Travel Around Japan (Day #5) : From Kinkakuji to Fushimi Inari Shrine

*I wrote this post in two languages. Scroll down after the English version if you want to read this post in Bahasa Indonesia .* 

Exploring Kyoto needs more than one day. After we rode scenic train and boat one day before, on the fifth day we explored Kyoto by using city bus. Almost every tourist attraction in Kyoto was easier to reach by bus. Because of that, Kyoto local government provided one-day-pass bus ticket to explore Kyoto by bus. 

One-day-pass ticket was valued at JPY 500, quite cheap. We could get in and get off at every bus stop or shelter in Kyoto. You can buy one-day-pass ticket at Kyoto Station, central exit, which was also Kyoto Bus Terminal. Not far from the central exit, there were bus ticket vending machines. If you were hesitated where the vending machine was, just talk to the officer. This one day pass ticket must be validated at the first time we get in to bus. Just show your one day pass ticket to the driver right before you get off from the bus. Then the driver will print the validation date on your ticket. 

We had one day pass ticket in hand. It was time for us to go to our first destinantion, Kinkakuji Temple. From Kyoto Station, take bus number 101 or 205 for reaching Kinkakuji Temple (also known as Golden Pavilion). Journey to Kinkakuji Temple took 45-50 minutes. From Kinkakuji bus stop, we had to walk for about 300 meters to arrive at Kinkakuji entrance. The admission fee was JPY 400.When we entered temple area, that place was already crowded so that it was difficult to take picture with the Golden Pavilion as the background.   

Kinkakuji Temple, As Seen on Calender

Akhirnya Berhasil Juga Foto Dilatarbelakangi Kinkakuji Temple

Exploring Kinkakuji area didn’t take a  long time, it would take just 30 minutes. The thing which made people stay longer in Kinkakuji was the queueing to take pictures. I suggest you to visit this place early in the morning when just few people appear here.  

At the exit gate of the temple, there were some food stalls. Me and my husband bought green tea soft ice cream. Green tea soft ice cream became tourists’ favorite snack in Japan. Then, we moved to next destination, Kiyomizudera Temple. There’s no direct bus from Kinkakuji to Kiyomizudera, so we had to go back to Kyoto Station first and changed bus to number 100 or 206, then got off at Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. 
We had to be walk uphill from Kiyomizu-michi bus stop to Kiyomizu Temple. I had to stop two times, first for buying drink, and second for checking up on souvenirs at stores there. Actually you don’t have to stop, it wasn’t that far. If you gave up to walk through the uphill path, there are so many pedicabs there. When we arrived at the top, once again, there were sea of people there, especially along the Higashiyama historical path. I felt so lazy to explore Higashisayama, but I came to my consciousness again, we were already here, why gave up? Then we cotinued to walk around Kiyomizudera and Higashiyama area. 

Kiyomizudera Temple’s Entrance

Kiyomizudera Temple is connected to Maruyama Park through Higashiyama historical walk, which is for pedestrians only. Along Higashiyama, there are some interesting spots, like Yasaka Shrine, Philpsopher Path, and Yasaka Pagoda. Higashiyama itself is district in Kyoto which reflects traditional Kyoto’s cultures and buildings. During the peak of Sakura season (which means Sakura trees are in full bloom), Maruyama Park holds spring illumination festival. Unfortunately, when we got there, the spring illumination festival had already ended because it was nearly the end of Sakura season. 

Higashiyama District as Seen From Kiyomizudera Temple

The end of Higashiyama District was Maruyama Park. From there, you can walk to Gion, the place where geishas usually gather. If you wish to meet some geishas, make plan to visit Gion at evening. Geishas usually appear at evening. We saw many fine dining restaurants with expensive price in Gion (they said, you can eat at those restaurants privately while watching  Geisha’s performance). 

From Gion, we went back to Kyoto Station by bus. Our last destination was Fushimi Inari Shrine which was so easy to be reached from JR Inari Station. It only took fice minutes train ride from JR Kyoto Station to JR Inari Station. Fushimi Inari Shrine entrance is located right in front of the station. It had less visitors compared to Kinkakuji Temple or Kiyomizudera Temple. 

Fushimi Inari Shrine became one of the most favorite place in Kyoto for tourists because there were thousand orange gates along four kilometers (about two kilometers uphill and two kilometers downhill). We had to be patient  if we wanted to capture beautiful photos (when the tunnel was empty) because there would be so many people walk through the gates. As we walked uphill, we just met few people, not as crowded as in the slope of the hill. That’s the best place for taking pictures.  

