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Exploring Kyoto

One of those moments, when you can’t believe your eyes…

Following on from my 5 things to do in Tokyo, I wanted to follow up with a few memorable moments from Kyoto. Although there are a few more places to visit in my previous post also. We had travelled from Tokyo, to Hakone, Hiroshima and then on to Kyoto, with only Osaka being our final stop on the Contiki tour. But Kyoto may have been one of my favourite cities to explore, as there were so many sightseeing spots dotted in and around the city that really opened my eyes to the beauty of Japan. 
The first being Nara. A journey out of Kyoto, but one that is definitely worth making. As I remember, it only took us 90 minutes at most to get there on a train and a bus into the park and we spent a few hours roaming around the grounds. Here you will find the largest wooden structure in the world, Todaiji Temple, set against yellow grass and the blue sky, and one of the most overwhelming buildings I’ve set my eyes on. It was absolutely beautiful, and an enormous house for the largest Buddha statue in Japan. The cherry blossoms were just starting to bloom and the sun was shining and I couldn’t help but feel somewhat cleansed and free spirited. 
But moving on from the temple, you can walk around the large grounds of this region, home to thousands of deer that the Japanese believed to be sacred – so much so that harming the deer was punishable by death. Im unsure as to how relaxed this rule is now. But this is certainly a place to visit and one that I remember most vividly from my tour.
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine,
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine,
Next on the day tour was a trip to the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, found in Fushimi-Ku, Kyoto. Made up of over 5000 Shinto shrines placed in a lined corridor, it can take a number of hours to walk all the way through, so we stopped at around 100 for photographs due to being strapped for time. But its not only the shrines that are worth a look. The surrounding area is made up of some wonderful little stores and street vendors that make this area really magical. 
Hafuu Honten Wagyu Steak
Hafuu Honten Wagyu Steak

And I cannot complete this post without mentioning my biggest recommendation for your stay in Kyoto! Take a trip to Hafuu Honten in Kyoto for their Wagyu steak. They have created a set menu for those that would like to try a number of pieces from the local cuisine. So you are entitled to two beef entries, a soup, a salad, a main meal of Wagyu steak and a dessert, and whilst two of the ladies went all out for this one, I just chose a number of bits to try. Mainly, the Cauliflower soup, which was beyond the tastiest soup I have ever tried – so much that I asked for a second helping. The steak though was something else. There was not an ounce of fat in sight, and it melted and cut like butter. With a little helping of salt and mustard on the plate for dipping, I couldnt stop proclaiming my love for the steak with every bite. For the steak main, two soups (oh well), a salad and a few glasses of bubbly, this came to £30. Yes, that wasn’t a typo. Incredible food for an even better price. You have to visit!

Have you  been enjoying my Japan posts and catch ups? I really wanted to bring you something much more cultural and lifestyle based, so please let me know what you think! And as always, have a peek at my vlog of the trip if you’re interested in a little more detail!

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