Discovery Kyoto

by Cristina Zuccato from Italy

Kyoto
Bicycle in Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

I’m arrived in Kyoto without a map, traveling solo, without knowing the language, talking about a survival English, not knowing where I was going to sleep one night in October, and it was beautiful.

 

Get lost

The idea of ​​wandering around the city aimlessly is a thought of freedom that fascinates anyone. There are you and the discovery of the unknown world pieces. The happiness that fills your eyes at every unknown face, every spontaneously surfaced surprise and the unexpected evolution of your day erase time. You feel your heart beating, the wonder of a child, and tired legs. Do not stop, keep as long as your feet can walk, especially if it is 2 am and you do not have the money to take a taxi. Do not be afraid, the town is so quiet that you can lose yourself, find yourself, lose you again and no one will bother. Indeed, the kindness of the people you will touch, with stops when you try to figure out where you are, they will approach you, almost certainly will not speak english, but they will accompany you in the place you are looking for, if you can let him know what is. Anyway, you can always use google maps to find your way, even if you have not seen an internet connection.

kyoto-temple
Inside a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

Bicycle

After a few days of long walks, find a bike and get to the city limits. The streets are full of folk life, the houses become smaller and able to move about without traffic. Reach the most famous temples, but stopped long into smaller ones. A beautiful Zen garden you will find it at the Shisen-do temple, in the northeast of the city. And then it will be fun to turn into corners where you will be the only western face to peer for the people living in the place. Do not forget to give them a smile and a slight bow with the head, or a sympathetic grimace if you imbattessi in a child.

bicycle-in-kyoto
A street of Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

 Shopping

I love thrift shops, the old antique shops, small artisan shops. You can not resist the charm of the kimono, we can find the beautiful, perfect and at a good price in the second hand shops. The elegance of Japanese ceramics then it will be a great souvenir to take home for yourself and your friends. Do not forget to enter the library to browse the manga and the Japanese drawing books.

Kyoto
Waiting for a train in the street of Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

Futon

Prepared to sleep on the floor on tatami mats in traditional Japanese bed, if you had not booked in hostels equipped Western. I have used the platform Couchsurfing and Airbnb to move and live my stay in Kyoto. I council both, but remember particularly with couchsurfing you’ ll have to be ready for anything.

food-in-kyoto
Typical Japanese food in Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

Food

You’ll love it. Search small restaurants. Open the door and prepared, if you can smoke in many bars and restaurants, unlike the roads were not a smoker in Japan where you can do it only in established areas, if I were. Not always have the menu in English but usually there featured the exact reproduction of the plastic plate, simply stating that the order and will be carried out. Or choose to surprise a menu item, maybe not every day. Try the street food if I were to come across the occasional festivities, and remember to get in a supermarket, after having shot and have seen at least a dozen strange products, you can buy a good meal ready. Wikipedia gives you a descriptive and figuratively menu of dishes in the “Japanese cuisine.”

street-food-in-kyoto
Street Japanese food in Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

Tourist destinations

As much as you try to avoid them you have to go to walk through the streets of the Gion geisha district. The unchanged the past will make you feel in a piece of history in the heart of the city center, fascinating in the evening. From here you will be able to move towards the Fushimi Inari, arrives for the time of sunset to the famous temple of the red doors, and get to the top. Access is free and there are no times, it can safely down the mountain in the magic of the shadows of the torii, is all lit up and there are vantage points from where you can see a part of Kyoto at night.

Kyoto
Kyoto by Cristina Zuccato

Buddhist ceremony

Attend a Buddhist ceremony is an exciting experience. Their prayers, the music, the incense. I’ve happened by chance, walking I heard playing the taiko, the big Japanese drum and curiosity prompted her to enter the temple to me. The function takes place roughly an hour and a half, and if you’re lucky like me you will find someone who will explain in English what to do. Then take the time to understand the philosophy of this religion, you will find many answers that will help you understand the Japanese way of life.

Mount Inari map by Cristina Zuccato

Onsen

Undressed by shame and enters these thermal waters where you will relax between baths of different temperatures. Inside you can take with you only a towel and you need to wash. Remember that you’ll be completely naked, but for this you will not feel uncomfortable. I have been to Funaoka public bath, small, cheap, the tanks are divided between men and women, and I spent a pleasant and relaxing after dinner, because you can find this bathroom open until one o’clock at night, but always check the schedule the web.

And always remember to be a traveler, not just a tourist.

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