I should have done this autumn version right after my trip, but my procrastination game strong, till now only able to write it out. I am not very sure if these places still remain the same or there are changes, here I share up my experience of Kyoto in autumn.
Read on the full itinerary: Japan Trip 2016: 10D9N Autumn in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara & Arima
Read also the Winter version: Things to do in Kyoto (Winter)
1. Savour all the great dishes in Nishiki Market 錦市場
Also known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, it is a narrow shopping street lined with hundreds of shops and restaurants. We managed to try a few delicious stuff over here such as Professor Takoyaki, Miki Keiran’s famous dashimaki, Konnamonja tofu doughnuts.
2. Snoopy Chaya for the Snoopy Lovers
Fans of snoopy can check out this Snoopy Chaya that is located inside this Nishiki Market. There are a variety of snoopy goods on the shelves. Be sure you are loaded with $ for all these cute goods.
Aside from buying the cute stuff, you can actually sit down and savour the traditional gozen dishes such as raw soy milk skin and tempura or Japanese desserts such as mitsumame with cute snoopy all over the dishes.
Snoopy Chaya (Kyoto Nishiki Branch) SNOOPY茶屋 京都・錦店
Kyoto Kyoutoshi Nakagyou-ku Nishikikoujiyanaginobamba Nishiwa Nakaoya-machi 480
3. Visit the pure water temple – Kiyomizudera
Literally known as Pure Water Temple, is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that projects out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. Visitors can get a magnificent view of numerous cherry and maple trees below which create a sea of spring and fall colours in each season respectively. The main hall was built without the use of nails, houses the temple’s primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand armed Kannon.
This was the view of autumn, very scenic with touches of red maple leaves.
By bus: Kyoto City Bus 100, 202, 206, 207 Kiyomizu-michi stop, about 10 mins uphill walk to the temple.
By train: 20 minutes’ walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line.
Entrance fee: ¥ 400
4. Stroll along the streets in Higashiyama
There are a lot of narrow lanes housed the wooden building and traditional shops in this area. Patrons can check out the local specialties such as kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, crafts and souvenirs here.
5. Eat the creamiest puff
Stumbled on this cream puff after visiting Kiyomizudera and we decided to give a try. Kiyomizu Kyoami is famous for its Yatsuhashi cream puff. The puff pastry is crispy and cinnamon in flavour, where its flavour resembles the Kyoto’s famous delicacy Yatsuhashi. Inside, the cream was fresh and creamy, both custard and matcha flavour were ultimately delicious.
1-262-2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
6. Mesmerize the shimmering beauty Kinkakuji
The Golden Pavilion is a Zen temple located in northern Kyoto. Its top two floors are covered with gold leaf. It is very elegant, standing ‘on’ the pond with its reflection shimmering on the surface of the water.
Opens daily from 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: ¥400
By bus: take bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto station to Kinkaku-ji michi bus stop.
7. Eat the bling bling ice cream!
After checking out Kinkaku-ji, we had this soft serve covered with gold leaf from Kinkaku Soft!
Kinkaku Soft is located right outside the beautiful Golden Pavilion. The matcha soft serve is made of stone-ground high quality matcha powder, freshest milk cream, topped with mini rice cake ball, sweet azuki beans, whipped cream, housed in a waffle cone covered with a washi paper, and finally covered with a piece of delicate shinning pure gold leaf!
Gold lipstick, anyone?
Me and my brother in our gold lips. It is claimed that eating pure gold can vitalize the left brain. I wish eating this can make me grow more money though. LOL.
Kinkaku Soft/ 金閣そふと
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Kita-ku, Kinugasanishi, Goshonouchicho 38-1
Opening hours: 11am – 5pm on weekdays; 11am – 5.30pm on weekends
By bus: take bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto station to Kinkaku-ji michi bus stop.
8. Food seeking in Pontocho Alley
Located near Kamogawa River, this small alley stretching from Sanjo-dori to Shijo-dori, is packed with restaurants offering a variety of cuisine, be it yakitori or authentic Kyoto cuisine, you may find everything in this alley.
9. Eat Shabu Shabu on the cold weather day
Recommended by a friend and we had our first try of shabu shabu here in Agotsuyu Shabu Shabu Yamafuku, which serves the authentic shabu shabu experience in Kyoto. To be honest, this shabu shabu is a very different from what we usually have back in our homecountry.
