Kyoto (京都市)

On this page you can find general information about the beautiful city of Kyoto, from its history to learning how to get around.


Kyoto practical information:

Travel Diaries

Discover the best activities and tours in Kyoto with Civitatis:

What to do in Kyoto


Kyoto. Practical guide

Everything you need to know about Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.


1. How to get to Kyoto


The train is the most common way to get to Kyoto, since it does not have its own airport.

We will arrive at Kyoto station, a modern (and gigantic) building inaugurated in 1997 to commemorate the 1,200th anniversary of the founding of the city. The station has 15 conventional tracks and 4 high-speed tracks, as well as 33 platforms.

The station is located in the center of the city and a multitude of bus taxi lines depart from the entrance and includes a metro station.

At the station we can also find the tourist information office.

Kyoto station website:


The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport. The easiest way to get to Kyoto from the airport is by train.

The direct train is the Haruka Express. It takes around 1:15 a.m. and the price is 3,430 yen (€26.30) but it is included in the JRPass.

You can purchase the JR Pass and receive it comfortably at home clicking here:

Japan Rail Pass

The frequency is every 30 minutes, leaving from Kansai to Kyoto between 6:30 and 22:16; and from Kyoto to Kansai between 6:37 and 22:50.

Plano Haruka Express
Haruka Express

More information at:

For more comfort you can hire a transfer service to the door of your hotel:

Transfer in Kyoto

How to get around Kyoto


It is the most convenient way to travel around Kyoto. They arrive at any point in the city. The price is always fixed: ¥230 (€1.76) for adults and ¥120 (€0.92) for children.

There are certain lines that operate on weekends at dawn, such as lines 204 and 205 (which run through the most touristic area) and their price is just double: ¥460 for adults and ¥240 for children.

There is also a day pass. The price is ¥600 (€4.60) for adults and ¥300 (€2.30) for children. You can buy it on the bus from the driver or in vending machines at the train station stops.

The pass is valid only for the day it is validated, not for 24 hours. That is, if you buy it and validate it on July 20 at 2 p.m., it is valid until 11:59 p.m. on July 20.

The bus is accessed through the back door and exits through the front. When you arrive at your stop, you insert the bill and the exact money in coins into a machine next to the driver. If you don’t have change, don’t worry, you can change money in another machine that is in the same place. If you have the 1 day pass, just show it to the driver.

Kyoto City Bus website:


The Kyoto subway consists of only 2 lines, the Tozai (東西線) in green and the Karasuma (烏丸線) in red. The Tozai line runs through the city from north to south and the karasuma from east to west.

The metro runs between 5:00 and 23:00. The price of the ticket depends on the length of the journey you are going to make. These range from 220 to 360 yen (€1.69 – €2.76) for adults, and between 110 and 180 yen for children. There is also a day pass, which costs the same as the bus pass and works the same.

The truth is that the Kyoto subway is going to be very impractical for us and, surely, we will not use it.

Kyoto City Subway website:


We won’t be able to use the JR trains for long, but it is very convenient to go from the train station to Arashiyama with the JR San-In line in about 15-20 minutes, much less than by bus.


The taxi in Kyoto is extremely expensive and, unless it is necessary because it is very late at night and there is no bus service, it will be very strange that we take it.


Japan 2018: Kyoto – Miyajima – Okayama – Osaka

We continue with our second trip to Japan.

July 19th

Early morning and the train station. We take the shinkansen back to Kyoto at 9:08 in the morning. At 9.45 we arrive and we go directly to the hotel to see if we could leave our things. The chosen one was the Orient Gojozaka, where we stayed for a week in 2016. It is very well priced and is a small apartment with a kitchen, a desktop PC in the room with internet connection and, most importantly, a washer and dryer.

Remember to always travel with travel insurance. With IATI, specialists in travel insurance, you have a 5% discount for being our reader.

Upon arrival at the accommodation, at reception they told us that there was already a room ready that if we wanted to check-in now. Marvelous! We settled in and went to Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺).

The Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺 ) is located in Higashiyama next to the Ryozen Kannon temple and is one of the essential temples in Kyoto. It was founded in 1605 by Kita-no-Mandokoro as a memory of her husband, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Despite the heat, a very pleasant walk through its gardens is made, visiting the many pavilions of the temple and its small bamboo forest.

As soon as we leave the temple we find the Kodai-ji Sho museum (高台寺掌美術館), a small museum with old items and paintings. It is very curious and with air conditioning.

At the exit we went for a walk through the neighborhood until we reached a bus stop where we took one to the Heian Shrine (平安神宮). This sanctuary is another of the essentials of Kyoto, especially for the well-known and gigantic entrance Torii.

Despite the heat, a very pleasant walk through its gardens is made, visiting the many pavilions of the temple and its small bamboo forest.

As soon as we leave the temple we find the Kodai-ji Sho museum (高台寺掌美術館), a small museum with old items and paintings. It is very curious and with air conditioning.

At the exit we went for a walk through the neighborhood until we reached a bus stop where we took one to the Heian Shrine (平安神宮). This sanctuary is another of the essentials of Kyoto, especially for the well-known and gigantic entrance Torii.

The Shinto shrine was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the city of Heiankyō, to honor Emperor Kammu as the kami, or god of the city. There was a part under construction but you could see most of it (from shadow to shadow).

After the hot walk we went straight to eat at Ramen Miyako restaurant, which, as its name suggests, is a ramen restaurant. We discovered it in 2016 by chance and it’s possibly the best ramen I’ve ever had, so we have no hesitation in going back. You may have to queue but it’s worth it.

On the way out we ate some kakigori, traditional ice creams at the Cha-Cha ice cream parlor very close to the hotel.

After the refreshing break, we took the JR San-in Line from Kyoto Station to Sagano-Arashiyama Station. We wanted to see the Arashiyama Monkey Park which in 2016 we had to discard due to lack of time. Bad luck was upon us and it closed at 4:30 p.m. and there was barely half an hour left, so we have to leave it for a future trip.

We dedicated ourselves to walking through the area contemplating the Togetsu-Kyo Bridge (渡月橋), built in the Jowa period (834-848) is the most famous bridge in Arashiyama, which crosses the Katsura River. From it you can perfectly contemplate the change of seasons during the year, from the momiji to the cherry blossoms.

We continue the pleasant walk through the area until we end up at the Tenryu-ji Temple (天龍寺), one of the essentials of Kyoto. Built in 1339, it is one of the 5 most important Rinzai in Kyoto. It is next to the Arashiyama bamboo forest and is perfect to combine both visits. We arrived after hours and the pavilions were closed but access to the temple grounds was open. The enclosure is wonderful and has spectacular views of the mountains.

Tenryu-ji Temple (天龍寺)

After the visit we took the train back. We went up to the roof of Kyoto station, which has truly spectacular views.

Kyoto Tower

It was starting to be dinner time so we took a bus to Pontocho. There we ate some noodles in a place that we discovered in 2016. A place that, despite being in the heart of tourism, is very cheap and quite shabby and we discovered it because there were only workers eating inside. I couldn’t say the name since the sign is in Japanese and it’s not on google maps. On maps you can locate it because it is next to a bar called “moon walk Shijo Kiyamachi”. Here I leave a photo of the restaurant entrance.

The place is very small, barely 7 or 8 people can fit in, but it is worth waiting a bit because they are delicious.

After filling our stomachs, we took a walk through Pontocho and Gion and took the opportunity to see the Yasaka Sanctuary at night, which is spectacular. From there to the accommodation taking a walk to go to bed early because the next day we had to get up early and a hard day awaited us.

Along the way we discovered a large supermarket called Fresco. It was very cheap and open 24 hours. As it was very late, I already had many discounted products. We took the opportunity to buy breakfast for the next day, several sweets that were greatly reduced because they expired the next day.

July 20th

Today is hiking. We do the route that connects the villages of Kibune with Kurama, in the mountains of northern Kyoto.

