The Sakura train had 5 stops scheduled for the day. Speaking of trains, since I was only in Japan for 5 days, I packed in as much destinations as possible. In order to do that, I needed to get to Kyoto very quickly so I got up early and hopped on a Nozomi Shinkansen.
After getting to Kyoto station, I bought the 1 day bus pass because it’s cheaper and convenient.
First stop: Nijo Castle
I got there probably 15-20 minutes before they opened. I remember lining up by the ticket area waiting for them to open. I was probably the 4th or 5th one to get a ticket. There was a vending machine for the ticket but I didn’t know how to use it so I bought it the old-fashioned way.
I attached the camera to an extended monopod and was walking around while trying as much as possible to hold it upright. I imagined I looked like a walking lightning rod. Honestly, if I saw myself doing that I would probably think that I looked like an idiot. But hey, to each their own. Besides, I didn’t care back then (I still don’t as I still do it) and I really wanted to ‘document’ everything.
Back then I was still trying out some things. That’s why on some of these I used continuous shots (sort of like a time lapse while walking), videos while walking on some, and finally the standing still for a few seconds thing. I found that the walking continuous shots were the most forgiving when viewing. The videos are just the worst. A few minutes in and I’m already getting dizzy. Youtube helped a bit in removing some of the shaking on the video parts.
Sidenote, thanks to these clips I’m now thinking of getting a camera stabilizer.
I don’t remember going inside the castle. I probably didn’t as I only planned on seeing as much Sakura as possible.
Next stop: Philospher’s Path (哲学の道)
From Nijo Castle, I got on a bus and walked a little to get here:
This, I believe, is the north end of the Sakura-covered path called Tetsugaku no Michi (哲学の道). The path was named after Nishida Kitaro, a famous philosopher who was said to have walked this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University. It follows a canal that goes by a few shrines and temples (Ginkakuji, Honen-in, Nanzenji).
It was around a 2-kilometer walk that ended here:
Next stop: Keage Incline
I got a little lost getting here. While I was finding my way, I reached a place that I recognized from my research. As it turned out, it was the aqueduct near Nanzenji Temple.
When I got to Keage Incline, I did the same thing with the camera and enjoyed the flowers while walking down the unused tracks.
Here’s the map:
Next stop: Heian Shrine
Walked from Keage to here. The place had beautiful gardens inside and of course, lots of Sakura.
It was only a short walk getting here.
This was lunch:
I can’t seem to resist anything strawberry.
Next stop: Maruyama Koen
I did not know when I got into park premises as I was having a hard time looking up the place with google map’s street view. It did not matter, as soon as I saw flowering trees, I took out the camera.
I remembered on the way to Maruyama Koen, I stopped by and bought the cute purses from まつひろしょてん.
Looking at the map, it seemed like a long walk from Heian shrine. It wasn’t. Or I’m probably just used to walking.
Next stop: Kiyomizudera
Ah, one of the few spots not to miss when in Kyoto.
I had hoped that by the time I got here, it was around the time for the night illuminations. I got here around two hours before the place was lit up. Actually, the sun was just probably about to go down.
This was actually my second visit. Last 2014 we came around the tail end of Hanami season so I decided on a second visit to see what I missed the fist time. Boy, it did not disappoint.
It was another short walk getting here:
Final stop: Small World Guesthouse
This was a house located on a residential place. It was sort of a traditional house type hostel with other guests from all over.
I slept on the bottom bunk. Can’t remember if someone used the top bunk. I probably had a roommate as there’s a bag on the bed on the other side of the room. I did not meet him (or her) though as I was always out pretty early during my stay there.