We ordered the Pork Shabu-shabu set which is priced at ¥1680 per pax. It comes with 100g of pork slices, lettuce, spinach, tofu, white leek, and soup stock, and also the Japanese beef Shabu-shabu set that is priced at ¥5000 yen comes with 150g of Japanese A4 Wagyu beef slices.
We were told that the soup was boiled with Flying Fish from Nagasaki Prefecture, and then soy milk was added into the base after removing the fish. During shabu time, we were asked to place the meat into the soup, wait patiently for it to be cooked without much swishing and moving. And… the soup is not for drinking but cooking the ingredients only.
Dosed it with chopped leeks and sauce provided. Delicious. We tasted the real flavour of each ingredient; the freshness, the essence, the real flavour!
Agotsuyu Shabu Shabu Yamafuku
187 Zaimokucho NakaGyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8017
Opens from 5pm to 12am
10. Chowing down the best gyoza from Chao Chao Gyoza
Seriously, this is the best gyoza I ever had! We took out a tray of gyoza just to fill up our tummies while waiting at the line for Agotsuyu Shabu Shabu Yamafuku.
Originated in Osaka and has stores all over Japan now.
16 pieces signature gyozaチャオチャオ餃子at only ¥600, which is quite a deal. The gyoza was a mouthful, thin yet succulent with pork fillings and made into crispy base. Also, Chao Chao Gyoza won the Japan Champion 2 years in a row!
Regretted for order only 1 tray, should have bought more! There are others bestseller fillings like shrimp, chicken, black pork, curry, beef and shiso wafu flavour to try on.
Chao Chao Gyoza
117 Ishiya-machi, Sanjo-dori, Kiya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
About 3 mins walk from Sanjo Station (Keihan Line)
11. Eat Tsujiri Soft Serve Parfait!
Anything that is labelled with limited time only will have my attention over. This parfait is only available during fall season.
12. Slurp up the Kyoto Ramen Takabashi
We randomly walked into a ramen house and found out this is a ramen house is established in 1947, serving the Kyoto specialty ramen – Chinese soba with clear tonkotsu shoryu soup base but rich and topped with roast pork slices.
13. Sink your teeth with 551 Horai pork bun and gyoza
One of the most popular barbeque pork bun stores in Osaka. The pork bun is stuffed with minced pork and minced onion, encased in a sweet fluffy bun while is gyoza is pretty succulent. Their stores are available everywhere in Kyoto and Osaka.
14. Pick up the fresh fruits from local supermarket.
I love Japanese fruits especially strawberries. It was November when I visited Kansai area in autumn, and strawberries were just in season. I seriously went mad picking up lots of half price strawberries from supermarket. Yes HALF PRICE! Here is a tip, check out the supermarket after 7pm and you will get lots of fresh goods at reduced price!
Here I got strawberries from Nagasaki and Fukuoka prefectures.
And these persimmons and grapes were from the market.
15. Shop in Teramachi and Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcades
These shopping arcades are the most popular shopping streets in Kyoto where u will be able to find everything under the roof especially souvenirs. Also Nishiki Tenmangu is located over here and Nishiki Market is branched off from here too.
16. Visit to the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
Whisky lovers should check out this birthplace of Japanese whisky. Here I got to try the old aged Yamazaki and Hibiki whiskeys, and many other rare pieces. Reservation is strictly required for touring the facility and whisky tasting. The tour is around 80 minutes at a fee of ¥1000.
Yamazaki is about 15 minutes away from JR Kyoto Station, and another 10 minutes’ walk to reach the facility.
Read full experience of mine here: Suntory Yamazaki Distillery
17. Walk through the tunnel of torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社
Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. Famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, so you will see the fox statues across the shrine grounds.
Located just outside JR Inari Station. The shrine can be reached in a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line.
18. Side trip to Uji, which is famous for its top notch wuality of green tea
And also Byodoin Temple on the 10 yen coin. Uji is about 20mins train ride away from JR Kyoto Station. You may check out the things you can do over here: Things to do in Uji
19. Continue chasing momiji in Arashiyama
Arashiyama need no much introduction because every tourist will head over here for its scenic autumn view and bamboo forest. I managed to catch the charming full red momiji in Jojakkoji Temple and was lucky to get a ride on Sagano Romantic train and mesmerized on the picturesque scenery along the journey.
You may check out the things you can do over here: Things to do in Arashiyama (Autumn)