Hello, hello!! If any of you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably been like, “Elena, what the heck! You’re in Japan and have made NO blog posts about it!” Well, thank you for your concern, cherished followers.
I am indeed in Japan, Kyoto currently, and have been running around trying to make the most of my limited time here. That’s had me up at 8am and in bed at midnight, which makes for a very exhausted Elena. I’m currently sitting at Kyoto Station waiting for my Shinkansen (bullet train) to take me to Osaka, where I’ll spend two days before heading back to Tokyo.
Here are a few photos I’ve taken thus far:
Although Kyoto has been bitterly cold and I have been personally offended by their difficult public transportation, I am thinking back on these past two days fondly. I wanted to update you guys on my trip with a list of the things I’ve done (and enjoyed) in Kyoto, should you ever find yourself here or simply want to live vicariously through me.
Obviously, a major source of interest for me is local coffee shops. Before heading to any city, I look up the most popular coffee shops and then make an effort to find some lesser known, but equally impressive ones. These are what I found to be some of the best coffee shops in Kyoto.
An aesthetically pleasing coffee shop is one thing, but to have actually good-quality coffee on top of that is a whole other thing. Lucky for me, Walden Woods in the Shimogyo Ward, a mere minute walk away from my AirBnB, had both of those things. Nearly ever inch of this shop was white, mostly made of wood, and the upstairs was a perfect place to read a book and enjoy a pour over with some pleasant instrumental background music.
Address: Japan, 〒600-8194 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Sakaecho, 508-1
Elephant Factory Coffee
This is the exact kind of gritty and industrial coffee shop that I adore. Let me list of some of the things that made me fall in love with Elephant Factory Coffee: there was never more than 6 people there, it was open until 1 am, the cheesecake was the bomb dot com, they heated their water on an old-timey stove, and their bathroom smelled amazing. Heard enough? Go give it a try.
Address: 309 Bizenjimacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8023, Japan
Drip & Drop Coffee Supply
A cute little shop close to the Shinkyogoku shopping street, Drip & Drop is the best place for a caffeine boost while dropping them bills. It always sucks having to submit to crappy coffee just to keep yourself awake, and so I owe my thanks to this cafe for giving me that sweet sweet bean juice to get me through my evening without crashing.
Address: Japan, 〒604-8041 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Uraderacho, 594, 東入ル, 蛸薬師通
This is one of the most well-preserved district in Kyoto. Fully dressed Geishas wander the streets and are very interesting and beautiful to behold but, please, don’t make them uncomfortable my shoving your camera in their face. They’re just living their lives and were clearly annoyed by many of the tourists doing this. Gion is a nice place to wander around because most of the famous sites are within walking distance of one another. Also, nearly ever street is the perfect photo op. These were some of the places I checked out in Gion:
I got some damn good eats in Kyoto. The first was Wagyu Beef Gyukatsu, which was worth the price.
Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu
At Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu, they gave me the whole set up!! Tons of sauces to try: wasabi soy sauce, Japanese pepper and salt, Worcester sauce, curry sauce, a soft-boiled egg, and a Japanese radish citrus soy sauce. It was amazing.
Address: 529-2, Higashigawacho, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto
554 Year Old Udon Noodles!!
At Honke-Owariya, I had their classic udon noodles. They’ve been in business since 1465 and use the same recipes since day 1. Although the broth was a bit flavorless, I think that was my part based on what I ordered. The noods themselves were amazing and the shrimp tempura that came with it was absolutely the best I’ve ever had.
Address: 322, Niomontsukinukecho, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto
All in all, there’s a lot to see and do in Kyoto. I think two days was a good amount to give me a little introduction for sure. There’s still a lot more I want to see, like temples and the monkey park just out of town. Since one of my dear friends has family here, I’ve promised to make my way back to Kyoto some day.
Next stop, Osaka!