DAY 8 (CON’T)
Crazy crowds as I left Kiyomizudera and walk downslope towards my next destination – Higashiyama.
There was a slight bottleneck on the walk down. Spotted this small little cafe selling green tea cream puffs. So decided to pop in for one to get away from the crowd, and also to check out the cream puffs + fill my stomach before lunch.
Look at the crowd of tourists standing outside the cafe 😛
Bought a green tea cream puff to try. The green tea cream is thick and fragant, and there is indeed a nice green tea flavour to the cream. Oishii!
Apart from cream puffs, the cafe also serves coffee and a wide array of matcha based desserts. Thought that I had no time for a quick cuppa as the plan was to quickly head to Higashiyama for lunch cum walk, but after seeing the awards displayed on the counter, I really regretted not trying out the coffee/latte. Next time ……
Spotted at a corner of the cafe this unique sweet. Got a box (4 bottles with different flavours such as green tea, earl grey) as gifts/omiyage. The feedback on the sweets (when I returned back to Singapore) was fantastic. Regretted not buying more (was mindful of carrying too much additional shopping bags onto the Shinkansen) ……
Continued my walk down and saw an udon shop selling duck udon but being mindful of the time and my plan to walk through Higashiyama, had to give duck udon a miss. Based on directions from Japan Guide …… I would need to walk to the Sannenzaka Stairs to get to Higashiyama’s famed historic districts, but ended up missing the path to it. Plus also having decided to skip visiting Kodaiji Temple (already 1 plus, no lunch + need to go Nishiki Market and get back to First Cabin by 245pm latest) …… I ended back at the bus stop where I came from, and took a bus back to Shijo Street.
Back at Nishiki Market again. As it was a Thursday, and after lunchtime (2pm), more stalls were open and there were more people as well. This time round, saw a few other shops that I did not manage to see the day before (as they were closed). Spotted a shop selling slippers and a shop specialised in selling eel!
Went back to the same sushi shop I saw yesterday, packed some sushi (to eat on the train/dinner/supper), got an omiyage for N, and left Nishiki. Wanted to eat have a nabe (hotpot) lunch at this restaurant right outside the market, only to be told that it is not available. After not finding anything else to eat around the area, and since I had the sushi as back-up, continued my way back to First Cabin to pick up my luggage …… but not before attempting to take a shortcut from Shijo and getting slightly lost amongst the various blocks of streets ……
Attempted to get on the City Bus (as I have gotten the day pass) but it was too crowded, so took a subway ride back to Kyoto Station. Reached Kyoto Station around 310/315pm …… and even had a bit of time to walk through the food hall at Isetan before heading to the Shinkansen platform for the ride back to Tokyo.
Last moments at the Kyoto Station platform (with Hotel Granvia Kyoto in the background), waiting for my Shinkansen. Was glad that I emphasized ‘quality over quantity’ (mainly by cutting down on the number of attractions/temples as stated in the original Japan Guide itineraries) for the 3 days 2 nights spent in Kyoto. Given the sheer size,history and number of attractions (many temples and historical artefacts) …… it is quite impossible to cover ALL, and streamlining to the places you really want to visit (e.g. Kiyomizudera which one should not miss ever) makes a lot more sense ……
Having more time to cover 1 place in greater detail has definitely allowed me to appreciate the beautiful scenery and the traditional feel of Kyoto (makes you feel you are back in old Japan,as versus to the busy-ness and modern-ness of Tokyo). Despite having difficulty navigating the bus system and finding places for the past 2 days, just as I am getting used to it, its time to leave! Now I understand why many would rank Kyoto (and Kansai region in general) as one of their favourite cities/places to go in Japan, having experienced it myself first hand. Will be back soon 🙂
This time round, I was well awake, and so enjoyed a super duper late lunch (4-plus) or rather early dinner on the shinkansen …… and also caught up on Appa Odiga episodes on my iPad.
My appetizer – Kobe Croquette bought at Isetan Food Hall (Kyoto Station). This is one of the best croquettes I ever had, the potato was so smooth.
Unravelling the sushi that I bought earlier at Nishiki Market. One small pack of Kyoto’s leaf sushi (mackerel) and 1 huge pack of Kyoto style sushi. The big pack cost 550 JPY only …… very value for money. Was very happy with my choice as the similar sushi at Isetan Food Hall looked much smaller (in size) and the fish seemed less fresh than the one at Nishiki Market that I bought. In either way, I realised that packing food from the food halls/market (to eat on the shinkansen ride) is always a better option than getting the train station ekibens due to more competitive pricing and superior quality.
Despite managing to reserve a window seat, no chance to catch a shot of Mount Fuji at sunset on the ride back into Tokyo as the sky rapidly darkened close to 5pm while less than 1/2 way into the journey ……