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SONY DSCThe first city that I wanted to explore during my vacation in Japan is Kyoto. For more than 1000 years, Kyoto, a city in the central of Japan’s Honshu Island served as capital of Emperor of Japan before it is replaced by Tokyo. The city does not have its own airport thus to reach it, you can either take bus or JR Train from Osaka or Tokyo.

IMG_0520The first thing I did after I checked in was visiting Kiyomizudera Temple. It is the most celebrated temple in Kyoto. In the temple there is a wooden stage which is built above the hill side. From there you can see maple trees and cherry trees just down the hill and Kyoto City in the distance.  At the base of Temple Hall, you can find the Otowa Waterfall. The waterfall has 3 streams which believed has 3 different benefits for you: longevity, success, and fortune. But I did not drink water from any streams as I do not believe in such things :D. The natural scenery around the temple is so wonderful. It is worth to spend hours just to enjoy the calmness of the surrounding.

SONY DSCSONY DSCAround the temple you can find the busy district of Higasiyama. In the steep lane, you can find many shops sell souvenir unique to Kyoto or food which is local specialities.

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SONY DSCGion district is the next place I visited after Kiyomizudera Temple. The district is well-known for its Geisha. The district itself filled with many shops, restaurants and tea houses. If you are lucky enough, you can meet Geishas in the street who rush on their way to or from an engagement at a tea house. If you want to enjoy the live performance of Geisha, you can visit one of the tea houses in this area but you must have a deep pocket.

SONY DSCIf you visit Kyoto in April, you can have chance to enjoy the live performance of Geisha with more affordable price. You can buy a ticket to Miyako Odori show performed in the Gion Corner. You must go to the Gion Corner to check the schedule of daily performance and to buy ticket as online book is not available. If memory serves, the show is played thrice a day.

On my way back to hotel, I visited a Sento, a public bath house. It is like an Onsen but the source of the water is different. If water in Onsen comes from the hot natural offspring then water in Sento comes from the heated tap water. Either in Sento or in Onsen same rule applied: you must be naked. The male and female section is separated so the risk of voyeurism can be minimised. You can enjoy the hot water as long as you want but for me 20 minutes was enough. The hot water made me relax and it helped me more easier to fall into the deep slumber.

By visiting Sento, my first day in Kyoto was officially end.

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