We got up very early and went to the Kiyomizu-Gojō station, which is the closest to the accommodation. There we took the private Keihan Main Line to Demachiyanagi station where we changed to the Eizan Main Line (also private) to Kibuneguchi station. In total about 45 min of travel and 700 yen (€5.63). As good foreigners, we are wrong about the price. As soon as we got off at the station, a company employee asked us for our ticket and sent another man to pay the difference. As it was basically a halt, there was no price adjustment machine like in other stations.

From the station we took a walk (you can get there by bus) to the Kifune-jinja Shrine (貴船神社). It’s about 2 km but the walk through the forest is very pleasant and at that time it wasn’t (yet) too hot, although it wasn’t too good vibes to see signs warning of bears along the way.

The Kifune-jinja Shrine (貴船神社), founded in the year 1055 and is dedicated to Takaokami no Kami, god of water.

In summer, in the surroundings of the temple along the river, numerous restaurants are installed on its shore. We couldn’t take advantage of them because it was too early to eat.

The temple is nestled in a truly spectacular wooded environment and it is 100% recommended to visit it, in addition, admission is free. There we bought some omikuji or fortune papers that became visible with the water, you had to put the paper on the water of the stream that passed through the temple and the message appeared in Japanese, but, very modern, it had a QR code on it. the one who gave you the English translation.

After visiting the shrine, we set off towards Kurama. To do it we have to go to the red bridge and when we cross it we find the Nishi no mon (西の門) entrance gate, where you have to pay 300 yen (€2.41) to enter the route.

From there begins a good set of stairs through the lush forest, which becomes hard with the heat and humidity but is spectacular.

After a long time climbing the stairs, we arrive at a landing where the Oku-no-in Mao-den (奥の院魔王殿) temple is located. There are some benches where we sit down to rest a bit. While they were sitting down I took out a small fan that connects to the mobile and on the next bench there were two gentlemen (quite old) who began to laugh at me. And it only occurs to me to tell them in Spanish: “what you have is envy.” I think they imagined what I told them because the four of us began to laugh out loud.

Oku-no-in Mao-den (奥の院魔王殿)

We continue up a bit more and arrive at the small temple Sōjō-ga-dani Fudō-dō (僧正ガ谷不動堂) dedicated to Fudo, one of the Buddhist gods of light. There we rest a little bit to continue climbing a little more.

We pass through the famous walk of the cedar roots (Kinone-michi (木の根道)) and begin the descent passing through the Jizo-do temple (地蔵堂), with beautiful views, and the natural water source Ushiwakamaru no chikaramizu (牛 若丸の力水) which was very fresh. And leaving behind some warnings to watch out for bears, snakes and giant hornets.

Going down a little more, we arrive at the Kurama-dera Temple (鞍馬寺), the main visit on the route. The temple was founded by one of the disciples of the Chinese monk Ganjin. During the Heian period it was a very popular temple. It belonged to Tendai Buddhism for a long time, but in 1949 it was established as an independent temple of the Kurama Buddhist school.

The visit must be taken with time because the temple is beautiful and has spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. From its viewpoint you can see the wooded sea that surrounds the temple.

There we made a good stop on the way. We bought some cookies and soft drinks and rested taking advantage of the haven of peace that was the complex (at least that day).

Kurama-dera Temple (鞍馬寺)
Views from the temple

We continued descending calmly towards Kurama although already a little lighter since it was almost 4 in the afternoon and my stomach was beginning to complain.

We arrived at Kurama and we found a big problem: the few places to eat were closed and there were no combins or anything. And now that? Well, hold on until you get to Kyoto, because before you had a bath in the open-air onsen of Kurama.

Kurama Tengu

To get to the onsen you can walk about 15 minutes, or take a free shuttle bus from the train station parking lot that runs every 10 minutes. We chose the second option since with the heat and an empty stomach things were complicated.

In the Onsen you can use the entire bath for 2,500 yen (€20.11) or just the outdoor bath (rotenburo) for 1,000 yen (€8). If you stay at the ryokan, admission is free. We choose the rotenburo.

Before entering there is a booth where you pay 1,000 yen (€8). Right there you can take some towels so there is no need to carry them from home. The small face towels are 300 yen (€2.41) and you can keep them, and the big ones are 400 yen (€3.20) and those are rented, you have to return them.

The bathrooms are spectacular. In the middle of the forest with stunning views of the surrounding forest. In winter with the snow it has to be a real blast. The only “downside” is that it is very touristy and there were too many western tourists (like us hahaha).

Entrance to the rotenburo

About an hour and a half later we decided to go back to Kyoto for an early dinner that we still hadn’t eaten.

A little shower and a walk along Shijo-dori street and through its shotengai and a dinner based on grilled eel in a Sukiya. And soon to bed you had to get up early again.

July 21st

Today we played a destination that we already visited in 2016 but that we lacked things to see. It’s so impressive that you had to go back: Miyajima.

It is an island south of Hiroshima in the Seto Inland Sea. Known for its impressive floating Torii at Itsukushima Shrine.

If you have little time to visit the island and you don’t want to sleep there, you can always hire a guided excursion from Hiroshima:

We got up very early and took the shinkansen at 8 in the morning. At 9:56 we arrived in Hiroshima and changed to the Sanyo line (via Iwakuni) which left at 10:15 and arrived at Miyajimaguchi station at 10:43. We passed a combini on the way to the ferry and got on the JR ferry (included in the JR Pass) at 10:55. At certain times of the day, the outward journey of the ferry is lengthened a bit and passes by the great Torii to be able to admire and photograph it.

As we got off the ferry we went directly to the ryokan where we were going to sleep that night. The chosen one was the Sakuraya hotel, very close to the ferry station. Very comfortable and with a very simple onsen but, like all, it is a great pleasure.

We left our things and ran towards the Daishō-in temple (大聖院). One of the most important temples of the Shingon Buddhist sect. The temple area is very large and with many stairs, but you can walk very well under the shade of the trees, visiting the different buildings. I would say that it is a must visit in Miyajima.

After visiting the temple, it was time for the main visit for which we had returned to Miyajima two years later: climbing Mount Misen.

We headed for the cable car but, instead of going through the town, we went through the Momijidani park enjoying the scenery. The price of the cable car is 1,000 yen (€8) one way and 1,800 yen (€14.40) round trip.

Already along the way we anticipated that the excursion was going to be surprising. We first got on a tiny four-seater cable car in which only the two of us were going. The views from this first cable car were truly wonderful, through the lush forest of the island.

Halfway there we changed to a larger cable car and in which we were going at least 10 people from which part of the Seto Inland Sea could be seen and they were giving information in Japanese through a loudspeaker. A real past.

The cable car leaves us at an information center where there are drink machines (of course) and a restaurant (not expensive) with incredible views.

Outside the center, there are several viewpoints to admire the very very cool views of the Seto Sea.

From here, we begin the climb on foot to the top of Mount Misen. The path is almost all a path with quite irregular steps but relatively simple and very beautiful. On google it says that it takes about 20 minutes but, I don’t know if because of the heat, it took us about an hour.

On the way we pass by the Misen Hondo Hall, where Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect, stayed for 100 days to meditate. During those days, through an ascetic ceremony, he lit a fire by burning goma-gi. That flame lives on to this day 1,200 years later in the Reikado hall. With that same flame the flame of peace in Hiroshima was lit.

The hall is also known as the sanctuary of lovers because of the eternal flame that symbolizes eternal love.

Misen Hondo Hall

After a little rest in the shade and a bottle of cold water, we continue up to the top passing through the Sankido hall, dedicated to three ogres with wisdom, fortune and exorcism; but also to home security and business prosperity.

On the way we pass through the Kannondo and Monjudo halls. The first to promote easy childbirth and the second to succeed in studies.

A little further up we pass the Fudo-iwa rock, where there is a statue of Fudo Myoo, protector of the Shingon Buddhist sect, and the Kuguri-iwa rock, which forms an arch through which you have to go through to continue the path.

A little further up we finally reached the top of the mountain. There is a viewpoint from which there are truly spectacular 360º views. You can see the Seto Inland Sea, the coast of Honsu and even the city of Hiroshima. In addition, in the viewpoint there are bathrooms, wifi and a small information desk. It was really worth going up.

