I wanted to name this blogpost "Our first and last trip together" but that would sound rather depressing because i know i am supposed to be celebrating her memory, cherishing those precious 2 months we had together before her passing. Took be quite a while to even touch my blog again because everytime i look at our photos together just reminds me of how lonely right now, though i am struggling to cope with it.
I didn't not plan much for this trip as my initial plan was to visit Hakone last year to give thanks at 九頭竜神社 but had that trip canceled because my obgyn said it's best to do it after i give birth and paeds told me to wait for 2 months before any flights with the baby as she also needed to take a couple of new vaccines that's compulsory outside of Malaysia.
As a full time mom previously, i didn't have the time (considered luxury if you to have some to spare) to browse google and plan out my entire travel itinerary, even purchasing a flight ticket and accommodation is difficult enough let alone opening tons of websites and maps just to shortlist them.
Trust me i did tried and all those opening links, closing them, at the end of all this effort put into coming out with my own plans just another day wasted.
That's when i recalled i had this magazine focusing on Kyoto which i got during the Japan travel fair last year (talk about coincidence) and i am so glad the magazine did all the hard work for me, all we did was followed this Omotenashi travel guide's as there's a tourist proof daily schedule prepared for you inside the magazine.
Here's a little brief information/ introduction about this guidebook, i know we live in an era that's highly dependent on the internet because it's free plus less hassle of carrying around a magazine and such but what we tend to overlook is the AMOUNT of time wasted staring at our phones/ PCs just browsing link after links and trying to compile everything into your itinerary which i can somehow never do, maybe it's because i am not such an organized person to begin with. Well, if you are not a parent then i guess you have tons of free time to do that but those of you who have your hands full please read on.
So if you guys would just like to keep in touch with what's ongoing here in Japan on a regular fresh out the oven basis do give their page a big LIKE.
Okay back to our travels, though the guidebook already provides everything you need from A to Z information, maps and suggestions we still need to do some minimal selections on trails you would like to cover within your own comfort zone. Like mine, i shortlisted quite a number of cafes i can enjoy the ambiance and have good hot drinks while i breastfeed at the same time stay out of the cold as much as possible. But when you are in Japan, walking is inevitable and you are not the only one out there walking with a baby as well because not everyone drives.
Think during the few days we had together in Japan, we spent like 70% of our time in restaurants and cafes which if you are traveling on a budget basis, you would definitely feel the pinch (cup of hot tea- 400 ¥/ dessert- 500¥ give or take) but if you just want to experience trying different kinds of food/ drinks then you will have to close one eye for the food expenditure but trust me, every one of it is worth it because you won't be able to get the same kind of food quality back in Malaysia. That's also what traveling is for, to try something new and never stinge on experience.
Kyoto is also rather big on it's own so to visit all areas -north/ south/ east & west, you would probably need at least 7 days to cover the major main attractions and this includes like 1 day rest from all the walking you have to do especially if you are not used to walking so much on a daily basis.
We arrived at our rented room in Kyoto by noon after accidentally missing our early morning flight because i was so blur that i waited at the wrong departure hall for transit, thank goodness they allowed us to board the next one which was just another 2 hours wait from our initial booking. Thank you ANA for being so helpful and understanding, not to mention helping with the luggage till we reached Osaka. From KIX to Kyoto station there's this ticket you can purchase both ways (expires with 14 days) called the Kansai Airport Express "Haruka"and it takes about 1 hour & 15 mins to reach, enough time to breastfeed in between too.
Inside Omotenashi travel guide, the reason why they have a list of "Recommended Itineraries", it's for travelers to get the most out of their visit in a particular prefecture during certain seasons.
Day 2 - Golden Itinerary
Guide book says, let's get dressed up in a Kimono before heading to Kiyozumi-dera to get your pictures taken, i did visit the nearest shop i spotted named Yume Kyoto (Kyoto's dream) to check out their beautiful selections of kimono available for rent. Couldn't try because first of all by the time i'm done wearing it, it would be time to take it off to feed Mariko. But they were nice enough to allow me to snap some photos of the place!
The plans offered are quite reasonable too as low as 3000 ¥ for a complete set, they go by one day rental so to get your money's worth it's always advisable to get dressed first thing in the morning so you can go around Kyoto in your beautiful kimono.
If you have read about the legendary warrior monk named Benkei, who had unusual strength you are able to find his iron staffs(90kg & 14kg) and clogs (12kg) on display and if you could lift the staff up your wish would be granted by the Gods lol.
Not sure how true it is but alot of people had fun taking turns to lift these iron staffs up for a photo opportunity.
Along the streets you can shop and eat till your heart's content, there's not only street food, if you look closer hiding at the back are some nice and peaceful restaurants you can rest at with toilets to use as well. Can't help feeling so amazed that most of their toilets have a baby changing table making it convenient for mothers to change their diapers when needed instead of waiting till they reach home.
Japan is generally a mommy & baby friendly country to travel to, so new couples you can plan to tour Europe for your honeymoon first and save Japan for when you have kids lol.
Saving Ginkakuji for next time, also recommeded to visit this place during spring & autumn!
You can enjoy the Higashiyama's culture of "wabi" and "sabi" alongside with a mesmerizing view of of their modern sculpted sand creation. Also don't miss Togu-do's inner chambers which requires a special admission pass, since you are there might as well explore that part as well, never leave any stone unturned in Japan, and remember to always take your time to enjoy the scenery.
That ends the first 2 days we had in Kyoto, will continue the other part of our adventures in my next blogpost.
Meanwhile since Sakura season is nearly in full bloom for March and April, here are some of the best sakura destination views to note down for Kyoto 🌸
- Tetsugaku no Michi (Philosopher's Walk)
- Maruyama Park
- Gion Shirakawa Minami-dori
- Hirano Jinja Shrine
- Daigoji Temple
- Ninnaji Temple (for late blossoms)