In Kyoto: The Golden Temple

Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Temple. A beautiful structure gilded to the nines that can pull a crowd from all over the world. This beautiful site has seen a bit of turmoil in it’s day as everything around the pavilion was burnt down in the 1400s after the Onin war. Later in the 1950s, a monk burnt the pavilion to its bones. Today it is fully restored, beautifully kept and rightly so, a world heritage site. compressedphoebegill161025016It has a little bit of an Ikea vibe to it, by no means does it have meetballs and a desk you assemble yourself but it has a route and you are ushered on through. It is such a stunning area, the whole scene is perfectly manicured. I thought it would be like Plitvice National Park, where you could walk around and then come upon the gloriously gold building but unfortunately it’s not.  compressedPhoebeGill161025033.jpgI visited the area at 11am and there was already quite the queue forming. It only costs 400 yen to enter the site, so its pretty cheap. The gardens around the pavilion are beautiful, there are traditional buildings scattered around the area too and at the end of the walk there is food and stalls with trinkets.  compressedphoebegill161025059I think you have to go see it if you are in Kyoto but don’t expect it to be quiet or a place for a walk because it’s not that kind of place. So put it on the list of places to go!

Happy Travels!


In Kyoto: Shopping Arcades and Markets

I didn’t do too much research into the city of Kyoto before I left so I decided to walk and explore. I saw an opening with shops and went in and what I found was magic! One thing I loved about Japan was the fashion, people dress incredibly well, they have great neutral clothes with great fabric and cuts and I wanted everything if I could actually fit/afford them. (Japanese clothes run small for obvious reasons)

Teramachi and Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcades

There are two covered shopping arcades that run parallel to each other and they have restaurants, shops with clothes, art, furniture, everything you need to window shop and buy everything you need or want. The area also looks great! There are really beautiful shop fronts and little details that looks beautiful.phoebegill161025069phoebegill161025079phoebegill161025086

Nishiki Market

This narrow food market is incredible, there isn’t any room to move around, there are so many things to look at, smell and all of it looks so fresh! For any foodie, you have to have a look. Even me, the girl who grabs a handful of nuts once in a while when travelling, thought everything looked amazing!phoebegill161025093phoebegill161025094phoebegill161025099

I have been looking into more of the city and I’ve found even more places to see so I will just have to wait till next year to see them.

Happy Travels!


In Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Fushimi Inari Shrine. An incredible place that I had wanted to see for many years and I must say it didn’t disappoint. Sitting at the bottom of the Inari mountain starts the two hour meandering path up the mountain to the main shrine 233 meters above sea level. Inari is seen as the patron of business so the gates are donated by businesses for good luck an fortune in its endeavours. It is said that there are over 5,000 torii (gates) along the path which is incredible. As you walk it you don’t even realise how many there are. I did the entire trail and I thought there were hundreds not thousands! These are just some of 40,000 gates all over japan.phoebegill161024008Although it’s not a particularly strenuous climb the heat makes it more difficult and in Summer months it gets unbearably hot in Japan. In October it was about 24 degrees, which for an Irish girl was hot enough! Bring  water as at the top of the mountain I found that I had none left but there are vending machines at the main shrine so you wont shrivel from dehydration. phoebegill161024144Foxes are seen to be the messengers of the shrine so there are fox statues dotted around the sites. I really feel like this place was a good fit for me because not only are there foxes, my favourite little woodland creature, Inari is the god of rice and I love rice a lot, as in I’d like it for every meal. In all seriousness, this area is beautiful and peaceful, even with the mass of people, it was just so incredible that the first thing I do in Japan is seeing this fantastic site. phoebegill161024192It doesn’t have closing times and is free to explore. Go early and enjoy this incredible place. I noticed on the way down to the exit there were a lot more people so if you want a selfie with a free path you aren’t going to get it at lunch time. Also as the walk takes 2-3 hours in total go early to make the most of your day!

In Edinburgh: Calton Hill

Not only is this a great place to watch New Years fireworks but it’s great for a walk and to see another side of Edinburgh. Calton Hill is one of three dormant volcanic areas in Edinburgh. Pretty cool eh?phoebegill170101019You can see the monuments of Calton Hill from Princes Street, if you continue to the end of the shopping strip, you come to the entrance of the park so it is really accessible from the centre of Edinburgh. It’s a nice little park that’s not a very strenuous walk. phoebegill170101009There are a couple of observatories and monuments up on the hill for you to take a look at and get great pictures with but I think the best view is the look at Arthurs Seat. Look at all the tiny humans!phoebegill170101007The best thing for me is the views of Edinburgh. As you walk around there is a panoramic view of every bit of the city. You can see the gorgeous princes street with cars, trams and people milling around below. There is also the view of the Firth of Forth and of course Arthurs Seat. phoebegill170101013

In Edinburgh: The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile, the road that leads to Edinburgh castle, is in the middle of the oldest part of the city. This cobbled walk is full of history, medieval architecture and lots of things to do. There is something for everyone. phoebegill161231065

Landmarks Worth a Look

  1. Edinburgh Castle
  2. St Columba’s Free Church of Scotland
  3. Mercat Cross
  4. St Giles’ Cathedral
  5. Canongate Kirk
  6. Scottish Parliament Building
  7. Palace of Holyroodhouse

phoebegill161231073Fun Things To Do

  1. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
  2. The Royal Mile Market
  3. The Scotch Whisky Experience

There is also lots of places to eat including The Elephant Cafe, aka the Jk Rowling Cafe and it’s Scotland so there are lots of pubs. There is also The Hive, a club that sells cheap drinks and has free in days so really there is so much to do!

phoebegill161231083Edinburgh Castle is the main attraction at the end of the mile. I recommend going in and experiencing the views and different sections of the grounds. As you can see it gets really really busy so go early! You can also catch a beautiful sunset from up here. phoebegill161231088The Royal Mile is somewhere I will always gravitate to it’s beautiful and has a great energy.

Happy Travels!