Japan 2013: Day 6 Next Up – Kyoto! Part 4

DAY 6 (CON’T)

After a short rest in my cosy cabin, left First Cabin at around 640pm to head to Eikando Temple (which I passed by earlier) for the evening autumn illumination. As per Japan Guide – Eikando is well known for its autumn colours and evening illuminations. Thus penciled in the evening illumination as a must-visit. As I took a bread earlier in the cabin (bought at the subway station), decided to head straight to Eikando first before having dinner as the last entry time for the illumination is at 830pm.

As much as I had the bus map with me, I wasn’t able to locate the correct bus-stop, and had to ask around for directions. Basically I asked 2 passer-bys and it seems like they are also tourists like myself (or non-Kyoto locals). After a bit of walking,  2 streets later, finally manage to find the correct bus-stop to board Bus No. 5 …… as a result of being at the wrong bus stop, I missed the 1903 Hrs bus by a inch, and had to wait another 10 min for the next bus to arrive :S

About 20 min later, reached the Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop. The surrounding was totally pitch-dark like this ……

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From the photo, one would not be able to see the walking path that leads to Eikando. And the lack of lighting along the street doesn’t help either. However given that November is the peak tourist season in Kyoto, majority who got down with me at the same bus-stop area all heading in the same direction …… to Eikando. So it was comforting to have company in the pitch dark walk right to Eikando 😛

Reached after a pitch dark walk which took around 10 minutes. The night time illumination entrance fee (600 JPY) is cheaper than daytime, hmm ……

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The walkway and entrance and surrounding trees brightly lit up by spot lights ……

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More lit up trees and passed by one of the temple buildings ……

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Continuing on the brightly lit walk. The spotlights do give the trees a different ‘flavour’ at night ……

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This should be the Shakado (Hall of the historical Buddlha) with a small rock garden in front of it. No chance to explore the building/hall itself as it is closed (at night).

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Continued the walk up (as the temple was built on a hillside) ……

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This area is probably where the Tahoto Pagoda is. Everything is dark except for the trees 😛 ….. So did not get to climb up to the lookout spot where you can get a view of Kyoto city. I would think the temple would look entirely different in the daytime though ……

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Finally the main highlight of the entire illumination – Hojo Pond and the surrounding garden beautifully lit up!

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Walked 1 round to the other side where the bridge starts ……

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And one last picture to end off my visit to Eikando.

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Verdict – the whole walk around the temple grounds and the illuminated areas took about 40 to 45 min. As the temple buildings were closed, my conclusion was that the illumination was more to view and enjoy the autumn colours from the different perspective. Rather than being colourful (as in the daytime), the surroundings give off more of an air of mystery in the nightime!

It was around 830pm as I walked out the same dark path back to the bus stop where it is another long wait for Bus 5 (the only bus at the bus stop). Chatted briefly with this American who was asking for directions back to Kyoto Station. Basically told him that Bus 5 was the only bus that goes back to Kyoto Station 😛 …… Feels nice talking to an English speaker and being able to offer some help in a way or another.

As I have yet to take my dinner, decided to get off 1/2way (based on the bus guide) and change another bus service to get to Gion, and from Gion walk to Pontocho for some old school Kyoto dining. Got off the bus and somehow, the street is a bit too quiet to be Gion, hmm ……

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Did spot the Gion-Shijo Station which means I am indeed in Gion and also managed to see the canal (based on the directions given by a passer by to keep walking straight). Thought the lanes next to the canal were indeed Pontocho, and so walked in. Found it too quiet and full of bounchers, so my instinct tells me it is probably not the right street, sigh ……

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So walked out of the funny lane and back onto the main road again. It was already 930pm and since I decided to give up finding Pontocho, needed to find a place to have dinner next as my stomach was rumbling. Had wanted to walk back to the Gion-Shijio station area where I had spotted this western restaurant earlier but changed my mind about it as I was probably more keen on having Japanese food (rather than Western) since I was in Kyoto – the traditional capital of Japan 😛

Until I spotted Ringer Hut. Since it was a Nagasaki-based noodle chain that serves champon (a Nagasaki style noodle dish with lots of vegetables) – it is considered Japanese food yeah 😛 …… Anyway my stomach is really calling out for food so decided to just walk in and take a seat.

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Got a champon with dumpling set for dinner. There was also a promo for Asahi Beer so top-up 290 JPY for a glass of beer as well to cool down after all that walking 😛

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Concluding notes of my dinner – Champon is really not my cup of tea as there were too many vegetables. While the Asahi was too dry for my liking (as versus the much smoother Suntory Premium Malt). If not for the dumplings, it would have been a very miserable dinner. Thinking about it now, I walked in because I was attracted by the oyster laden champon displayed right at the shop window. Why didn’t I eat that instead!!!!

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2 thoughts on “Japan 2013: Day 6 Next Up – Kyoto! Part 4

  1. Wow, the evening autumn illumination is so beautiful, I hope I’ll get a chance to go and see it in person for myself someday. Sorry to hear the champon at Ringer Hut wasn’t very good. That’s one of the few chain restaurants in Japan I have yet to try, I was always curious to give it a try. But maybe not so much now lol.

    • I think it was more of because I’m not a vegetable lover more than anything else + did not order the oyster one. But the gyoza did make the meal more palatable so it’s fine 🙂

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