Fushimi Inari’s Gates

We didn’t finished the four-kilometers-path through Fushimi Inari’s orange gates because it turned into silence and just few people continued walking on that path up there. It was late afternoon too (nearly evening), and the sky got darkened. Finally we chose to go back. When we reached the entrance gate, there were so many food stalls. Just a perfect match, when you were exhausted from walking uphill and downhill, you could eat Japanese street foods, like Takoyaki, pop chop chicken, beef sausages, orange juice, and many more. It was valued at JPY 500 each portion. 

It was 07.00 pm when we arrived at Kyoto Station. It was too “early” to go back to our hotel. We impulsively visited Aeon Mall, the same vendor as in Indonesia. Aeon Mall could be reached within walking distance from Kyoto Station. Because it was too cold outside, it felt so good when you got into warm place like the mall. We were starving and we chose to eat at food court which located at the top level of Aeon Mall. It was little bit pricey there, but you could find foods with price less than JPY 1.000. 

After finishing our dinner, we sat at the little park outside the mall and enjoyed the view of ambience near the mall, where the trees were decorated with Christmas lights and unique ornamens. Very beautiful. It was a simple thing to do, but it became something sweet to end our day. Early in the following day, we had to go to Kawaguchiko Lake, so went back to the hotel right away. 

Menjelajah Kyoto memang tidak cukup satu hari. Setelah kemarin seharian penuh menggunakan kereta dan boat, pada hari kelima ini kami mencoba berkeliling Kyoto dengan menggunakan bus. Kebanyakan objek wisata di Kyoto lebih mudah dicapai dengan menggunakan bus. Oleh karena itu pemerintah lokal Kyoto menyediakan tiket one day pass untuk bepergian keliling Kyoto dengan menggunakan bus. 

One day pass bus ticket ini perlu divalidasi pada saar pertama kali naik ke bus. Caranya adalah tunjukkan one day pass bus ticket Anda kepada supir pada saat akan turun. Setelah itu supir bus akan mencetak tanggal di one day pass ticket Anda.

Harga one day pass bus ticket cukup terjangkau. Hanya dengan JPY 500 kita dapat naik-turun di shelter bus manapun di Kyoto. One day pass bus ticket bisa dibeli di Kyoto Station melalui vending machine. Setelah tiba di Kyoto Station, carilah central exit di mana juga merupakan terminal bus dalam kota Kyoto. Di dekat situ akan ada vending mechine yang menjual one day pass bus ticket. Bila tidak yakin di mana letak vending machine tersebut, jangan ragu untuk bertanya ke petugas yang ada di situ. 

Tiket bus sudah di tangan. Saatnya berangkat ke destinasi pertama, Kinkakuji Temple. Dari terminal Kyoto Station, Anda bisa naik ke bus nomor 101 atau 205 untuk mencapai Kinkakuji Temple (atau sering disebut Golden Pavilion). Perjalanan ke Kinkakuji Temple memakan waktu kurang lebih 45-50 menit. Dari Kinkakuji bus stop kita harus berjalan beberapa ratus meter untuk mencapai pintu masuk Kinkakuji Temple. Harga masuk ke tempat wisata tersebut adalah JPY 400.

Memutari garden di sekitar Kinkakuji Temple sebenarnya tidak membutuhkan waktu lama, mungkin hanya sekitar 30 menit saja. Yang membuat orang berlama-lama di Kinkakuji adalah antrian berfoto dengan Sang Golden Pavilion itu. Saya sarankan Anda berangkat sepagi mungkin ke tempat ini agar masih belum berubah menjadi lautan manusia.

Pada saat kami memasuki area temple, di sana sudah cukup padat pengunjung sehingga sulit sekali mencari spot untuk foto dengan latar belakang temple tanpa terganggu wisatawan lain yang hendak berfoto atau hanya sekedar lewat.  

Puas menyusuri taman-taman di Kinkakuji Temple, saya dan suami istirahat sebentar di pintu keluar sambil menyantap green tea soft ice cream yang enak banget. Kemudian kami pun beranjak ke destinasi kedua, yakni Kiyomizudera Temple. Karena kami tidak tahu apakah ada direct bus dari Kinkakuji ke Kiyomizudera Temple (sepertinya sih tidak ada bila melihat peta bus), maka kami pun kembali dulu ke Kyoto Station untuk ganti bus nomor 100 atau 206 dan turun di Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. 