We rested for a while in the viewpoint to the shade and we got ready to go down. For this we decided to do the whole tour on foot. Despite being down, it is quite hard, since there are about 3 kilometers in which almost all the time is going down stairs. We ended up with busted knees. But the trail is wonderful, you come across a temple and some charming little corners with a bench so you can rest admiring the views.

Throughout the trail, as in other hiking trails we had done in Japan, there were signs warning that there were poisonous snakes, deadly poisonous Mamushi vipers. Rigorous photo and walk. It’s all laughter and joy until you come across one and shit yourself, and instead of standing still and waiting for it to happen as they tell you, you jump up and run.

With the scare in the body you keep going down. When you start to calm down after a while PAM! Other. On this occasion, already psyched up, if we stay still to wait for him to leave. So as advice, pay attention and be careful.

Approximately after an hour and a half we reach the town. It was almost 4 in the afternoon and we still hadn’t eaten. It was difficult to find an open place to eat at that time but after trying several restaurants, we finally managed to eat a katsudon and a tonkatsu chicken.

After eating we checked in at the ryokan and took our first relaxing bath in the onsen. Very quiet since at that time it was empty.

After the bath we went for a walk and to watch the sunset with the great Torii. This time we coincided with high tide, unlike when we were in 2016.

It is a truly spectacular sunset. It is said that it is one of the most beautiful in the world and, for the moment, it is the most beautiful that I have seen.

After dark, we took the ferry to buy some dinner in a combini next to the station and on the way we went back.

We ate quietly and went for a night walk. At night the town breathes absolute tranquility. Without cars and only with some tourists who spent the night on the island like us. What a pity that the night ended because it was a magical walk, but you had to get up early. After the night walk, a last bath in the onsen of the ryokan, and to rest.

Find the best activities and tours in Miyajima with Civitatis:

July 22nd

It was time to get up early again. We took the 8.40 ferry and at 9.09 the JR Sanyo line to Hiroshima. There we changed to the shinkansen at 9.54. It was going to burst and we had to sit separately in different carriages, but since the destination was Okayama 40 minutes away, it wasn’t much of a problem either.

At 10:34 we arrived in Okayama. We left our bags in a locker at the station that cost us 700 yen (€5.60) and we got on the tram to the crow, the black castle of Okayama (岡山城). Then we found out that we could have saved a few yen and walked since it was so close.

We got off the tram and took a nice walk along the banks of the Asahi River to the castle complex.

Okayama Castle, called the crow because of the black color of the building, was built in 1597 by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Over the years it deteriorated and some of its 35 towers fell due to lack of maintenance.

During the bombings of the Second World War, almost everything that was left standing burned. Of the original building, only the foundations, parts of the wall and the observation tower of the moon remain. The main tower that can be visited today was rebuilt in 1966.

After visiting the castle, we went back (this time on foot) to the train station. We got on the shinkansen at 12:35. We reached shin-Osaka 49 minutes later and went directly to the hotel. It was difficult for us to find it since the wrong address came in booking and without data on the mobile … After about half an hour walking around we found it. It is the APA Hotel Higashi Umeda Minami Morimachi Ekimae. Recently inaugurated and, in addition, with breakfast included. Like almost all the hotels in which we have stayed in Japan on the two trips, the room is small but very clean and even elegant.

We left our things and rested a bit while I searched the internet for a place to eat. The chosen one was a small okonomiyaki restaurant called Yukari tensan in a shotengai near the hotel. As soon as you enter, you have to take off your shoes and leave your shoes at the entrance. The okonomiyaki was really spectacular, it was quite a discovery. The meal cost us 2,420 yen (€19.38) for two okonomiyakis and a beer.

After eating we walked through the shotengai towards the Osaka Tenman-gu Shrine (大阪天満宮) shrine. A famous (and touristy) Shinto shrine dedicated to Sugawara Michizane built in 1845. We coincided with the Tenjin festival, one of the most famous in Japan that is celebrated from the end of June to July 25. In fact, we were able to see a small female “procession” carrying a small throne through the shotengai the next day.

Osaka Tenman-gu Shrine (大阪天満宮)

We took a short walk around the shrine and took the subway to Ebisuchō station for a night walk through the Shinsekai (新世界) neighborhood. Osaka’s entertainment district par excellence, with the Tsutenkaku tower (通天閣) as its flag, with its 103 meters is one of the symbols of the city.

The Tsutenkaku Tower (通天閣), was built in 1912 as part of an amusement park. In 1943 a serious fire left it badly damaged and it was dismantled and rebuilt in 1956 by the Hitachi company.

After World War II, Shinsekai gradually deteriorated to become the most dangerous and poorest area in all of Japan. It seems that it is still considered dangerous but we did not think so, at least the area of the tower and the restaurants. It is very curious to walk through its lively streets full of restaurants with impressive ornate facades to attract the attention of passers-by.

After an exhausting walk among so many people, we decided to go to the Dotonbori area for a night walk in the area and have dinner at a restaurant that we had booked online.

We had dinner at a small teppanyaki restaurant that serves Kobe beef. It’s called Wanomiya and I can’t say the price since it was a birthday gift they gave me. We took two menus and the meat was to cry. What a delicious thing. The cook was giving us advice on how to eat it, it was spectacular even the vegetables. Will have to go back.

After dinner we took another little walk around Dotonbori and went back to sleep.

Encuentra las mejores actividades para hacer en Osaka con Civitatis:

July 23rd

Today is excursion. We got up very early and as we had breakfast included in the hotel, we took a good look at the buffet and left for the station.

At 8.25 we got on the train to Shin-Osaka and there we changed to the shinkansen at 8.39 to Himeji, where we arrived at 9.15 in the morning. At the station there was a small exhibition about the Nada No Kenka Matsuri (held in October). In it you can see some photographs and one of the thrones that they take out during the festival.

We left the station and walked along the avenue that leads to Himeji Castle (姫路城). It is a small walk of 1 km. and it can be done quietly on foot.

Himeji Castle (姫路城), was the first place in all of Japan to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site. It is one of the 12 original castles that remain in Japan and is one of the most spectacular in the country. It is worth dedicating a morning to explore it.

After spending the morning visiting Himeji castle we went back to Osaka to take the train to Kii-Katsuura.

That day the heat was really unbearable, waiting for the train to Kii-Katsuura we were on the verge of collapse, infernal heat on the platform and the station hall had no air conditioning. Later, when we hooked up Wi-Fi, whatsapp messages began to arrive from Spain that if we were okay, that they had seen that we were in Japan in the middle of a heat wave and that on that particular day, the highest temperatures in the history of Japan had been recorded, and it was in Osaka as well. It really was hell. To make matters worse, the train that had to leave at 5:23 p.m. was almost half an hour late.

The train finally arrived and, what a thing, it was a panda bear! The train was almost empty and air conditioned. As soon as we get on and before sitting down, to change our clothes and clean up a bit to travel as comfortable as possible. We had 4 hours of rest in the cool until our destination. Although we were somewhat worried when we saw the instructions on what to do in the event of a tsunami in the seat pocket. Of course, explained by a panda bear.

Around 9:30 p.m. we arrived at Kii-Katsuura. It is a small coastal town, which is the tuna mecca in Japan and, in addition, it is one of the gateways to the Kumano Kodo route, the most important pilgrimage route in Japan. Although the Kumano Kodo is really a network of roads through Japan of about 1,200 km.

As soon as we left the small station we went to the hotel. It’s the Charmant Hotel, a small independent hotel run by a fairly elderly lady who was really lovely. Despite only speaking Japanese, she managed to explain everything to us about the Kumano Kodo route. Where to catch the bus and the line, where to get off, what to visit, where to catch the bus back… She also recommended where to eat the next day. In the fridge she leaves you some juices and water for free and some sweets. In addition, in the afternoon he invites you to a sweet bean soup very typical of the area.

We left our things in the room and went to a nearby familymart to buy some dinner, since everything was closed in the town at that time. The truth is that it seemed like a ghost town and it was not 10 at night.

