Temples, Matcha, and Bamboo Pathways: My Kyoto Bus Tour Experience via KKday

Japanese Tourists wearing traditional Kimono
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Kyoto Bus Tour from Osaka via KKday

I was in Osaka, Japan a while back and as it neared my third day of stay, I decided to book a Kyoto Bus Tour from Osaka via KKday. I have long wanted to revisit the neighboring historical Kyoto, and the bus tour was the perfect opportunity to fully appreciate this major city in the Kansai Region of Japan.

Fushimi Inari-taisha
Fushimi Inari-taisha

Kyoto has three major temples, namely: Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kinkaku-ji, and Kiyomizu Temple, and I wanted to see them all, including some other tourist attractions in the city. I knew that Kyoto—and the entirety of Japan, actually—has a very efficient public transportation system, but I still chose KKday because the payment and booking process is seamless, they are a known and trusted brand, and I know that I will save a lot of time in visiting all of the places in my list within the day.

Meet up

Kyoto Bus Tour Guide via KKday
Kyoto Bus Tour Guide via KKday
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I arrived at the lobby of Hearton Hotel Nishiumeda in time to meet up with the other participants of the tour I booked. Our bus left at exactly 8:30 AM. We had a long and exciting day ahead of us.

First stop: Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

It took us a little over an hour from our rendezvous point in Hearton Hotel to reach our first stop for the morning, Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Souvenir Shops and Food Kiosks outside Fushimi Inari
Souvenir Shops and Food Kiosks outside Fushimi Inari
temizu water fountain
temizu water fountain
Fushimi Inari Temple Entrance
Fushimi Inari Temple Entrance

This temple is reputedly the most important shrine which was built to honor Inari, the Shinto god of rice. And because foxes are believed to be Inari’s primary messengers, there were countless fox stone statues, sculptures, and other fox-themed decorations scattered delicately around the temple grounds.

Red Bridge inside Fushimi Inari Shrine Complex
Red Bridge inside Fushimi Inari Shrine Complex
Walking around Fushimi Inari Shrine
Walking around Fushimi Inari Shrine
Near the Torii Gates
Near the Torii Gates

This temple, located at the southern part of Kyoto, is known for its Senbon Torii pathways that lead to the stunning forest of Mount Inari. The torii (Japanese gates) are donated by individuals and companies, and the name of the donor and the date of their kind gesture is written at the back of each gate. There were over 4,000 lined up torii gates in total.

Torii Gates in Kyoto
Torii Gates in Kyoto
Selfie at Fushimi Inari Torii Gates
Selfie at Fushimi Inari Torii Gates
Fushimi Inari Fox
Fushimi Inari Fox

We had lots of fun hiking up the Senbon Torii pathway while spotting the Inari foxes.

There was no admission fee.

“Pure Water Temple”

Thirty minutes from Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which literally translates to “Pure Water Temple”. It was our second stop for the day.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Entrance
Kiyomizu-dera Temple Entrance
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Colorful Structures at Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Colorful Structures at Kiyomizu-dera Temple

What is so awesome about this temple complex is that there is so much to see: it has a pagoda, a renowned main hall and wooden stage, a waterfall, and countless cherry and maple trees.

The Main Hall in Kiyomizu-dera Temple
The Main Hall in Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The roof of the main hall was undergoing renovation, but we were still allowed to enter to catch a glimpse of the beauty of the temple. Our tour guide shared that the project had been going on for some time, and is due for completion just before Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Local tourists wearing Kimono
Local tourists wearing Kimono
Japanese Tourists wearing traditional Kimono
Japanese Tourists wearing traditional Kimono
Exit from the Main Hall
Exit from the Main Hall

After the main hall, we proceeded to Jishu Shrine, which was just behind it. This one is dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. Our guide told us that finding your way from one end of the shrine to the other end with your eyes closed will bring you good luck in finding love. We were all too shy to try it for ourselves, lest that they will make fun of us for being loveless. Sigh. But we sure were praying hard!

