For years, I had dreamed of visiting the famous city of Kyoto, which was once the capital of Japan. On this trip, I finally got that chance. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong time of year. It was really, really hot in Kyoto this August. It felt like a million degrees. At one point, it started getting dark, and it felt like it was cooling down a bit. I checked a weather app on my phone and it said “99 degrees Fahrenheit. Feels like 137 degrees.” No wonder we almost melted.
Despite the heat, I really enjoyed Kyoto. In particular, I loved seeing a million of each of these items below. (Ok, well, I didn’t count. But they seemed like a million!)
A Million Bamboo Trees: The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is like no other place I’ve been. I felt very small!
A Million Orange Shrines: At Fushimi Inari Shrine, visitors can walk through thousands of torii gates. These beautiful structures are used in the Shinto religion, and they follow a long trail up a mountain. I didn’t make it to the top (remember, it was a million degrees out), but still enjoyed a short hike.
A Million Paper Cranes: While visiting a little shrine just off a shopping street, I saw many paper cranes! This looks like a million, right?
A Million Lights: I read online that it’s possible to visit the roof of the Kyoto Train Station. I didn’t know what to expect but followed the signs up escalator after escalator, until we saw this. A huge staircase lit up with images! We even went back the next night to walk the “sky walk.” It was very high up, and the view was impressive.
In the end, I know that I only saw a small fraction of the sights in Kyoto. My Japanese teacher friend, Omi Sensei, went there with her students on a class trip in June, and she brought our friends Tofu San and Flat Hawk. The students took them around and they get credit for all of these wonderful photos:
So, now I know that I need to go back to Kyoto some day, right? Flat Hawk and Tofu San have been to more Kyoto sights than I have!
Before closing out this post, I want to share something special we saw on our last night in Kyoto. It reminded me of the dancing fountains we saw in Dubai, but these water droplets were lit up in a million colors. Or something like that 🙂
It is a dream of mine to visit this place too. What a fantastic trip you have taken and I really enjoyed the pictures you posted. On a tangent, I was curious how you were able to use your phone in Japan. Do you have any advice as how to obtain data/access to the internet on your phone? I know I will need it for directions…
I have Verizon so I was able to call them before the trip and pay a little extra for some international data and calls (I think something like $25 for 100 MB, 100 minutes of call time, and some texts). Also some of the AirBnB places we stayed in had this Pocket Wifi thing, so that meant that we had wifi all the time, which was awesome! Thanks for checking out my blog 🙂
Oh, wow! I have heard of the Pocket Wifi, didn’t know that it literally worked wherever you went. I am glad AirBnB is an option there, I was looking into that also. Thank you so much for all the help! Happy travels 🙂
Kyoto looks amazing! I’m not surprised it was once the capital of Japan, I wonder why it no longer is?
The bamboo trees, the shrines, and the paper cranes are all so cool! I wonder what the shrines symbolize in the Shinto religion? Also, I noticed that the paper cranes were grouped into small collections. Do you think there was a thousand in each one?
The views from the Kyoto Train Station and the sky walk were great too! The lights on the stairs were cute, especially the panda and the sweet message at the end. Japan is truly dedicated to making its citizens as happy as possible 🙂
Hope you return to Kyoto one day!