Kyoto: Ninenzaka & Nishiki Market


I must say I'm not a very well-travelled person and I have never really travelled alone. Even in South Korea, I went to many places with friends and never really explore a new place alone. Since I had no choice in Kyoto as my friend was working, I went everywhere not only alone, but on foot. It was April, the early Spring weather was perfect for walking. Plus, Kyoto seemed pretty safe so I decided to explore solo. This experience was the most amazing travel experience for me and made me understand why people travel alone. I felt so independent and so curious. I can still remember that incredible feeling and it's a feeling I can hardly explain. The feeling of not knowing where you are going and what you are going to see. You can only experience it yourself :)

With just Google Maps, I walked everywhere from my hotel (The Westin Miyako Kyoto). If my memory is correct, below is a rough route I took. Even though it's really safe, I still took precautions like choosing to walk on the main roads instead of small alleys. Well, afterall it's my maiden solo journey. I did however took small roads the next day which led me to various interesting shops and finds but that's for another day.

There are so many torii gates everywhere. A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to sacred (Wikipedia). I don't remember specifically where these images were taken but they were all taken during my walk, which was what made exploring interesting because you never know what you'll see next.

I especially love the cafes. Though they're not as well decorated as those in South Korea, I loved how rustic and traditional they looked.

Okay so I must admit, after a while, all the temples and shrines look the same to me and I could hardly remember the names of the places I went to. Then I continued my journey to Nishiki Market where even though I already had lunch at a vegan restaurant nearby, I could not help but step into a sushi bar and enjoyed an executive set on my own. Always, always get the set, it's more worth it that way!

Since I dined alone, it felt like he was my personal chef. He explained every sushi to me before serving, whether to have it with soy sauce or not etc. Omg I haven't had sushi since I left Kyoto and I don't think I can ever have cheap sushi ever again. You will know what I mean when you have sushi in Japan.

A shrine within the Nishiki Shopping District..

The Kamogawa Kyoto river that gets crowded towards the evening. Kind of like Seoul's Han River.

In case you missed it, here are my posts on Osaka and Arashiyama.

Stay tuned for Kyoto part 2 where I continue to explore more shrines and cat cafes!

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