Dari bus stop jalanan ke Kiyomizudera Temple cukup menanjak. Saya saja sampai harus dua kali berhenti, pertama untuk beli minum, kedua untuk lihat-lihat oleh-oleh. Sebenarnya tidak perlu berhenti kok, mungkin saya saja yang kurang olahraga. Bila Anda merasa tidak mungkin menyusuri jalan yang menanjak tadi, ada moda transportasi becak (ditarik manusia) yang bisa mengantar Anda hingga Kiyomizudera Temple. Ketika tiba di atas, pemandangan lautan manusia kembali memenuhi pandangan mata kami. Saya jadi kurang bersemangat untuk menjelajah area ini, namun yang penting tetap foto.

Tapi bagaimana pun karena sudah terlanjur sampai di sini, ya tetap harus eksplore. Kiyomizudera ini terhubung ke Maruyama Park melalui jalan Higashiyama yang dikhususkan untuk pejalan kaki. Di sepanjang Higashiyama itu pula terdapat beberapa tempat wisata, Yasaka Shrine , Philosopher Path, dan Yasaka Pagoda. Higashimaya sendiri merupakan distrik yang mencerminkan kebudayaan Kyoto. Dalam puncak full bloom Sakura biasanya ada illumination festival di Maruyama Park yang patut dikunjungi. Saya sendiri tidak berkesempatan menikmati illumination festival di Maruyama Park karena sudah berakhir. 

Akhir dari perjalanan menyusuri Higashiyama District adalah Maruyama Park. Dari situ Anda bisa berjalan kaki ke Gion, tempatnya para Geisha. Di Gion banyak terdapat restoran fine dining yang harganya cukup mahal. Bila ingin melihat geisha, sempatkan berada hingga sore di Gion karena para geisha baru menampakkan diri saat sore hari menjelang malam.

Puas berjalan-jalan dari Kiyomizudera ke Gion, kami pun kembali lagi ke Kyoto Station dari Gion Bus Stop. Destinasi terakhir kami adalah Fushimi Inari Shrine yang bisa dicapai menggunakan kereta. Dari Kyoto Station hanya memakan waktu 5-10 menit untuk menuju Inari Station yang terletak persis di depan Inari Station. Fushimi Inari Shrine tidak terlalu banyak pengunjung seperti Kinkakuji Temple maupun Kiyomizudera Temple, mungkin karena sudah jam 05.00 pm juga. 

Fushimi Inari sangat diminati pengunjung karena memiliki jajaran gerbang oranye sepanjang 4 km (2 km uphill dan 2 km downhill). Untuk mendapatkan hasil foto yang bagus tanpa latar belakang orang-orang yang berlalu lalang memang agak sulit karena banyak orang menyusuri jalan ini. Namun, semakin menanjak ke atas semakin sepi orang sehingga akan lebih memungkinkan mengambil gambar Fushimi Inari Shrine tanpa ada wisatawan yang berlalu lalang. 

Kami tidak menuntaskan perjalanan 4 km menyusuri Fushimi Inari karena selain cukup melelahkan, lama-kelamaan keadaan menjadi lebih sunyi, dan langit sudah mulai menghitam. Akhirnya kami pun memutuskan untuk kembali. Saat kembali ke arah gerbang masuk, di situ terdapat kedai penjual makanan ringan yang harganya rata-rata JPY 500. Jika Anda merasa lapar setah naik-turun bukit, Anda bisa menikmati kudapan seperti takoyaki, fried chicken, orange juice, dan banyak lagi. 

Sudah pukul 07.00 pm saat kami kembali ke Kyoto Station. Terlalu “pagi” apabila kami kembali ke hotel. Kami pun iseng-iseng mengunjungi Aeon Mall, vendor yang sama seperti yang ada di Indonesia. Letak Aeon Mall sangat dekat dari Kyoto Station. Lumayan untuk menghangatkan tubuh sejenak di dalam mall itu. Kebetulan ketika tiba di Aeon Mall, perut sudah mulai “berisik” minta diisi makanan. Ada food court lantai paling atas. Harganya memang tidak bisa dibilang murah, tapi paling tidak harganya tidak melebihi JPY 1.000.

Setelah selesai makan, kami masih duduk-duduk sebentar di tempat duduk di luar Aeon Mall sambil menikmati pemandangan pohon-pohon yang dihiasi lampu-lampu. Sangat indah dilihat. Hal yang sederhana untuk dilakukan, namun entah mengapa pemandangan di sekitar Aeon Mall menjadi penutup yang manis di hari kelima ini.

Esok harinya kami haru bangun lebih pagi karena tujuan kami berikutnya adalah Kawaguchiko Lake. Tunggu posting-an saya selanjutnya ya.

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