One Day Trip in Kyoto via KKday
To unwind from the stresses of life and reward self for the hard work put in, a lot of Filipinos choose to travel out of the country every once in a while. To experience different cultures and traditions, one of the places frequently visited by Filipino tourists is Japan.
Now that AirAsia already has in the past months mounted flights to Osaka–the airline’s eighth international destination–more Filipinos can now explore the land of the Rising Sun. AirAsia, in partnership with KKday, recently hosted a familiarization tour to Osaka, Japan—the international gateway to connect to other destinations such as Nara and Kyoto. Those invited came from a mix of print media and travel bloggers. Fortunately, Team Out of Town was part of it.
Since some of the participants were no longer first-timers, holiday expert KKday decided to just sponsor a coaster for us. By having our own coaster and an English-speaking tour guide, we were able to customize our tour itinerary. And unlike joining group tours, we had the liberty to extend time in certain tourist spots without ruining anyone’s schedule.
From the hotel where we stayed in, we were picked up by our KKday coaster. For our first stop, we visited Kinkaku-ji (also called the Golden Pavilion). It took about an hour and a half from Osaka before we reached the temple in Kyoto.
Officially named Rokuon-ji, Kinkaku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple one can visit in Kyoto. It is one of the most iconic sights in Japan, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Built overlooking a large pond, Kinkakuji is the what remains of the former retirement complex in Yoshimitsu. Throughout its history, it has burned down a number of times. These include once during the Onin War, a civil war which caused destruction in most of Kyoto; and another one in 1950 when it was set on fire by a religious monk. It was then rebuilt in 1955. The admission fee is only 400 yen.
From the Golden Pavilion, we then proceeded to Yasaka Shrine. Also known as Gion Shrine, Yasaka Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in the Gion District of Kyoto, Japan. The shrine hosts several buildings, including its 360-year-old main hall and its photogenic gigantic red gate.
It was built in honor of Susanoo as its chief kami (god), with his eight offspring deities (yahashira no mikogami) on the west, and his consort Kushinadahime on the east. This religious spot is popular among pilgrims who wish to receive good fortune and health.
From Yasaka Shrine, we walked towards the famous Gion district. Situated along Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west, Gion is Kyoto’s most popular entertainment district dotted with restaurants, bars, shrines, shops, and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (geisha) and maiko (apprentices) can be found.
Its wooden machiya merchant houses, which were built with facades spanning only up to six meters wide, are some of what tourists in Gion check out.
After exploring Gion, we then headed over to Nishiki Market, a narrow, covered marketplace situated in downtown Kyoto. Lined by more than 100 shops and food stops, the market is said to be the place to go to for many of Kyoto’s famous delicious food.
Nishiki Market offers a wide array of fresh and preserved foods. These include different types of pickles, fresh grapefruit juice, yummy grilled meat, mochi, dumplings, sushi, and fish cakes. One can also find high-quality cookware, ceramic wares, condiments, and even souvenirs in the area.
After strolling around the 400-year-old market, our group then had lunch at one of the traditional udon restaurants inside the market. Unlike other markets, business at Nishiki does not start in the early hours of the day. It usually opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. And since it can become very crowded, it is best to visit as close to 10:00 am as possible or around lunchtime.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
For our final stop, we visited Fushimi Inari Taisha. Located in Fushimi-ku in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari-taisha is the head shrine of the kami (deity) Inari, who is not only the Shinto god of rice and agriculture, but is also deemed the patron of business by merchants and manufacturers in the area.
The shrine rests on the base of a mountain Inari which stands 764 feet above sea level. Its 4-kilometer long trail may take approximately 2-3 hours to traverse. The trail is also where Senbon Torii (which means “thousands of torii gates”), two parallel rows of orange gates donated by individuals and businesses through time, begins at the back of the shrine’s main grounds.
How to get to Osaka via AirAsia
Budget airline AirAsia offers daily flight services from Manila to Osaka through its website. Manila-Osaka flights are available for booking via this link and the AirAsia mobile app. Daily Manila to Osaka flights are set at around 8:30 am and take around 3 hours and 45 mins.