“I fell in your opinion when I fell love with you.” – Florence + The Machine
At long last, my extremely long overdue Japan in April (sakura season!) post. Very very late and it feels like ages ago. But right on time for you to plan your next Japan trip to be in late March/early April to catch the next cherry blossom season!
It was my first time in Kyoto. So the posting will be more about things you can do in Kyoto, especially if it’s your first trip.
1. Sakura Season
This view greeted me every day. The inn was along the river, flanked by overhanging sakura trees, petals falling like snow with each passing day of the fleeting spring. Imagine cycling along this path, watching the seasons change along with the time.
The beauty of spring makes me really poetic.
It was my first time seeing cherry blossoms. I’ve always seen pictures and heard about it, but seeing them in real life.. There are no words.
The flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it – it just blooms.
And for me, that was the hana of Noh theatre.
The confidence in your own elusive beauty. You don’t care if people are watching. Zero or one thousand. You are a flower, you are there, at the right moment.
I told you it made me poetic.
My first time cycling in over 10 years.
I’ve always associated Japan with cycling, and I feel that there’s nowhere else better to pick up casual cycling again that the kind streets of Kyoto. Filled with endless slopes and small back streets, hardly anyone will see you if you stumble and fall. And crash into walls. Cycle right into walls. Drains. Cars. -whistles-
The pedestrians and cars are super sweet as well! They saw me cycling painfully slowly (T_T) and a car was just driving patiently behind me without honking. When I saw it, I got off the bike to let it pass and the lady inside made a little honk and BOWED to me. T_T I think if it was anywhere else I’d have been hit by a car already.
3. Gion / Temples / Shrines
Kyoto houses the most number of shrines and temples. Best part was that it was walking distance (40 mins to an hour) to everywhere. It’s not bad because spring temperature it about 10 degrees C and walking keeps you warm. AND you get to see pretty streets! AND the bus system is confusing so just walk.
4. % Arabica
5. Fushimi-Inari Taisha
And if you’re in Kyoto, this is iconic, and you gotta do it for the gram. You know what they say, if you didn’t take a photo of it, did you even go there?
It may seem really crowded at the bottom, but as you get higher (and more breathless), the crowd really thins out.
And you are left with questioning your life decisions.
6. Arashiyama – Bamboo Forest
Bamboo forest, another thing you must take a photo of because DID YOU EVEN GO TO KYOTO??? It will be insanely crowded, you gotta angle it upwards to avoid all the humans. I mean. /shrug
Now that you can cycle, you can Google maps your way from central Kyoto up to the mountains. You can also take the train, but if you want to YOLO and have a sore butt and freeze your face off, rent a bike for 500 yen and take a 10 KM ride up.
The sights are beautiful. The view is breathtaking. Cycling along cars was terrifying but once again, kind Kyoto people don’t kill you.
You can also stop by a random river and almost get blown away. Questioning your life decisions once again. But you keep going on and on, admiring the beauty and serenity along the way.
At the beginning of the Arashiyama district, the rain causes the cherry blossoms to fall and embrace the ground in a soft, pink blanket. Lock your bike at a random bike area and hunt for the bamboo forest on foot.
The tall bamboo stretches into the heavens, blocking the light of the afternoon sun.
The bamboo is so tall, and you feel so small next to it. For a moment, the 10km ride was worth it. But at the end of the path, you realise you have to cycle back.
You question your life decisions once again.
The spring is so beautiful, everywhere is a photo opportunity.
You can’t take a bad picture. You just can’t.
EVERYTHING IS PINK.
8. Osaka + Other
The Osaka Aquarium!!! With otters!!! It’s a bit of a walk from the train station, BUT OTTERS?
So that’s it.
I fell for Japan again, this time in spring. Advice for those who are about to rock? SPRING IS COLDER THAN EXPECTED BRING YOUR WARM CLOTHES. T_T Especially if you’re from a tropical island YOU WILL DIE.
I’ll see you again.