Land of the Rising Sun: Kyoto

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Looking at a map of surrounding temples and shrines in Kyoto was simply overwhelming. There is so much to see! We struggled navigating our way to the popular temples, the subway had only 2 lines, taxis were expensive, and buses are always difficult to navigate at first. Regardless, we were able to see some amazing structures. Here it is: Kyoto.  

Chionin Temple

Chionin Temple

Tower of Yasaka

Tower of Yasaka

There were several women dressed in traditional kimonos, shoes, and hair, and makeup. They looked beautiful. I suppose it was “a thing” to dress traditionally and walk through the temples and shrines.

Kinkakuji Temple (1)

Kinkakuji Temple 

Kinkakuji Temple (2)

This was one of our favorite temples. It was difficult to get to, but well worth it! It was so unique, truly breathtaking. 

Kinkakuji Temple (3)


Nijo Castle (2)

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle (1)

Nijo Castle (7)

This is one of the many buildings that was covered for renovation. It was really disappointing, but may be an often occurrence traveling in the off-season. I would recommend Japan in the spring or fall. There were so many bare trees, I imagine it’s full of vibrant colors in the warmer seasons making the scenery much more beautiful. 

Nijo Castle (8)

Nijo Castle (3) Nijo Castle (9) Nijo Castle (5) Nijo Castle (6)

We arrived at Heianjingu Shrine too late, the gates were closed. This was the second place we went at closing time. We knew we saw only a little piece of Kyoto and there was still so much to see, so we ended up staying the night. 

Heianjingu Shrine (2)

Heianjingu Shrine 

The next morning we woke up very early to see as much as possible before our late afternoon flight.

Heianjingu Shrine (4) Heianjingu Shrine (6) Heianjingu Shrine (1)


Fushimi Inari Taisha (3)

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha (4)

Fushimi Inari Taisha (5)

From the pictures James captured you would have no idea we were surrounded by hundreds of people! 

Fushimi Inari Taisha (6) Fushimi Inari Taisha (7)

Fushimi Inari Taisha (2)

Fushimi Inari Taisha (1)

Fushimi Inari Taisha (8)

This was my favorite place in Kyoto. It was our last stop before heading to the airport so it was kind of rushed. There is a 2-3 hour hike through these pillars up the mountain and I can only imagine how peaceful and memorable it is. I want to go back. 

Heianjingu Shrine (3)

Goodbye Kyoto, I hope to come again! 

DSC01117 DSC01240

This was posted twice on the platform of the subway.

Bullet Train

Our location in Kyoto to where we were headed in Osaka was 56 kilometers or about 35 miles. The train we took to Kyoto took 30 minutes. We both were so curious about the well known bullet train, known as Shinkansen, so we took it back to Osaka. It took 14 minutes! And this thing is exact! The ticket said 12:05 and it left exactly at 12:05, this was not a boarding time, it was a departure time. If you are not ON the train before this, you’ve missed it. 

Shinkansen travels up to approximately 200 miles/hr! It was so fast. Blink and you’ll literally miss it! 

Toji Temple

We had Toji Temple on the list to see but didn’t make it, luckily James captured it from the train, so in a way we ended being able to see it. 

We made it to Osaka and needed to take another train to the airport. Lucky us, they had a Star Wars train to take us, Super Rapid Airport Express! 

DSC01246 DSC01245

We also got lucky with the airplane seats and saw some unforgettable views of Busan, Korea. Our home for five more months! Wow – have I said it before?  Time goes quick! 

Busan (1) Busan (2)There have been a lot of changes at our school and we all know how change goes, we as humans usually have a difficult time accepting it. It has been an odd week for me with many emotions flowing.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with amazing parents and received a really nice email from my dad with the words I needed to hear and advice I couldn’t ignore.  Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to give us the boost we need to appreciate the position we are in. 

I reflected on this whole experience and instantly became grateful. Life has given me opportunities many do not have. I have learned so much and have been able to do a lot of self-improving I might have never done without being in these circumstances.  If anything, in the last month, I have relearned one thing: be grateful! 

What experiences or realizations have you had in the first two months of 2016? I’d love to hear! 



Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

One Reply to “Land of the Rising Sun: Kyoto”

  1. Hi Crystal,

    Thanks so much for sharing the great pictures, your travel experiences and impressions and most of all the glimpse into the emotional impacts of your experience It was really been an honor to share in all of these. You and James really are in the midst of an amazing growth and discovery opportunity — you were so wise to take it before you both became to entrenched in the other things that will come. You have certainly given me a glimpse into a part of the world that I have not been and an interest in taking time to do so. It seems that Kyoto is a must see! The next five months will go so quickly. Can’t wait to hear what is next on the list.


Leave a Reply