The first time we visited Kyoto we fell in love, and this second chance was the time to discover if our love was one of those at first sight that vanish quickly after the glow goes away, or in the contrary will evolve into a more profound relationship. In advance and to avoid any anticipation: it was the second.
You may be thinking, what is this crazy talking I have today with this post? Knowing that Kyoto was the most representative stop in our honeymoon will maybe explain it all. For this second trip we knew that somehow we had to squeeze a little stop in Kyoto (2 nights), and although we had most of the main highlights covered we still were missing some parts in the west like the popular Arashiyama (which we are going to share in a following post) and were also eager to walk around Gion & the river for a second time and eat at a some of its delicious izakaya.
We have already given this tip before, but since I think it won’t hurt to mention again here it goes: We think that the best part to stay in Kyoto is Gion. Usually guides praise the station because it helps with the bus transfers, but in our book nothing beats being able to enjoy Gion the first thing in the morning, when almost only locals are there, and also at night while being 5 minutes walking distance from your bed. Want to see how it looks like at those hours of the day? Walk with us!
During the early afternoon we had a revitalizing tea with cakes at the Yojiya Café. Thanks to our obsession on reading as many blogs’ posts and seeing as many videos as possible during any trip planning stage (I do enjoy planning a lot!), we learnt that this café had a famous matcha latte & pastries that we shouldn’t miss for anything. The location was quite perfect for our day endeavours, and although the entrace may be a little hidden in a second floor, this doesn’t stop its popularity with locals. We were lucky that it was a weird hour to be in a café, but when we left we saw a queue waiting outside.
We recommend climbing down to the riverside if the weather is nice enough, going north you will be able to experience the Kamo River atmosphere while walking towards one of the entrances of Pontocho street, a must in every Gion tour. A part from couples, kiddos and groups of friends, we stumbled upon a live music group and a man with his rabbit pet.
After our yummy octopus skew we still had room for more food and went to Kappa, an izakaya that has the water legend monster Kappa as its mascot, how can anyone go wrong with that name, right? *wink* Don’t look for anything fancy here but good food made out of super fresh ingredients in the most izakaya-looking place. We had the feeling we were just in one of those Midnight Stories (from Netflix) having dinner next to one too drunk elderly man and the most curious couple next to us. Do you also like eavesdropping when sharing tables? I can’t resist!
Hope our love for Kyoto shows in these pictures and that you enjoy the Gion & River walk! We will be back with Arashiyama, be prepared for (more) river, bamboo and monkeys!
Tokyo – Part I: Shinjuku & Harajuku
Tokyo – DisneySea
Hakone and the Takuminoyado Yoshimatsu onsen
Osaka – Part I: Osaka Castle, Umeda views and Dotonbori at night
Himeji Castle (& the Hello Kitty café)
Osaka – Part II: Dotonbori, Namba temple and Den Den Town