On the way back, have dinner and go to sleep, it was going to be a hard day.

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Mount Nokogiri or Nokogiriyama (鋸山)

Today we are going to talk a little more in depth about Mount Nokogiri (鋸山), a beautiful excursion from Tokyo. I think it’s the one I liked the most (so far). His thing is to get up early and go early since the road is long and slow to get there.

Nokogiriyama (鋸山) is a 330-meter mountain on the western coast of the Bōsō Peninsula in southern Chiba Prefecture. Its name means mountain range. It faces the Uraga Channel, the waterway that connects Tokyo Bay and Sagami Gulf. The distinctive features of Mount Nokogiri are its sawtooth-shaped ridges (hence its name). These were created by the extraction of building stone during the Edo period.

Stretching along the slopes of the mountain is Nihonji Temple (日本寺), a Sōtō Zen Buddhist temple (曹洞宗). It was built in the year 725, which makes it one of the oldest temples in the Kantō region.

The temple complex is extensive and consists of multiple areas. A network of walking trails connects the areas that will take us a whole morning to explore and enjoy.

Here we leave you a map taken from the official website of the Nihonji Temple (in Japanese):

Nihonji Temple (日本寺)

It was inaugurated on June 8, 725 by Emperor Shōmu Tennō and the priest Bosatsu Gyōki (行基). He first belonged to the Hosso sect, then to the Tendai sect, and then to the Shingon sect. It became the Sōtō Zen sect during the reign of the third shōgun Tokugawa Iemitsu when it became a center of Zen practice.

In the Kantō region, Nihon-ji is the only Nara Period temple built by imperial decree (such temples were known as chokugansho (勅願所)). Some ancient documents say that the emperor donated 18 tons of gold to the temple. An imperial tablet written by the emperor himself and a scroll depicting 33 Buddha images personally embroidered by Empress Kōmyō.

According to the historical stone monuments that still exist today, the temple consisted of seven shrines, twelve monastic buildings and one hundred lodges for priests.

The temple’s fame reached its peak in the Edo period (1603-1868), especially under the rule of the third shōgun, Tokugawa Iemitsu. It was in 1774 that Guden (愚伝), the head priest of Nihon-ji, expanded the temple and made Nokogiriyama into a sacred mountain. The Nihon-ji Daibutsu and the 1,500 arhats were added to the southern slope in the same period. The temple suffered considerably in the aftermath of the Meiji Restoration, when the haibutsu kishaku (廃仏毀釈), an anti-Buddhist movement, resulted in extensive destruction of temple property. Many of the arhats were beheaded, but later restored.

Sculpture of an Arhat

The main deity of the temple is Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai (Medicine Buddha). Originally revered solely by ruling sovereigns and judicial elites for his own personal benefits (to cure life-threatening diseases), Yakushi would later become the central deity in 8th-century rites to ensure the well-being of the entire kingdom. In the early 9th century, the deity was also called upon to appease vengeful spirits that cause calamities. The main feature is that he has a medicine bottle in his left hand.

Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai is said to heal war wounds, so numerous military commanders have visited this temple. After losing the Battle of Mount Ishibashi, Minamoto no Yoritomo prayed for luck at Nihonji Temple.

Immediately after the start of the Kamakura Shogunate, Minamoto no Yoritomo set about demolishing all Japanese temples that were in disrepair, and rebuilt the Yakushi Honden in the first year of Yowa (1181). Nihonji Temple, which was completely renovated by Yoritomo, would be devastated again due to the continuous fire of the second half of the Kamakura Shogunate, but Takashi Ashikaga will rebuild it again in the 14th century. It was also rebuilt again in the 16th century by the Satomi clan, the local warlords of Awa Province.

Visiting Mount Nokogiri

The most common and popular entrance is the one that is made through the cable car located in the city of Kanaya.

It is convenient to bring water since we will only find water in the vending machines that are next to the Big Buddha and next to the cable car exit.

The only public baths are also very close to the Big Buddha.

The entrance fee (2020) is ¥600 for adults and ¥400 for children.

Summit Area (山頂エリア)

We entered from the cable car station, where there are vending machines for drinks and a small restaurant.

From this point we have spectacular views of the area surrounding Kanaya and of Hota.

From here starts the path that leads to the door where we pay our entrance and they give us a map and an informative brochure.

We climbed about a million steps and arrived at the spectacular and gigantic 30-meter sculpture of Hyaku-Shaku Kannon (百尺観音). Although it looks like it has been here for centuries, it was carved between 1960 and 1966 to commemorate the victims of World War II and traffic accidents. He is revered as a deity to protect the safety of nautical, air, and land transportation.

Hyaku-Shaku Kannon (百尺観音)

After climbing about another million steps in the tremendously humid July heat, we arrived at the Jigoku Nozoki (地獄のぞき) viewing area, the “View of Hell”. The most famous and spectacular viewpoint in Nokogiriyama, it offers stunning views of the Bōsō Peninsula and the Uraga Channel. Across the bay, you can see the Miura Peninsula and, on clear days, Mount Fuji. It consists of a small ledge on the mountain from which there are truly spectacular views while you seem to be suspended in the air. You have to queue to gain access since, from the front, you can take some very cool photos at the viewpoint.

Jigoku Nozoki (地獄のぞき), the “View of Hell”

Rakan Area (羅漢エリア)

After taking the obligatory photos we began the descent. We do it along the main path, the path of the 1,500 arhats (千五百羅漢).

In Buddhism, an arhat is someone who has gained a deep understanding of the true nature of existence, who has reached nirvana and therefore will not reincarnate.

Arhat sculptures

Like Arhats in other parts of Asia, they resemble Li Guangxiu’s brilliant set of figures at the Bamboo Temple outside Kunming in China: each facial expression is different, from the beatific to the Tradition holds that if you start Counting your own age from a certain figure, you will arrive at the Arhat that most resembles your own character and your inner being. You may not like what you find.

Well, on the slope of the mountain there are stone images of 1,500 Tokai Arhats, made by the artist Jingorō Eirei Ōno and his 27 students during 19 years (between 1779 and 1798), carved in a special stone brought from the Izu peninsula. . These Tokai Arhats are found in small natural caves and on carved rocks. Unfortunately, many were destroyed during an Anti-Buddhist Movement in the Meiji period, between 1868 and 1873, reducing their number to 538. That is why sometimes only parts of the statues remain. Many of them have recently been restored.

The way down is truly incredible, with the sculptures in the spectacular wooded setting of the mountain, making you forget the tremendous summer heat.

Explanada del Gran Buda de Nokogiri (大仏広場)

Halfway up the mountain we find the jewel of the temple: the statue of the Great Buddha of Nokogiri or Nihon-ji Daibutsu (日本寺大仏).

It was originally carved out of the same rock it stood on in 1783 (third year of Tenmei) by Jingorō Eirei Ōno and his 27 students and measured 37 meters. At the end of the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), due to erosion by wind and rain, it collapsed. The sculpture that we see today dates from 1969 and measures 31 meters, 7 less than the original.

It rises from a semicircular base, in the shape of overlapping lotus buds, to a stone halo resembling a disk and with “little” Buddhas surrounding Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai.

The sculpture is spectacular and leaves you speechless. On the esplanade there is a kind of shaded picnic area where you can rest in the shade and have a cool drink from one of the vending machines that are here.

Middle Zone (中腹エリア)

After a well-deserved rest, we begin the descent again, passing through several temple buildings, such as the Yakushi Honden (薬師本殿医王殿), destroyed by the great fire of 1944 and rebuilt in 1997.

Yakushi Honden (薬師本殿(醫王殿)

Omotesando Area (表参道エリア)

Already in the lower part, we can find the Shinji-ike pond (心字池) and some more buildings such as the Kannondou (観音堂).

Kannondou (観音堂)

Here the route of Mount Nokogiri ends, about two hours approximately. An excursion that will not leave you indifferent.

To return to Tokyo, the most practical thing is to take the train from the JR Hota station, which is about a 20-minute walk between crops from the entrance to the complex of the mount, to the JR Hama-Kanaya station and there return to take the boat towards Kurihama.

