional dance.
We finished off our day with a trip to Pontocho Alley which has countless fine dining restaurants to try the most elite of Japanese cooking. The whole surrounding area was buzzing and it was incredible to see the range of food on offer. I loved peeking into the windows into some of the restaurants which had just two seats but an abundance of food.
My first day in Kyoto was incredible and I went to sleep, excited for what the next day would bring.