Exploring Japan: Kyoto, Nara & Osaka

Three weeks ago, I sat on a plane for 12 hours straight, watched 3 movies and 6 TV shows front-to-back, landed in a +7h timezone, sat through a 3h train ride on a train going 300km/h before arriving at the destination, 9’455km away from home — but it was worth it.

So on May 11th, two friends and I got on a plane bound for Tokyo, Japan. But that was not our actual destination, we planned to spend the first week of our two-week holiday in-and-around Kyoto, one of the most culturally diverse cities in Japan.

Outside Kyoto’s Imperial Palace. Unfortunatelly it was application only and not open to the public.

The Ninomaru Palace inside the Nijo Castle.

On our way to the Iwatayama Monkey Park, we took a quick break to eat our sandwiches when I snapped this photo next to the Katsura river.

A Japanese macaque (Snow Monkey) in the Iwatayama Monkey Park. There were signs reading that you shouldn’t stare at the monkeys, but they didn’t seem to care about people taking photos.

Side streets in the Gion district, on our way to the Kiyomizudera temple.
The Koyasu Pagoda opposite the Kiyomizudera temple.

Probably the most cliché photo I took: The Torii Gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. We also hiked up Mt. Inari (233m above sea level) for 2 hours to be disappointed with the view over Kyoto (which was non-existant). At least there was a vending machine with cool drinks.

Our first day trip from Kyoto: Nara. There are wild deers roaming freely around the Nara Park which you can feed with special cookies.

Back in Kyoto. The Nishiki food market offering fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and a lot of souveniers.

Probably the most famous attraction in Kyoto: The Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion).

Another day trip, this time to Osaka. We went to the Osaka Aquarium. Here’s a Jellyfish, which did not quite move as fast as the fishes (and made them hard to photograph). Also, the ferris wheel in the Osaka bay area.

And that’s about it from Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. I hope you like the photos I’ve picked! For those interested, there are more photos available in this album on Flickr.

Next up… Tokyo and Mt. Fuji.

Originally published on my old blog, on June 1, 2014.