9 Thoughts I Had As A Tourist In Kyoto

9 Thoughts I Had As A Tourist In Kyoto

There's a reason Kyoto is the world's best city for travel.

Kyoto is the home to ancient shrines and temples amid the busy clatter of a modern city, making it the hub of Japanese culture, both past and present. I traveled to Kyoto for the first time last week and I've documented my impressions of the city during the four days of my trip (with pictures!):

1. Kyoto Station is enormous.

I arrived in Kyoto by train from the Kansai Airport and I was met with a huge train station -- and by huge, I mean huge. Kyoto Station has 11 floors of restaurants and stores where you can find world-famous makeup emporiums next to tiny ramen shops. Thankfully, the locals are incredibly friendly and willing to help lost travelers (such as myself).

2. What a gorgeous view from my apartment window.

I was staying in a small studio apartment on an unexciting street I found on Airbnb for my trip. It couldn't get any more ordinary than that, so I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up to a stunning sunrise the next morning over a beautiful cityscape.

3. Everyone is incredibly polite.

Everyone said "ohayou gozaimasu" (good morning) as I passed him on the street, no one would push her way through busy subway stations, and cashiers thanked me profusely as they gave me my change. Best of all, there was no loud chattering into phones on the bus. It was a nice change of pace from the abrasive environment of my hometown.

4. Nature and the city -- Kyoto has it all.

Kyoto is surrounded by mountains, covered with trees, and has ancient religious architecture juxtaposed with modern buildings, skyscrapers and tiny apartments alike. The weather is also comfortably moderate. What doesn't this city have?

5. There's merchandise for every anime.

Although there aren't as many anime department stores as there are in Akihabara or Ikebukuro, I found merchandise for all of my favorite animes along Teramachi Street, one of Kyoto's well-known shopping arcades. I snagged plenty of posters, magazines and figurines in one visit.

6. Kyoto has an obsession with matcha ice cream.

It might be just in the tourist destinations, but there were so many matcha ice cream shops, I lost count on the first day of my trip. It's definitely not something to complain about though -- matcha ice cream is like the best green tea latte you've ever had made into ice cream form. It's that tasty.

7. Ramen lives up to its delicious reputation.

I ate at the ramen shops in the aforementioned Kyoto Station twice during my trip and I was surprised by how good the noodles were both times. Ramen is famous for a very good reason: the taste of creamy soup with springy noodles is incomparable.

8. Shinto shrines look exactly like they do in travel magazines.

I visited lots of tourist destinations in Kyoto but my favorite was the beautiful Fushimi Inari Shrine. Aside from the main shrine, there are numerous smaller shrines on Inari mountain that can be reached by climbing the paths lined with tunnels made of torii gates. The glow of red-orange in the sunlight is magnificent.

9. Did I mention the food is good?

I've already made two other points about food in Kyoto but it was so good, it merits another. In restaurants, the dishes are generally of small portions so that you can try as many different dishes as possible. Each dish also has its own unique method of consumption and restaurants have little signs explaining (in English too!) how to enjoy Japanese delicacies properly.

Cover Image Credit: Lucy Jing

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Holidays That Need More Recognition: November Edition!

Not Just Turkey Month Anymore!


Here's another list of underappreciated holidays! This time we're looking into November, a month dominated by the thought of Thanksgiving and Veteran's day. However, there are many more holidays that go under the radar throughout the month! Here's this month's top ten! Use these reasons to celebrate, and help others!

National Chicken Lady day -Nov. 4

This holiday sounds pretty food-centered, so I was a little confused when I saw it was categorized under 'Cause,' instead of food. It turns out it was started in honor of Dr. Tina Dupree's efforts in boosting raising the bar around learning and education. "For the past 20 years, Dr. Dupree has helped, inspired, and encouraged thousands of people to live their dreams, achieve their goals, and improve their lives by investing in themselves" (WE For Women Magazine). Read more about her here: https://wemagazineforwomen.com/today-is-national-chicken-lady-day/

World Kindness Day -Nov. 13



In a world full of suffering and heartache, a day set aside to be kind to one another is a gem to be protected. This day is a day to go out of your way to do something nice, something special for someone else. Everyone needs kindness, and everyone is going through stuff. Use this holiday to be there for someone. Be happy that you were able to positively influence somebody's day! For some good ideas about what to do, check out this site: https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/acts-of-kindness/

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day -Nov. 17, in 2018

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National Princess Day -Nov. 18

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National Princess Day is a day when all little girls (and big girls, too) can release their inner princess! Princesses are more than just a dress and a tiara. They are kind, brave, and selfless, all things that we could be. The more we exhibit these traits, the more good we're doing to influence the world. Join in on the celebrations!

National Entrepreneur's Day -Nov. 20

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This holiday celebrates those who are taking a huge leap. National Entrepreneur Entrepreneurs show up all around our worlds. Photographers, YouTubers, DIY-ers, pretty much anyone who starts out on Etsy. Celebrate their bravery and accomplishments on this day by doing something you wouldn't normally do. Maybe go out of your way to hire their services, or take time to purchase something from a smaller business on Etsy. There are a number of ways you can help your community and Economy.

Future Teachers of America Day -Nov. 20

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This day does double holiday duty, taking a day to celebrate those who are going out into the world, risking all they have into their business provider and those that shape the mind of the next (next) generation. The Future Teachers of America day celebrates students who are going to take the next step and change America for the better, by teaching values and math to the people that come after them. Teachers are a huge part of who we are, and why we know what we know.

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International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women -Nov. 25

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Women are targets of violence because we are, on average, less physically strong than men. This, of course, makes us targets to violence in any number of ways. This day celebrates women banding together to take a stand against the violence. Every kind of violence needs to stop. Joining the other women internationally to celebrate this holiday is the first step. Make it a movement, and the violence rates can start to go down. Help us celebrate this day and make a difference.

Giving Tuesday -Nov. 27

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Veteran's day -Nov 11/observed Monday

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While almost everyone in America knows about National Veteran's day, it is an underappreciated holiday. Veterans give everything to their country. Often, that includes their lives. When those that come home do, they are meeting with adjustment issues, PTSD, and traumas that can haunt them forever. Yet all we do is post a sign or a Tweet saying thank you? Words, while nice, are not enough. We need to, and we can do more for our veterans. If you were to celebrate any holiday, celebrate this one, however belated it is. Pick a program that can help veterans. And take your time off to do. If you know a veteran, offer to help him out. If he doesn't need help, ask for the names/numbers of friends, to see if you can help them. These are the men and women that sacrifice everything to protect the country. Even if you disagree with their politics, or dislike something they say, they deserve respect and could use some help. To volunteer to help, follow the link: https://www.dav.org/help-dav/volunteer/volunteer-locally-help-veterans/

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