京都の葉 – The Leaves of Kyoto

After talking about how beautiful the fall leaves look in Kyoto around this time of year, a friend and I decided to book a last minute bus to Kyoto (which is about 3 hours from Tokushima) so we could fully experience the historic town.  Kyoto is known for its famous shrines: Fushimi Inari, Kinkakuji, and Ginkakuji, the imperial palace, the Nijo-jo castle and its delicious ramen.  I had visited Kyoto back when I studied abroad 2 years ago, but seeing it again was definitely refreshing and worth the trip.

We started our day by eating delicious kaiten sushi and renting bikes near the Kyoto station.  Our first destination was Fushimi Inari, which is a shrine of shrines located on the mountainside.  What makes this shrine unique is that each torii was donated by a different business in Japan.  The shrine was extremely lively with food vendors, inscriptions and statues of the deity fox, and visitors from all over the world.  We climbed the stairs of the shrine and go fantastic pictures of the different torii as well as the leaves changing color for the fall season.

On our way back, we stopped at the infamous Nintendo HQ.  Since it was on a Sunday, we were able to go through the gate of the building and get closeup pictures of the gaming company, which was like a dream come true for me!!

The fun times didn’t stop there.  Next we went to Gion-ji for shopping and food, and stopped by Cafe 犬猫人 (Cat Cafe Wan Nyan Chu) to get some soda and feed cats.  The cafe was decently priced (1000 yen for 30 minutes and a drink included) and was conveniently located in the alley of the main shopping district where H&M and the major pachinko machines are.  The cafe required no reservation and the staff and cats were super friendly.  I had a blast cuddling with them and watching them climb across the structures of the place.  I highly recommend going here!  Look how cute they are:

After more walking around and some crazy shopping shenanigans, we ended our night at a British pub called Pig & Whistle.  When I walked in the door I was greeted by a pig holding a Jack Daniels bottle.  I instinctively texted one of my British friends and asked him if this was typical for a British pub, as this was my first time ever being in one.  He said yes it was, only in Britain they have real pigs.  Sarcastic or not, that is good information to know.  I enjoyed some strawberry milk with vodka, though the menu did have some interesting choices (“British Pride” and “Bishop’s Finger”).  I definitely recommend this pub as well because it has a warm staff and is foreigner-friendly.  You won’t find this type of atmosphere (with pigs) anywhere else!

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