Baizando Lunch
Baizando Lunch

Our hungry hearts and hungry tummies headed straight to Baizando for our lunch. There are a bunch of these restaurants in the temple complex, but the one near Zenkojido Hall was pre-selected based on our tour itinerary.

Baizando Udon Lunch
Baizando Udon Lunch

I had some very tasty udon. The broth was not too salty, and the noodles were cooked to perfection. My bowl was topped with crispy shrimp tempura. Yum!

They also served bean curd, vegetable tempura, and some umeboshi (sour plum) sauce to flavor our meal. We also had the chance to have unlimited cold matcha tea, which went really well with the slightly hot weather that noon.

The admission fee for Kiyomizu-dera Temple is at ¥ 400 (adults; the rate for children is ¥ 200), but the entrance fee, including my lunch at Baizando, was covered in my tour package.

A golden afternoon

After our beautiful and satiating lunch, we headed to Kinkaku-ji, a tourist attraction that will leave you stunned even from far away.

Kinkaku-ji entrance ticket
Kinkaku-ji entrance ticket
Marker at Kinkaku-ji Buddhist Temple
Marker at Kinkaku-ji Buddhist Temple

The Kinkaku-ji is a largely golden-colored temple, and the rays of the afternoon sun even made it brighter. The gold building was mirrored on the surface of the pond where it stood on.

Kinkaku-ji gate
Kinkaku-ji gate

The temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the 15th century and was part of a massive complex that served as the retirement villa of Yoshimitsu, one of historical Japan’s shoguns. According to our tour guide, the temple’s extravagant decorations reflected the economic prosperity of the shogun’s reign during that era.

The Golden Pavilion
The Golden Pavilion

They do not allow visitors to enter the main temple, but the windows were kept open for us to see its neat interior. A statue of Buddha and Yoshimitsu were on full display for everyone to see.

Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Pavilion) Buddhist Temple
Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Pavilion) Buddhist Temple

A little after the temple is the Anmintaku Pond, which is said to never dry up, a bountiful and sprawling garden, and a group of statues where we threw coins for good luck and fortune.

Entrance fee costs ¥ 400 for adults and ¥ 300 for children.

Bamboo pathways

We traveled steadily for a good 35 minutes after the golden temple and proceeded to Arashiyama, our last stop for the day. There is no admission fee here.

Entrance to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Entrance to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The sun was beginning to set and, in my opinion, it was the perfect time to visit the place. Arashiyama is the name that is used to call the places surrounding the base of Arashiyama Mountains, and the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most famous attractions here.

Rickshaw ride in Arashiyama
Rickshaw ride in Arashiyama
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto

It was a very otherworldly experience walking across the pathway that had hundreds or thousands of tall bamboo grass covering the sky. The wind was chilly, and even my Instagram post could not completely capture the splendor of the place.

Selfie at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Selfie at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Besides the bamboo grove, Arashiyama is known for its boat rentals along the Hozugawa (Hozu River). The activity becomes widely popular during springtime when the surface of the river is covered with the pink-and-white leaves of sakura trees.

Matcha Ice Cream Break
Matcha Ice Cream Break

We sadly did not have enough time to explore the rest of Arashiyama, but it would have been splendid to see the nearby Tenryu-ji Temple, Nison-in Temple, and maybe spend some time in the bath and spa complex Tenzan no Yu Onsen. But there is always a next time!

How to book your own Kyoto Bus tour

I would not have enjoyed my trip to Kyoto if it were not for KKday. Their tour package had everything I needed, and, depending on the package of your choice, they will arrange for your lunch and entrance fees. As a tourist with almost always limited time in traveling, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have these things prearranged prior to your trip. I had a great time and a seamless experience.

Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto

The bus was air-conditioned and comfy, and because I was traveling in a large group, I felt that I was secured and in good company, too! The tour guide spoke in English and was accommodating throughout the entire trip. I could not ask for more.

You may book your own Kyoto bus tour via https://www.kkday.com/.

Also Read: Top 15 Places to Visit in Kyoto Japan

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