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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13 Snacks That Take Us Back To The Early 2000s, AKA The Lunchbox Days

Childhood snacks that we all remember.

The lunchbox days: ya know, the times in which you packed your pail to the brim for school lunch, field trips, summer camp, road trips, and other similar endeavors. The lunchbox days were the good 'ol days.

But, as you got older, and as yummy childhood snacks came and went, you forgot about the foods you once loved. Maybe you find yourself munching on your childhood favorites every now and then? Maybe it takes you back to the glorious lunchbox days?

Check out these 13 early 2000, childhood snacks and see if they were once your favorites:

1. Ice Pops

Usually enjoyed after a long day at the pool. It was so much fun pushing the melted juice up.

2. Fun Dip

Maybe you won these at an arcade?

3. Lunchables

Yes. Just yes.

Remember the hot dog ones?

4. Dunk-a-Roos

One of the greatest childhood desserts EVER.

5. Trix Yogurt

"Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!"

6. Fruit Roll-Ups (preferably the ones that left tattoos)

The super long ones were fabulous, too.

7. Gushers

Still eat these today?

8. Kid's Cuisine

I always ate the pudding first.

9. GoGurt

All of the cool kids ate these at lunchtime.

10. Capri Sun


11. Cheese Puffs

A childhood, go-to snack.

12. Crackers dipped in cheese

Pretty sure I ate these every day.

13. Uncrustables

Did anyone else peel the crinkly part?

Most of these snacks are still around! Go buy them and enjoy!

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Frozen Pizzas Review Pt.2

" 'Now the party don't start 'til I walk in'...with the pizza," (from the song Tik Tok by Kesha)

Birthdays? Parties? Friday night Netflix Movie Night?

Pizza is mostly likely going to be there to get the party started. A few weeks ago I reviewed three frozen pizzas and scoring them on a 1-10 scale based on taste and texture (1 being the worst, 10 being the best). This week I'm back reviewing another 3 frozen pizzas on a 1-10 scale to help you pick out a pizza next time you're at the grocery store in the pizza aisle.

***Disclaimer: Toppings might influence the taste of pizza, and I did not stick with one topping for each pizza, the list will include the brand of pizza and the topping that I tried it with***

****The order the pizzas appear are not influenced by my scoring of the pizzas****

1. Jack's Original Thin Crust (Pepperoni)

It's been a while since I tried this pizza, but I decided to include it anyway. Every time I see this pizza, I get a flashback of seven year old me walking through a grocery store with my mother and asking her if we can buy it. This was my go-to after-school snack, and I would eat the whole pizza without even thinking twice. I didn't mind that the crust was thin, and unlike some pizzas where the crust is inedible, this crust didn't taste that bad. If my seven-year-old self was to rate this pizza, I would give it a 9/10.

2. Red Baron (Classic Crust Pepperoni)

Red Baron is the type of pizza that is your back-up, if you are unwilling to get any other pizza this is the safety net of pizzas. The cheese is not stringy, the sauce is not spicy or overpowering, and the crust is crunchy. The pepperoni adds the savory taste to the pizza. It's the type of pizza that won't blow you away with its taste, but won't make you avoid it either, I score it a 6.5/10.

3. Totino's Pizza Rolls (Pepperoni)

Totino's Pizza Rolls is not exactly a stereotypically pizza, it might be argued that it considered a snack, but contains similar ingredients that belong on a pizza. It's a pizza bite packed into a..bite.

For the most part, I tend to burn myself after taking the first bite. Totino's Pizza Rolls doesn't leave you with a long satisfying taste after eating it. Although the best part is the inside (the pepperoni), the outer layer could be better by not being so dry, I give it a 6/10.

These are my opinions when it comes to reviewing pizzas, obviously personal preference has to be factored in when trying these pizzas. However, next time you are in a grocery store, try out different pizza brands and topping combinations.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay, CC0 License

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