How to get to Mount Nokogiri

To get to Mount Nokogiri from central Tokyo, it is best to go to Shinagawa Station (品川駅).

From Shinagawa, if you have JRPass, it is best to take the JR Yokosuka Line via Kurihama, to JR Kurihama Station which takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. Without JRPass, the price is ¥940.

If you don’t have a JRPass, it’s best to take the private Keikyu Main Line, which a little further on, at Horinouchi station, becomes the Keikyu Kurihama line (you don’t have to get out of the car), also from Shinagawa to the station Keikyu-Kurihama. The journey takes 1 hour and 9 minutes and costs ¥800.

If we go with JR, from Kurihama station we have to walk to Keikyu-Kurihama station, which is just opposite. At the main entrance, we got on the number 7 or number 8 bus to the Tokyo Wan Ferry stop, next to the ferry terminal. The journey takes about 12 minutes and costs ¥200 (€1.55).

The company in charge of the ferries is Tokyo Wan Ferry and its website is:

Ticket prices are (2022):

One WayRound trip
*Children up to 12 years

The ferry ride takes about 40 minutes and we arrive at Kanaya Port in Chiba.

Mount Nokogiri can be reached via the Nokogiri Cable Car, about a 13-minute walk from the port or 10 from JR Hama-Kanaya Station.

Ticket prices are (2022):

One WayRound Trip
*Children up to 12 years

Hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. between November 16 and February 15 (winter) and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from February 16 to November 15.

It can also be reached by climbing the more than 2,600 steps from Nihon-ji Temple (a 20-minute walk from JR Hota).

For more information you can visit the official website


Where to eat in Japan

In this entry we will find the restaurants in which we have eaten in Japan. More or less recommended in case they guide future visitors.


  • Tokyo
  • Narita
  • Utsunomiya
  • Kamakura
  • Kioto
  • Osaka
  • Nagoya

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Rokurinsha (六厘舍)

A small (very small) ramen restaurant. It is located on Tokyo Ramen Street in the basement of Tokyo Central Station, just up some stairs. You will recognize it by the permanent tail. The estimated waiting time at that point in the queue is marked on the floor. Trust me it’s worth the wait.

As soon as you enter you have a machine in Japanese (luckily with photos) in which you mark what you want, put in the yen and it takes out a piece of paper that you hand over to a boy and he serves you. On the tables you have a jug of cold water that they change for you.

As a curiosity, if you want they give you a paper bib so you don’t get dirty.

Address: Japan, 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 東京駅一番街 B1 東京ラーメンストリート内

Hours: every day from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Coco Curry House

It is a chain of Japanese curry restaurants found all over Japan. Here we can eat curry in the traditional Japanese style. It is cheap and rich.

Highly recommended. We ate in Tokyo, Nara and Osaka and they were all equally good.


Karayama Shinbashi (からやま 新橋店)

This is a small restaurant that serves tori no karaage (から揚げ), Japanese fried chicken that is delicious. We discovered it in 2016 and on our 2018 trip we ate there again.

Next to the door you have your machine to make the choice and you give the piece of paper to the boy who attends. It is so small that it only has a bar. The chicken was delicious and very cheap and they put it on a menu with a miso soup, a bowl of rice and shredded cabbage.

Address: Japan, 〒105-0004 Tokyo, Minato City, Shinbashi, 2 Chome−16−1 ニュー新橋ビル 1F.

How to get there: It is located in the southern part of the square in front of Shinbashi station, leaving through the Hibiya exit.

Hours: Every day from 10.30 to 22.30.


Yoshinoya (吉野家)

It is a chain that specializes in gyūdon, a bowl of rice with braised meat cut into very thin strips. It is very cheap and very good, with dishes starting at ¥387 (€2.91).

It was founded nothing more and nothing less than in 1899 and they are all over Japan.


Gusto Cafe (ガスト)

It is another chain that we find all over Japan. It is not the cheapest place to eat but it has a lot of variety, from Japanese food to pizzas.

The best thing about this chain is that, paying 200 yen (€1.55) you have an open bar of non-alcoholic drinks. For summer dehydration it is really good.


Hidakaya Ramen (日高屋 新宿東口店)

It’s a small ramen restaurant mainly, although it also has something else like rice. Good and cheap in the heart of Shinjuku: 600 yen for the menu (€4.71).

Address: Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−21−1 清水館ビル.

How to get there: 2-3 minutes walk north from the East exit of JR Shinjuku station, towards Kabukicho.

Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday from 10:00 to 24:00.


A small sushi place near the old Tsukiji market. It is located in a basement and the sushi is delicious and, since it is not touristy, like most of the restaurants around the market, it is quite cheap. Menu only in Japanese but with photos and employees who only speak Japanese.

It is the most delicious sushi I have ever tasted.

Address: since it doesn’t appear on google maps, we can be guided because it is next to a Spanish restaurant called Brochetería Sol Sevilla located at 〒104-0045 Tokyo, Chuo City, Tsukiji, 2 Chome−14−3 天羽ビル.

How to get there: 100 m walk from the northwest of the entrance of Tsukiji Hongwan-ji temple.

Opening hours: I haven’t found the opening hours but I have to say that it closes on Sundays, since I was able to check it the last time I went.

Mos Burger

It is a chain of hamburger restaurants that are all over Japan, McDonald’s type. It is cheap and they are very good although they are a bit small for a Westerner to see.



Another chain that we found all over Japan. This time specializing in gyudon and grilled eel, although you can find many more things. The eel is very good and they have quite affordable menus.



It is a sushi chain, the kind that passes the dishes around the tables through a belt. The one in Ueno was highly recommended to us. It is very good and well priced, although, in this place specifically, the wait for a table can go up to an hour. Worth.

Address: Japan, 〒110-0005 Tokyo, Taito City, Ueno, 6 Chome−9−9 オリエンタルビル B1.

How to get there: About a three-minute walk south of JR Ueno Station.

Hours: every day from 11:00 to 19:50.


Haneda Sushiko (羽田寿司幸)

Sushi restaurant located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport (before security checks). It’s very good and, for being in an airport, it’s not expensive.

Address: Japan, 〒144-0041 Tokyo, Ota City, Hanedakuko, 3 Chome−3−2 第1旅客ターミナル ガレリア 3F 羽田空港.

How to get there: it is located on the 3rd floor of terminal 1 of the airport.

Hours: every day from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Ton Ton Tei

Tiny tonkatsu restaurant in the city of Narita. A very nice place with spectacular meat and cheap, although somewhat difficult to reach.

Address: 411-1 Tsuchiya, Narita, Chiba 286-0021.

How to get there: We can get there by taking the bus that leads to Aeon Mall Narita that leaves from outside the JR Narita station. We got off next to the door of the shopping center and walked southeast for about 10 minutes. The price of the bus is 210¥ (€1.60).

We can also walk about 10 minutes from the Peace Pagoda of the Narita San Shinso-ji temple, leaving through the back door of the enclosure.

Hours: every day from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.


Utsunomiya Gyoza Kan

It is a chain of gyoza restaurants, the Japanese dumplings, originally from Utsunomiya. It has many varieties. Very cheap and delicious.

Address: 3 Chome-3-3 Ekimae Dori, Utsunomiya, Tochigi 321-0964, Japan.

Hours: every day from 11:00 to 21:30.


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Lotus Ramen (ラーメンとカレーの店 蓮)

Tiny mainly ramen restaurant, although they also have fried rice (delicious) and curry. It is run by a quite old lady who is very nice and pleasant.

It is one of the most delicious ramen I have ever tasted.

Address: 1 Chome-8-40 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0005, Japan.

Opening hours: every day from 11:00 to 21:00.



Ramen Miyako (らぁ〜めん京 祇園本店)

Small ramen joint located between the Yasaka Shrine and the Chion-in Temple. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s the richest ramen I’ve ever tasted.

Normally you have to wait for a table because it is usually full. Worth.

Address: 303 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0073, Japan.

How to get there: 2-minute walk north of the Nishiromon gate of Yasaka Shrine. Right in front of the Gion bus stop (祇園).

