Kyoto is surrounded by mountains from three sides, one of them is Mt. Hiei. The mountain top is easily accessible by a combination of train, cable car and ropeway but it is also a popular hiking destination and it is
Himeji Castle is my favorite castle in Japan because it is one of the few original castles that were not lost to war and fire unlike many modern reconstructions.
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.
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 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.
On Greenery Day or midori no hi I went to the northern part of Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures to see the sea in Amanohashidate.
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 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.
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.
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.