My inner child couldn't be happier with the fact that I've been to Japan. After all it's indeed one of my "must go to trips" during my younger years. The places we saw were unbelievable as was the kindness of people in there. Barely 1 out of 10 could understand or speak English, but when you ask for help they are unhesitant to assist. And so this was the start of our trip there, or at least the first part.
I started off with arriving in Japan alone, but with the great help of Eena and planning where to go, I started my journey. Hopping over on 2 trains and almost getting off at the wrong station, I still got to our place way too early, which lead me to get lost at the Den Den Town. Well, it turned out to be less fun than I originally thought it would be. Just some shops and grocery stores, but yeah not my kind of things. Although there were a couple stores in there that caught my eye, games and toys.
The second day, and probably the most unforgettable one started not too early.
We started off at the train station again going to even a bigger one. It wasn't easy to find a way through all the corners and gates but we managed to ask for help and found it.
Destination for second day: Kyoto!
Our first stop was the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. From the station we walked through just what I can describe as a local town. Turning to each corners, seeing houses and shrines, even that walk alone was satisfyingly beautiful. Because of that walk we did not even notice that the forest was just there already.
A food stand with snacks, drinks, and other Japanese food that you're craving for right now are just all standing next to the Bamboo Forest. Of course, we couldn't just go in without trying at least something, so we ate the Japanese Karaage in a cup. It was delicious and a perfect snack to start the walk.
Besides the bamboos that will welcome you inside the forest, you'll also be able to see tourists and even people riding a cart with other people acting like a chariot. Surprisingly, the forest trip is shorter than you would think, say maybe after 30 minutes to an hour, you are easily done roaming around and has seen everything there already. But then again, it is truly worth the visit and amazing to encounter with.
Moving on to the next stop: Kinkaku-ji Temple or what they say as the Japanese Golden Temple
We took a cab from the forest and later on arrived at the breathtaking Kinkaku-ji Temple. Again we took a snack (lol), we ate one good green tea soft ice cream (during a winter time and Eena's advise is to really go eat ice cream during winter season), which was amazing, I wish there's that flavour here in Belgium too.
Moving on from that ice craze...
We did a walk around the temple, squeezed a bit into the crowd and took some photographs as well. And take my word for it, this is one of the most surprising destinations that we have been to, the reason was that the Golden Temple exceeded our expectations. Kinkaku-ji is definitely one of those places that will leave your whole being so fulfilled, words and photographs are simply not enough to describe its overall beauty. It is a moment where you stand still and just admire the time being there. At the end of the tour, you could also make a wish, which was what Eena did.
Next part of our day was the Fushimi Inari Taisha. Let me start here to say that we didn't make it to the top, we did a good part of it but it was a bit too much stairs. When you go out of the station you will immediately see the gates already. If you miss it by any chance then I suggest you strengthen your eye glasses a grade or 10 (kidding).
Aside from that, I think most people go to see the gates, which are not too high the further you get. It's for me a must go to if you are ever in there. If you walk up, you will also be able to encounter Geishas or tourists dressed like one. It's actually a good cultural encounter, Eena loved the Geishas more than the place itself at some point I think.
What we have also loved is Fushimi Inari Taisha is more than just the gates. Going out of the place you will see the start of a little side street and once you see that, you're in for a one perfect treat, because it is a food haven! Each corner you'll see street vendors making the best snacks and street food that you can imagine, crab sticks, Takoyaki, Karaage, and many many more! I loved it so much that I even tried around 5 or more different things while walking a single street.
After snacking "again" we continued our food adventure to Dotonbori. This is one of the craziest places I have ever seen. So much people, you could lose one another by just a second (coming from Belgium, this is definitely new for me). So we stayed close and made our way through the people and witnessed them just enjoying a performance of a singer/group that we don't even know. But of course, we stayed for a minute or two to listen. It's just wonderful to see the happiness of the people, it feels like everything's always in order when that happens.
And yes, for me, it wouldn't be Asia if there wasn't a ton of restaurants. So we looked and got hungry again so we decided to go and eat SUSHIIIIIII. I love sushi so much, it's a shame it has to be so expensive to where I'm from, so every chance I get in an Asian country I eat sushi.
The restaurant we ate at was actually not the best, even though I loved it, it was way too expensive again. It could have been the prices of a restaurant in Europe. But besides that it wasn't bad, not the best I've had (not even by far) but not the worse as well.
We then decided to walk after dinner to the station and get back to call it a day well spent. This is just the first part of our trip in Japan, so, stay tuned for part 2 through Eena's eyes.