Opening hours: every day from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Ajinotentoku Shijo Kiyamachi (味の天徳 四条木屋町店)

This tiny restaurant with an unpronounceable name is the place with the best noodles I’ve ever tried. It is found hidden in an alley in Pontocho. The place consists of 10 stools around a bar where a serious and meticulous young man attends.

Discovered by chance, among hundreds of restaurants full of tourists, in this one there were only locals eating. Delicious and cheap.

We choose our food from a machine by the door, insert the money and give the ticket that comes out to the boy.

Address: 455 Shincho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto.

How to get there: Just a 2-minute walk north of exit 1-A at Kawaramachi Train Station on the Hankyu-Kyoto Line.

Opening hours: Every day from 12:00 to 15:00 and from 17:00 to 2:00.


Ajinoya honten (味乃家 本店)

It is a place specialized in okonomiyaki, the Japanese pizza. I guess because of the situation, it’s not too cheap but it’s very good.

Address: 〒542-0076 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nanba, 1 Chome−7−16 現代こいさんビル2F.

How to get there: 1 minute walk from exit 14 of Namba metro station.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 21:00. Closed on Monday.


Yukari Tensan (ゆかり 天三店)

It is a place specialized in okonomiyaki. It is very Japanese and they make you take off your shoes before entering. It’s not very cheap but it’s delicious and they make the okonomiyaki right at your table.

The best okonomiyaki I’ve ever had.

Address: 3 Chome-1-12 Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0041.

How to get there: 3 minutes north of JR Ōsakatemmangū Station and Minami-morimachi Subway Station.

We can also walk 6 minutes from the Osaka Temmangu temple, to the north also by a shotengai.

Opening hours: every day from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Kobegyu Wanomiya Dotonbori Honten

It is a tepanyaki restaurant specializing in Kobe beef located in Dotonbori. Of course it is expensive, but it is worth it to treat yourself from time to time.

The cook will give you advice on how to eat it, and it is spectacular even the vegetables.

Address: 1-5-2, Dotombori, Chuo, Osaka 542-0071.

How to get there: It is located on the main street of Dotonbori, where we find all the restaurants, about 100 meters east of the Glico sign.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Closed on Monday.


Rich miso ramen Sakaeya (濃厚味噌らーめん さかえ屋)

It is a small ramen place. It wasn’t touristy at all, so everything was in Japanese and quite cheap and tasty.

Address: 4 Chome-15-14 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0008.

How to get there: 4-minute walk southeast from Sakae subway station.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sundays from 11.30 to 20.00.


Sekai no Yamachan Ikeshita-ten (世界の山ちゃん 女子大店)

It is an izakaya type food chain that is all over Japan although it is originally from Nagoya. It is famous for its fried chicken wings.

It’s excessively expensive for a fry-up, but it’s tasty.

Address: 4 Chome-13-24 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0008.

How to get there: 3 minutes southeast of the Sakae subway station.

Opening hours: from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Ichiran Nagoya Nishiki (一蘭 名古屋錦店)

Chain of ramen restaurants that are all over Japan and I even saw one on my trip to New York. The tonkotsu ramen is spectacular and has the peculiarity that it is eaten in a kind of booth, alone. The subject is very antisocial.

You sit down and mark the box on a piece of paper, the broth, the noodles, the toppings, etc… A blind rises in a small window in which there is someone whose only hands you can see, you give them the piece of paper, and in a minute you put your ramen on and close the window.

Address: Japan, 〒460-0003 Aichi, Nagoya, Naka Ward, Nishiki, 3 Chome−22−7, Ark, 2F.

How to get there: 3-minute walk west of Sakae Subway Station Exit #8.

Opening hours: every day from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Nigiri No Tokube @ Oasis 21 (にぎりの徳兵衛 オアシス21店)

Conveyor belt sushi restaurant located in the Oasis 21 shopping mall in the Sakae district. It’s very good but it’s a bit expensive.

Address: 1 Chome-11-1 Higashisakura, Higashi Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 461-0005.

How to get there: It is located on the ground floor of the Oasis 21 shopping center in the Sakae district.

Opening hours: from 11:00 to 20:00.



Mehari Sushi Nidaime (めはり寿司二代目)

A small restaurant specializing in tuna sushi, although with a few more things. It is run by a quite old and very serious man, who only speaks Japanese, but has a menu in English.

It must be said that the tuna was to cry. It is very cool as it disembarks at the dock that is just 100 meters away. And it is that Kii-Katsuura is the tuna mecca of Japan.

Address: Japan, 〒649-5335 Wakayama, Higashimuro District, Nachikatsuura, Tsukiji, 2 Chome−2−6.

How to get there: A two-minute walk north from JR Kii-Katsuura Station.

Opening hours: Every day from 11:00 to 21:00.

Here we leave a map with the locations of all the restaurants:

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Tokyo (東京)

On this page you can find all the information about Tokyo, the capital of Japan, from its history to learning to move, going through what you can’t miss.

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Near Tokyo

Discover Japan through our travel diaries.

Tokyo: Practical Guide


1. How to get to Tokyo


This will be the means of transportation in which almost all of us will arrive in Tokyo from our home countries.

Tokyo has two international airports, Tokyo International Airport (東京国際空港) known as Haneda Airport (羽田空港) and Narita Airport.

Haneda Airport

Haneda airport is located in the special region of Ōta, 15 kilometers south of Tokyo station, in the middle of Tokyo Bay.

As a curiosity, the 4th floor is decorated as if they were alleys from the Edo period. It is very, very cool and there is a very good and not too expensive sushi restaurant.

How to go from Haneda airport to Tokyo:

To go to Tokyo from Haneda, we can go by train with the private company Keikyu. This is the one that we have taken in the two routes that we have made. In approximately 15 minutes you get to Shinagawa station and the price is 300 yen (€2.40) and it does not enter the Japan Rail Pass.

You can purchase the JR Pass and receive it comfortably at home clicking here:

Japan Rail Pass

From Shinagawa we can take the Yamanote line to any of the other major stations in the city or the shinkansen to Kyoto.

Here we leave the link of the station map of the airport website.

We can also get there with the monorail. It is the fastest way and enters the JR Pass. But if you do not have the JR Pass activated, the price is 500 yen (€4). The monorail takes 19 minutes to reach Tokyo Station.

Here we leave you the official website of the monorail.

We can also go by bus. The company that covers the route is Limousine Bus. The frequency to Tokyo station is between 40 and 50 minutes and the journey takes about 40 minutes. The price is 950 yen (€7.60). The advantage is that they have night services, when the trains no longer work, although the prices are much more expensive, although it will always be cheaper than a taxi.

They also cover the route between Haneda airport and Narita airport, in case you have a flight with a layover in which you have to change airports. The price is 3,200 yen (€25.65). The bus is direct, unlike the train, in which we would have to make transfers.

Limousine Bus official website.

If you want to make the journey by taxi, like everyone else, it is the most expensive option. The journey has a flat rate depending on the destination and, if the trip is between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., the price increases. For example, the price to the Chiyoda area, where Tokyo station is located, is 6,100 yen (€48.90) during the day, plus 1,100 yen (€8) if it is the night trip.

You can look at the updated prices on the airport’s official website.

If you want comfort and speed, you can always hire a transfer service that will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you directly to your hotel.

If you want to go from Haneda airport to any other city such as Osaka or Kyoto, the ideal is to go to Shinagawa station with the Keikyu train and there take the shinkansen or, go with the monorail to Hamamatsuchō station and there take the Yamanote or Keihin-Tōhoku Line to Shinagawa or Tokyo Station.

Narita Airport

Narita Jasiko International Airport (成田国際空港) is located in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, about 60 km from central Tokyo.

How to go from Narita airport to Tokyo:

The star transport is the Narita Express or N’Ex. It is an express train that enters the JR Pass and leaves you at various stations in Tokyo.

The normal frequency is one train every half hour and if you do not have a JR Pass, the price is 4,070 yen (€32.60) with the N’EX TOKYO Round Trip Ticket regardless of the destination station, which is a return ticket that is much cheaper. The price of a single trip, for example, to Shinjuku is 3,250 yen (€26). The journey lasts 1 hour and a half.

