Let me just preface this post by saying that two days in Kyoto is definitely not enough. We had only about a week in Japan but didn’t want to stay in Tokyo the whole time, so we chose Kyoto for the last two days – mainly because I wanted to visit the deer park and see the bamboo forest. Nonetheless, here are a few things we got the chance to check out:
- Eat your way through Nishiki Market – we stupidly ate breakfast beforehand. That didn’t stop us from getting some freshly-made mochi though!
- Feed the monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama. Only through the fence, of course. These monkeys can be very aggressive so just make sure you only give them food from the feeding house, and not outside. You do have to hike up, which takes about 20 minutes. It’s not a difficult hike, but there is an incline.
- Get your shot for the ‘Gram at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Yup, it’s that super green bamboo forest you see all over Instagram. It looks better on the internet, to be honest but I still think it’s something you should check out once in your life.
- See the famous red gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha
- Have deer bow to you (and feed them) at Nara Park
- Admire the architecture of the Heian Jingu Shrine.
- Explore the grounds of Kyoto Imperial Palace – the palace used to be the residence of Japan’s royal family until 1968. It was actually closed on the day we went, due to some event, I believe. However, this did lead us to the Kyoto Imperial Park, where the palace was located in, and we got to see some cherry blossoms.
- See what is was like to live in Nijo Castle – this castle was built back in 1603 for the first Shogun of the Edo period. It was HUGE. I had no idea what to expect. I thought we would just snap a few pictures outside, and be done in half an hour. I was wrong. You get to walk through the castle, which took us an hour, and that’s only because we were rushing through it. We also didn’t make it to some of the gardens on the other side. That being said, if you are interested in checking out this castle, set aside half a day for a more leisurely visit.