Aside from Tokyo, Kyoto is one of the popular cities that travelers frequent to, especially if you opt to experience and see Japan’s traditional lifestyle and have a photo-op with geishas.s

Last March, I hopped on a plane and decided to do my first solo travel to the land of the rising sun. First on the itinerary is Kyoto, the city boasts of temples where you can see how the locals respect and preserve their culture and heritage.

From Manila, I took the afternoon flight to Osaka and reached Kansai Airport just before 9 PM. This trip gave me a lot of my firsts—first solo trip, first country that I have been two that has four seasons—so naturally, being the eager beaver that I am, I wandered around their clean and organized airport, and went to their bathroom to take my first ever #japanselfie.

And because I was so consumed in enjoying my sweet little time, I missed my bus to Kyoto. I waited for another 30 minutes, reached Khaosan Kyoto Theater at around midnight since I got lost finding my way, it was an experience, though. Seeing my hostel, neat, artsy with the most accommodating staff was such a relief. I didn’t feel like I was a tourist, I felt that I was one of them and I love it. I got to stay in a bed which they call capsule and it has everything that I can possibly need for the night–nightlight, an outlet, hooks for hanging your clothes and jewelries, pillows and comforters. Seeing it after losing my way in the city was one of the best feelings of the night.IMG_1969IMG_1970

My first full day in Kyoto was set for temple hopping, so I woke up early, had breakfast while talking to other tourists in our hostel’s common area and went on to see what Kyoto has in store.

Wandering around the city looking for the bus that will take me to the different temples on my list.DSC_0015

Finally found it! From the Kyoto station, this bus goes directly to the Higashimaya area where all the famous temples are located.DSC_0016

First on the list, Kiyomizu-dera Temple.DSC_0017


When I was there, the temple was being rehabilitated, but it was not an eyesore. It even gave the temple a new aura.IMG_2037

Next stop is the famous Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine. Don’t miss this shrine when you’re in Kyoto.DSC_0024IMG_2004

Prayers, wishes and dreams written in each of the bamboo sticks, in every object from their wishing well and in every paper and wooden planks are all over the place.DSC_0030DSC_0021IMG_2013DSC_0051

Ready to smile for a touristy photo despite of the long walks.IMG_2011

And a #fromwhereistand instagram photo.DSC_0025

Sakura! ❤ This trip also taught me to appreciate flowers and nature more, now, in all my trips, I always make sure I snap a photo of all those pretty blooms. They are so pretty, I can’t even.IMG_2045

This is my first time to see cherry blossoms that’s why I am so happy that my vacation was long enough to see it bloom up until it withered and fell to the ground. DSC_0043DSC_0052 DSC_0053

While walking up the temples, there are a lot of souvenir and food shops along the way, and they offer free taste, so if you are on a budget, enjoy the free taste of their local delicacies as it will sure fill you up on your way to the temples.DSC_0061 DSC_0076DSC_0078DSC_0067 DSC_0080DSC_0079DSC_0068

Ice cream on a rainy afternoon? Why not! I finally proved that ice creams are much better in cooler weather.DSC_0077DSC_0087

Chion-in Temple for my last stop. Called the Vatican of Pure Land Buddhism, this is one of the most popular temple in the city of Kyoto.DSC_0104DSC_0105  DSC_0107  IMG_2043Everything in Kyoto is just photogenic.DSC_0034DSC_0088DSC_0090 DSC_0091 DSC_0099 DSC_0103

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After Kyoto, I took the bullet train—another first—to Tokyo, and that, of course, deserves a separate blog post.

I only had one day to explore Kyoto and I wish I had more time but experiencing how it is like to be in a foreign country alone, dealing with language barrier, learning their culture and seeing those temples and shrines—that I only get to see in travel guides—up close and up front was really one for the books, truly one of those memorable travel moments of my life.