The downside is that the last train leaves at 9:45 p.m.

Narita Express official website.

The other effective mode of transportation is the Skyliner (スカイライナー), a limited express train service between Tokyo and Narita Airport. It is operated by Keisei Electric Railway, so it does not fall under the JR Pass. It has stops at Nippori and Keisei Ueno stations.

The price of the Skyliner is 2,520 yen (€19.50), which takes advantage of the Narita express as it is cheaper if you pay with money.

2. Transport in Tokyo


An efficient way to get around Tokyo if you have the JR Pass is to use any of the trains on the JR line.

The Yamanote Line, colored green, is a circular line that stops at most major tourist sites. This line is, surely, the most popular line in Tokyo and is used by an average of 3.5 million passengers PER DAY!!!, ABOUT 1,300 million people per year.

Of course you will use it, and a lot.


It is the most efficient way to get around Tokyo, following the JR Yamanote Line.

There are two metro companies, both private, so we cannot use them with the JR Pass. They are Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway and, although at first glance the map seems very complicated, it is very easy to use.

On the map you can see the station where you are and the price to pay next to the station where you get off. If you don’t see them clearly, don’t worry, buy the cheapest ticket and when you get off the train, enter the ticket in some machines that are in all the stations that are fare adjustment, where you pay the remaining amount to be able to leave.

Tokyo metro

For example, we want to travel from Shibuya to Asakusa which is 250 yen. Since we are not sure, we buy the cheapest ticket, which is 170 yen. When we get off in Asakusa, we won’t be able to get out through the turnstile, so we go to the machine that says fare adjustment, insert the bill and it will tell us to insert 80 yen. Now we can go through the lathe.

The tickets are not valid for both companies, that is, if we buy a Tokyo Metro ticket, we cannot transfer to a Toei Subway line, but there are combined tickets.

There are several types of tickets, but the ones we will use the most are the combined tickets for the two companies for 24, 48 and 72 hours. These are the prices updated to August 2020.

24 H800¥ (6.35€)400¥ (3.20€)
48 H1.200¥ (9.55€)600¥ (4.75€)
72 H1.500¥ (11.93€)750¥ (4.96€)

You will find more information on the official websites of both companies:


They are the alternative to the subway and JR trains, but they are much slower and the schedules are very reduced. The truth is that we have never been on a bus in Tokyo so I cannot share the experience.

The price of a single ticket (updated as of August 2020) is 210 yen (€1.67) for adults and 110 yen (€0.87) for children.

Toei Bus official website.

The bus is accessed through the back door and the ticket is paid when leaving through the front door. You have to enter the exact amount into the machine. If you don’t have enough change, next to the pay machine you have another one that gives change.


Traveling by taxi in Tokyo is expensive, it is very, very, very expensive. A journey through the center of Tokyo can cost you around €10, which would cost us €1.30 on the subway.

Of course, Japanese taxis are very clean and the driver will never cheat you. To get into the taxi, it is the driver who opens the door for you, if he does not open it for you, he does not want you to get in (it happened to us in Kyoto).


Tokyo. Short history

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, home to more than 37 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, almost the same as the total population of Spain.

Tokyo is founded in 1457 under the name of Edo (江戸), with the construction of Edo Castle, the work of Ōta Dōkan (太田道灌), a samurai vassal of the Uesugi clan.

Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康)

In the year 1590 the shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康) took the castle and in the year 1603 established his government here. With this fact, the Edo period (江戸時代) began, which would last until the year 1868.

At the end of this year, with the change of government at the beginning of the Meiji Era, the emperor moved to Edo Castle, turning it into the Imperial Palace and renaming the city with the name of Tokyo. In the year 1871 the fiefdoms were abolished and the prefectures were created, including Tokyo with its 23 special wards.

In the year 1872 the first railway line began to be built and in 1885 the Yamanote circular line (山手線) was inaugurated, which will be the most used on our trip through Tokyo.

In 1923 the great Kantō earthquake (関東大震災) occurs, leaving the city devastated and approximately 143,000 dead.

At the beginning of the year 1936, the Incident of February 26 (二・二六事件) occurs, an attempted coup carried out by about 1,400 young officers of the imperial army.

They assassinated several high officials, including some ministers, but were unable to assassinate then-Prime Minister Keisuke Okada (岡田 啓介) or take control of the imperial palace. Two days later they surrendered.

During World War II, Tokyo was heavily bombed and, after Japan’s surrender, the city was occupied by Allied forces. At present, the United States Army still maintains Yokota Air Base (横田空軍基地) and several barracks.

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Japan 2018: Continuing a dream

On this page we are going to narrate in several entries the diary of our trip to Japan in 2018. Our second trip to the country of the rising sun. We continue to fall in love with this wonderful country, to which we will return sooner or later once again.

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Japan 2018: Narita – Tokyo – Ise – Kyoto

Two years later we return to Japan, starting with Narita, the city where the airport is located. We wanted to come back for 2019 but we couldn’t wait that long.

July 12th

At 6.20 in the morning we took off from Barajas to Paris. With Air France. Only 2 hours of flight and the plane very average.

We landed around 8:30 in the morning and we had a 5-hour wait ahead of us. We went to the departure terminal and spent the long and boring time there. Until 1:35 p.m. when we finally took off for Tokyo.

This plane, also from Air France, was comfortable with a good food service and a not very good entertainment offer. The crew… the crew is something else. I have never flown with such an unfriendly and unpleasant crew. My partner was a bit sick and it was one hell of a trip. It was terrible.

July 13th

After an 11-hour flight, we landed at Narita airport at around 8:40 in the morning. After passing the pertinent controls, we went to change the JR Passes, although at the moment we were not going to activate them.

You can buy your JR Pass and receive it comfortably at home through the following link:


Then we took out yen at a row of ATMs that were near the JR counter and went down to the platforms to take the train to the city of Narita. We took the Keisei private line for 260 yen (2€-2.40$) and in about 20 minutes we were at the Keisei-Narita station.

We had the hotel next to the exit of the station. This is the APA Hotel Keisei-Narita. It was like 12 noon and we couldn’t get in until 3pm.

As my partner was not feeling well, they gave us the option of entering earlier for 1,000 yen (€7.50) per hour. So after more than 24 hours since we left Granada, we don’t think about it. We paid 4,000 yen (about €30).

The hotel was very good. A three star that, for Japan, the room was quite spacious with two single beds.

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We rested a bit and went to eat at the Ton Ton Tei tonkatsu restaurant. The food was to die for. The meat melted in the mouth. It’s a bit far but worth the visit.

Tonkatsu in Ton Ton Tei.

Already with a full stomach and infernal heat, we walked to the nearby Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple (成田山新勝寺). It is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Tochiyama school founded in the year 940 (3rd year Tenkei) and its main image is Daishou Fudo Myo (不動明王).

The temple compound is huge and mixes old and modern buildings, as well as huge gardens. It takes a long time to go through it, especially if it’s hot. Admission is free.

On leaving the temple we went for a walk along Omotesando street, a commercial street where many old buildings are preserved, which, incidentally, brought us closer to the hotel. That night we wanted to go to rest early since the trip had left us exhausted.

Next to the hotel there was a kombini where we bought something prepared to eat and go to sleep early.

Building in Omotesando.

Here you can find a map with the points visited in Narita:

July 14th


Very early we set off for Tokyo. With the JR Pass already activated, we boarded the Narita express at Narita station to Shinagawa station. There we changed to the Keihintohoku line to Kamata station to get to the hotel.

For value for money we decided to stay at the Chisun Inn Kamata, the same one we stayed at in 2016.

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We left our things and went to the Setagaya neighborhood. We got off at Sangenjaya station and went straight to Carrot Tower, the tallest tower in Setagaya at 124 meters. On the 25th floor it has a free 360º viewpoint from which you can see spectacular views.

Views from Carrot Tower.

After the tower we go to the back where the terminal station of the Tokyu Setagaya tram line (東急世田谷線) is located.

