Things to Do: Kyoto for Romantics

12:47 AM

Not too far beneath my spiked and studded outer shell, is the squishy flesh of a die-hard romantic. And I don't mean like melodramatic romance like that Twilight series or Degrassi, but stuff with a complete romantic aesthetic. Like the movie Marie Antoinette. It's not really the love between her and Louis, but the movie's entire aesthetic, from the set to music choices.

I think Kyoto is one of those places with a great romantic quality. Which, I guess, is why it's one of Japan's most famous and popular places to visit.
And in case you were wondering, there is no romance in Osaka. Just hobos, pain and suffering. I kidd! It's not that dark (started sounding like Gotham for a moment). But there are a LOT of hobos.

Anyway, this wasn't my first go-round in Kyoto. I came here on one of my first trips to Japan back in 2002 (almost 10 years ago OH SH*T I feel old...), but I've forgotten the names of places we visited. I DO remember one had nightingale floors. How boss is that..??

This time around, I didn't want to follow a tour guide or ride a bus. I just wanted some autumn trees and coffee really, a perhaps some good photo ops. Thank goodness Kyoto is full of all three of those things.

I was actually surprised at how close Kiyomizu-dera and that whole area (I think it's called the Gion District) is to the train station. Every time I've gone, I had taken a bus, so I had imagined that the distance was unmanageable. But it was actually easy, since there are no hills except for the main shopping/tourist area. From the station to Higashi Oji Dori is a flat, straight-sort-of, shot. I even made a little Google map for it, in case you'd like to go. Clicky clicky.

While we were at Kyoto Station (which is accessible by Kintestu or JR), there was a college orchestra there doing their Christmas recital in front of a huge Christmas tree. Unfortunately, I wasn't the Christmas spirit from them, so I just took a photo and we kept moving :X

The first temple you past on your way is Higashi Honganji Temple (wiki here). You can't miss it. The entrance is huuuuge. There's also a lot of English written around the building (and most of Kyoto actually), so don't be intimidated by the kanji :)
If you're following my shoddy little map from Google, you'll see a turn at Gojo Dori. If you keep following Gojo Dori, you'll eventually get to this river called Kamogawa. Another lovely photo op. In fact, it was so lovely, I'll prove it to you.

BOOM! Photo op taken.

Do I look cold?? Because it was actually pretty temperate and sunny that day, aside from the small "狐の嫁いりkitsune no youme iri"sun shower ;)

This is the 日本最初之宝塔(日本最初之寶塔)Nihon Saisho no Houtou taken behind some trees near the lavatory. That was almost romantic sounding until I got to the lavatory part.

I think one of the best things about Kyoto is that I can constantly throw Japanese history or kanji questions at Shota.Unfortuantely, he was a brat in school, so he didn't study much :P But we usually have fun talking about it either way..!
This was our main target for the day, everything else was just circumstantial sightseeing :). Maruyama Park, which was suggested by my father-in-law over dinner, is north of Kiyomizu-dera by quite a ways. It took a while for us to find it since it's not on most of the maps tacked onto buildings. But once you get to ねねの道 Nene no Michi, it should start coming up.

Maruyama park wasn't too crowded that day, so we were able to sit down and quietly eat our cold, cold lunch. From what the internet has said though, it's a popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) and celebrating New Years. I think it's a nice place to visit in autumn as well, and probably not as crowded at those other two occasions.

This park also had my favorite collection of trees and colors. :)

One of the main entrances to the park is connected to Yasaka Shrine, which is the home of Gion Festival (thanks wikipedia ;D). While we were walking through, snapping away, there was a wedding ceremony going on inside. See the people inside??

Near Yasaka Shrine was this fortune board based on names. Of course, it didn't have everyone's name, but you could probably get a similar reading, just slightly different kanji. Only 100 yen, so we picked one up and tied it to a tree. Hopefully this brings us some good luck for the new year..!
After that, we wandered down some side streets and secret pathways to get back to Nene no michi and Kiyomizudera. This corridor actually reminds me of Fatal Frame, which is not something I want to be thinking about right now at 2am D:

Luckily the secret pathways have nice signs so you don't get lost :)

We made it back to Kiyomizu-dera around 5:10, just in time for a little moon and sunset action. Pictured about: moon action. Below: sunset action.
Then we started our little walk back to Kyoto Station. It was crowded with a lot of people, stopping in front of store and restaurant fronts to oogle items even though the sidewalk is less than 150m in length >:[ I got angry at one person :'[

We wanted to grab something to eat in nice tourist area around Kiyomizudera, but we really wanted to eat some Chinese food, and couldn't find anything. Shota kept saying "Who goes to Kyoto and eats Chinese food??!" 
Apparently, we do :)

But we didn't leave Kyoto completely empty handed.
Tea cookies and One Piece birthday phone charms..! :D No, the OP charms don't even have a Kyoto theme, just our birthdays on theme.
I don't think we're very good tourists..

I hope you enjoyed this post about Kyoto. Maybe saw something you hadn't before, or giggled a little. :) I'd like to go back to other parts of Kyoto Prefecture, like Arashiyama, but my father-in-law told us that couples that go to Arashiyama break up. I have a feeling he went their with mum-in-law, and they are divorced. So that probably freaked Shota out from ever wanting to go D: Now I have to drag some other unwilling participant...

Anyway, questions, comments or concerns are always welcome..! 
Here's the music:

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