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Japan 2016: Day 4

This article is a post I originally made on Facebook about our fourth day in Japan which took place on April 6, 2016. On the 1 year anniversary of our trip to Japan I decided to repost it here on my blog. The original post has been edited/cleaned up a bit but its spirit remains.

We chose Kyoto as the spot for our Airbnb because Kyoto Station is a hub for Japan Rail that would easily allow us to make day trips to a number of the surrounding cities. Nara was the first of those day trips. The plan was to visit the deer at the famous Nara Park and then on our way back to Kyoto we would stop at Inari Station and visit Fushimi Inari-taisha and hike through its thousand torii gates.

But first we needed some coffee and supplies to get our energy up! Being the coffee buffs they are Jarques and Tina led Elsie and I to a small coffee shop they found in downtown Kyoto called sentido. Afterwards we went to a nearby grocery store and bought some fried chicken, onigiri, some sort of bread chips that were coated in toffee and the biggest cream bun doused in chocolate we could find.

Now that we were gassed up we walked back to Kyoto Station and once again made good use of our JR passes by hopping on the Nara Line. Pro-tip: learn the difference between local and rapid trains so if you are traveling longer distances like we were you can get on the rapid trains which have the more comfortable seats. We arrived in Nara around 1pm and bee-lined it directly to the deer park. It is safe to say that we were absolutely smitten by all of the deer. I believe we spent over ¥1300 combined on wafers for those lucky SOBs.

After hiking through about half the park we headed back to Nara Station. However along the way we found the greatest thing ever, an owl cafe called Wata Wata. After seeing/petting 13 different types of owls (and even holding one) we made our way back to Nara Station and took the local Nara Line train to Fushimi Inari-taisha.

We arrived at Inari Station a little after 6pm and were greeted by an absolutely insane amount of tourists. Since we were losing the light we raced deep into the shrine, past as many tourists as we could, to take some pictures. Once the sun set we started the long hike up to the summit of the mountain and back down the other side. We hiked for over 90 minutes through all of the torii gates and it was worth every step.

At 8pm we boarded the local train back to Kyoto and walked home to our Airbnb to drop off our things. Having not eaten anything all day (with the exception of convenience store fried chicken) we headed to Ponto-chō alley to find some grub. This was where we had our first real miss with food in my opinion. It seems that Kyoto is not really big on sushi so the place we tried was more expensive and the same or less quality sushi in San Francisco. Oh well you can't win them all.

Being dead tired Elsie and I headed back to our Airbnb and crashed hard. Tomorrow was another day trip outside of Kyoto and we would need our rest.