Maple Zen gardens in the Northwest

Maple Zen gardens in the Northwest

After exploring parts of the East (Higashiyama) and the South (Toji, Inari, Uji) of Kyoto, I chose to pay the Northwestern area a visit next.

Two temples in Uji

Two temples in Uji

The city of Uji lies in the South of Kyoto and is famous for its green tea plantations. Over the weekend I visited visited two temples: Byōdō-in and Kōshō-ji.

Takamatsu: Noodles, islands and a sunset

Takamatsu: Noodles, islands and a sunset

On the last holiday of Golden week I traveled all the way to Shikoku, hopped on a ferry to see the islands of the Setouchi inland sea and watched the sunset from a beautiful viewpoint.

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki is a walkable and well-connected onsen town in the north of Kyoto prefecture. The appeal of Kinosaki is the possibility to enjoy many different baths in a day, even for day visitors. In most onsen towns I visited so far, the onsen are within the ryokan one stays at and there is maybe one public bath for day visitors.

Amanohashidate – stairway to heaven

Amanohashidate – stairway to heaven

On Greenery Day or midori no hi I went to the northern part of Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures to see the sea in Amanohashidate.

Okayama and Kurashiki

Okayama and Kurashiki

On May 3rd I visited Kurashiki and Okayama in the West of Kansai, halfway between Osaka and Hiroshima. I believe many have skipped these places during their Japan travels (so have I until now) but it is worth to come, even if it is just for half a day.

To-ji temple at night

To-ji temple at night

To-ji temple lies south of Kyoto station and is not only a well preserved temple from the 8th century, it also harbors the highest wooden pagoda of Japan.

A festival, hiking and Sake in Fushimi

A festival, hiking and Sake in Fushimi

Today, April 17th happened to be the day of the Inari festival (Shinko festival), a festival at the shrine, so I decided to visit Fushimi again after many years. But apart from that I also explored the sake brewing district and the area in general, so keep reading.

Apartment tour at Okazaki International House

Apartment tour at Okazaki International House

I am living at the Okazaki International Student House, a recently constructed four-story building with about 50 rooms for students and researchers. Once accepted at Kyoto University, it was easy to organize the stay, but one must first win a lottery if the demand is high. After two to three rounds I “won” a room.

Hanami along Higashiyama

Hanami along Higashiyama

On the first weekend I used the last chance to do some hanami, before most blossoms have fallen from the cherry trees.

In the first half of the day I visited the southern Higashiyama region, all the way from Kiyomizu-dera to Heian-jingu. In the afternoon I went shopping in Shijo-Kawaramachi.