Tales from Japan – Kyoto

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Kobe
After visiting the beautiful castle I hopped onto the train to head to the next destination – Kobe, yummy BEEF :)Famous for the legendary Kobe beef, it is, in fact, an important port city and one of Japan’s ten largest cities.Kobe Chinatown is just around the corner. The juicy pork oily buns have a rich filling and a thin white dough layer, they are an absolute must-try. Along the street are numerous Chinese family restaurants, as well as vendors touting Chinese snacks.A few other popular things to do in Kobe is taking a stroll in the waterfront Meriken Park, and going on a sake tasting tour in one of the breweries.
Takayama
Culture and saké: Takayama (2 days) Kampai! Takayama is home to dozens of saké breweries, and is the place to sink down jugs and jugs of this rice-based beverage. If you don’t like the taste that much, try and start with some warm saké after a day of exploring — nice, right? To fill up the day before boozing hour, visit the morning markets, explore the old town on foot, and snap pics of the traditional wooden houses and old-school shops. Or maybe spend an afternoon hanging out in a cafe, sipping on tea and writing postcards while listening to jazz records. Oh, and make sure you hop on the train back to Tokyo during daylight hours: the ride is stunning.
Matsumoto
Matsumoto is a lot more touristy when compared to Hakuba as it is the second largest city in the Nagano Prefecture. Home to one of the oldest castles in the country along with some excellent shrines and museums, it morphs into a cherry blossom heaven during the months of March and April. While it is more of a university town, the traditional edibles available in Matsumoto, especially the 'Soba noodles', are loved by locals and travellers in equal measures.

About Kyoto

Activate JR Rail pass- Day 68:30am: Head west to Arashiyama by taxi, train or bus.9:00am: Enter Tenryu-ji Temple and explore the temple.10:00am: Leave Tenryu-ji Temple by the north gate, which will bring you into the famed Bamboo Forest. Explore the Bamboo Forest for about half an hour.10:30am: Leave the Bamboo Forest and enter Okochi-Sanso Villa.11:30am: Leave Okochi-Sanso Villa and return to central Arashiyama. Eat a simple lunch of noodles or rice in one of the shokudo (simple eateries) on the main strip.12:30pm: Take a taxi over to Kinkaku-ji Temple, the famed “Golden Pavilion” in Northwest Kyoto.1:00pm: Explore Kinkaku-ji Temple. Yes, it will be crowded at this time, but it almost always is.2:00pm: Take a taxi down to Daitoku-ji Temple and enjoy the peace and quiet of a small subtemple there. Consider Koto-in Temple
Kyoto

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