After visiting Fushimi-Inari, we took a walk along the backstreets of Kyoto, to find Tofukuji Temple – a temple built during the Fujiwara clan’s reign (dominated Japanese politics from around 800 – 1185) and was one of the main Zen Buddhist temples during the time.
Mark was certain we were lost, but I knew we were going in the right direction (kind of…). After walking along the main street and through neighborhood streets, we found the temple nestled in between neighborhoods. There were hardly any visitors and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. This temple is a popular spot for autumn leaf viewing, but when we went, winter’s touch had taken over the grounds. Even with the lack of life and color among the trees, there was still beauty and calmness to be found and experienced.
I didn’t realize I was hiding behind a pole…
Tofukuji Temple is located in southeastern Kyoto, near Tofukuji Station on the JR Nara Line. It took us about 20-25 minutes to walk from Fushimi-Inari to Tofukuji. The walk between the two sites is doable and cheaper, if you’re trying to save a buck or two. While not as beautiful in the winter time, there will be less visitors and more space to freely enjoy your walk around the grounds. The best time to go to the temple is during autumn for leaf viewing.
After our nice walk through the temple, we decided to head back to the city and make our way towards the Teramachi Shopping Arcade, a large covered shopping and restaurant area, to take a break.
I love Doutor’s cake set, which includes a drink and a slice of cake for ￥500. It’s a nice snack/dessert during your break time.
After our break, we walked around the shopping arcade before we decided it was dinnertime. I don’t know why we thought it was a good idea to eat dinner right after our cafe stop, but we ate again. We found a ramen shop and slurped delicious ramen until our bellies were full. We can never say ‘no’ to ramen.
Because of all the cake eating and his ramen set (ramen, rice, and gyozas), Mark was feeling super bloated and started to complain about how full and bloated he was. I thought it was hilarious and started snapping pictures of him in the midst of getting my boba fix. Mark and I were pretty much old people and decided to call it a night after buying boba and dessert, which was around 7pm… We’re the type of people who are tired and indoors by 8pm… But! We did so much walking that day, so we were exhausted and wanted to relax.
Welcome to our humble hostel abode located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama District, one of Kyoto’s best historic districts! It was a great location, close to many temples and the Gion district. This was Mark’s first experience in a hostel and before we got there, he was freaking out what would happen at the hostel (oh Taken). He enjoyed his first experience at this hostel and acknowledged that hostels can be comfortable, clean, and safe (which is good, so we can book cheaper places in the future!).
This was our last night in Kyoto and reflecting back on our trip, though we didn’t get to see everything we planned, we were able to enjoy each others company, which is the most important thing to us, and have fun discovering new sites together. I’m so happy that Mark will be moving here soon and we’ll be able to have more adventures together.
One of the sites I was most excited about visiting during our Kyoto trip, was Fushimi-Inari, a shrine dedicated to the god of rice. All the pictures I saw of the hundreds of toriis looked so mesmerizing and such a tranquil atmosphere to walk through. I was under the impression that we would be able to get lost on the path of toriis, having the place to ourselves. Unfortunately, our timing was a little off… We went two weeks after the new year and hundreds of people were still visiting the shrine to pray for the new year. (Note to self: don’t visit shrines in January). We were constantly following people, walking up the mountain. However, I still enjoyed the surroundings and the crisp air. Even with the city and a train station outside the shrine’s entrance, the trail leads you through a forest, up a mountain. It’s hard to believe that you can find such a peaceful place near the city. We would love to visit again when there are less people and finish the entire trail. Mark’s feet were hurting and he wanted to eat (okay, we both wanted to eat, but I did want to keep walking).
Even with the crowds, I still loved visiting this shrine. It’s now one of my favorite spots in Japan. I would highly recommend this place for any travelers going through Kyoto.
Kyoto is a beautiful city and one of my favorite cities in Japan. I loved walking side by side Mark while he experienced his first temples, in Kyoto’s Higashiyama District, as the sun was setting. With the crisp chill in the air, the backdrop of an amazing temple, and the city below us, I took in every moment, being grateful for having the opportunity to travel and spend time with Mark. Experiences and views like these don’t happen very often and when they do, I appreciate every moment.