It is one of the two tram lines that remain active in Tokyo. It has stops at various interesting points so we took a day pass. He had a hard time getting it out because not being too touristy, the box office only spoke Japanese. The price of the pass is 330 yen (2.70€). To our surprise, when the tram arrived, it turned out to be in the shape of a cat. How horny are the Japanese.

We got off at Kamimachi Station to visit the Daikan Residence (世田谷代官屋敷) and the Setagaya Tenso Temple (上町天祖神社). Neither of them was too spectacular, but since it caught us almost on the way, we had to visit it.

Retracing our steps, we reached Setagaya Joshi Park (世田谷城阯公園).

Setagaya Joshi Park is a historical park located in the Setagaya neighborhood opened in 1945. It is actually the ruins of the old Setagaya castle.

The castle is believed to have been built in the 14th century during the Muromachi period and belonged to the Kira clan (吉良氏) for more than 200 years.

In the year 1590, during the Tenshō period, the Tokugawa clan won the war and the Kira clan had to leave the castle and it fell into oblivion.

Setagaya Joshi Park (世田谷城阯公園).

Less than a 5-minute walk away is a truly essential visit: Gotokuji Temple (豪徳寺), the temple dedicated to the lucky cat Maneki-neko (招き猫).

Hondo (本堂).

Goutoku-ji is a Buddhist temple of the Sōtō School, founded in 1480, by the Li family of the Hikone clan.

In addition to the Gotokuji Li Family Cemetery, which is a nationally designated historic site, there are many cultural heritage sites related to the Li Family, including the Buddhist temple and the Bell.

Legend has it that Maneki-neko (招き猫) originated here.

In the seventeenth century, one day the feudal lord Naotaka Li, who was hunting, was surprised by a terrible storm, took shelter under a tree. A while later, he saw a cat beckoning him with its right paw to come closer to the temple. Moved by curiosity, Naotaka Li approached the cat and, just at that moment, lightning struck the tree, destroying it. In gratitude for saving his life, Naotaka Li helped finance the temple, which was then in ruins.

Since then Maneki-neko (招き猫) has been a symbol of good luck in Japan (and almost all over the world).

There you can buy a Maneki-neko at the temple offices and leave it as an offering or take it home. I bought two, a small one to leave as an offering and a larger one that I have in my store.

The pavilion where the maneki-neko offerings are left is truly spectacular, not only for its beauty and that of the surroundings, but also for the number of maneki-neko that are left as offerings.

Among those hundreds in the photography, there is mine, but how to find it next time…

After taking a quiet walk around the compound and through the cemetery, we returned to the tram station. The next stop: Shoin-jinja-mae Station. From there we took a short walk through a non-touristy shopping street to the Shoin-jinja Shrine (松陰神社). That is the best thing that Setagaya has, since it is not touristy at all, it is purely Japanese and you can see what normal Japanese life is like.

Santuario Shoin-jinja (松陰神社)

It is a shrine dedicated to the thinker Shoin Yoshida who was famous during the Meiji Restoration and was built between 1923 and 1952.

The sanctuary is a haven of peace within the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood and has very pretty little gardens. But it has a drawback, when entering one of the gardens there was a sign with a gigantic mosquito drawn on a tree. We figured out what it meant and before going in we bathed in repellent just in case.

After this visit, we took the tram back to the JR station and headed straight for Shibuya. There we ate in a place that we already knew before, one of the Gusto cafe, the food is good and not very expensive and it has an open bar of drinks, which is important considering the tremendous heat it was.

With our stomachs already full and well hydrated, we took a quiet walk through Shibuya.

As night fell, we approached the Shibuya Hikarie Mall building, an impressive 34-story shopping and cultural center. From the 11th to the 16th floor is the Tokyo Theater Orb, a theater with a capacity for almost 2,000 people. From the door there is a huge window from which you can see the famous Shibuya crossing, which is also free.

Shibuya Crossing from Shibuya Hikarie Mall (very dirty glass)

On the way down, we went for a walk around the Shibuya 109 shopping center, which was getting cold. When we left, as it was still quite early, we took the train to Takeshita Dori, which we had never been at night.

There we took the opportunity to go around a bit in a Daiso, a chain of stores selling everything for 100 yen and buy some things like a camera case for 108 yen (€0.85) and an envelope filled with something chemical that when you hit it gets cold and It is ideal to cool off with the heat it was doing.

That night we had to eat something from the konbini at the hotel because we were very tired.

July 15th

Today it was time to get up early and look for an internet cafe to print a part of the guide that I forgot at home, thank goodness I always have a flash drive with everything. I left my partner still convalescing at the hotel and went on an adventure.

Finding a cyber didn’t cost me too much, there was one in front of the JR Kamata station called Net Room, from a chain that is all over Tokyo. The difficult part was making himself understood. They only spoke Japanese so from signs I was able to understand that it was full and that I would have to wait an hour. So I went for a walk around the neighborhood, had a coffee and came back. Again with signs I got them to give me a room for an hour. In the cyber there was a washing machine and shower and you can spend the whole night in it for about €20. At that time there were people leaving to spend the night.

The floor was made of mattress and it was very comfortable. It also has slippers to walk around the facilities since in the room you have to be barefoot. It had a computer with a printer and a tv with dvd. At the reception they had movies and magazines. After fumbling with windows in Japanese I managed to print the document. As it took me practically the entire hour, there was little else I could do in there. The hour cost me 300 yen (€2.20-$2.50).

With everything ready, we headed for the Zōjō-ji Temple (増上寺), next to the Tokyo Tower, which offers a beautiful mix of tradition and modernity. It was founded in 1393 as an orthodox nembutsu seminary and central to Jodo shu in the Kanto region.

Zojoji was moved to the present site in 1598 after Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, chose Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1590 to establish his provincial government. After the start of the Edo Period when the Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan, Zojoji became the family temple of the Tokugawa family.

We quietly visited the temple (it’s free) and we sat for a while inside, which had air conditioning.

From there we went to Shimbashi station to visit the Hama Rikyu gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園). These are traditional gardens that were built as a residence for the Tokugawa family and later converted into a duck hunting ground.

It is known for its saltwater pond that enters directly from Tokyo Bay. The haven of tranquility surrounded by the modern skyscrapers in the area is very impressive. At the entrance they provide you with free umbrellas to mitigate the terrible heat of the Tokyo summer. I consider it an essential visit.

After the impressive visit to the gardens, we went to Ueno looking for a revolving belt sushi chain restaurant that I had seen on the internet and highly recommended: Sushi-ro.

We found it but the queue was huge.

You had to get a number on a screen that, of course, was in Japanese.

After several minutes looking at the screen as if looking into space, a girl approached us to whom we managed to explain that we wanted to take a number to eat at the restaurant since it seems that the screen gave several options. The girl very kindly takes us a number.

Second problem, there is no screen indicating the number she is going for and they sing the numbers in Japanese. So we wait to see what happens. In this they call the girl who had helped us. When she approaches the waiter, she comments to him pointing at us… nothing happens.

About 45 minutes after we entered the restaurant, they suddenly shout our number in English! We already know what the girl told him a while before.

Conclusion: The Japanese are the kindest people in the world. It wouldn’t be the first or the last time they’d give us a hand. It was worth the wait and the sweating of the Japanese language since the sushi was amazing and it was really cheap. We will be back.

After eating we went for a walk in Ueno Park to wash down the food and returned to Shimbashi to see the night show of the Ghibli Clock, in the building of the Japanese television network NTV. Two years ago we saw it during the day but we had been wanting. It is highly recommended even if you are not a fan of anime.

After the show we went to Shiodome station to take the driverless train on the Yurikamome line to go to Odaiba to see the new Gundam Unicorn next to the Diver city Tokyo shopping center, since they had changed it since we were there in 2016. On the way, we took a walk through the Venus fort shopping center where the corridors simulate the canals of Venice (Permanently closed since 2022). It’s all very, very freaky… After taking a good walk we decided to go back to the hotel so we could get up early the next day.

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July 16th

Today it’s time to get up early and go on an excursion to a place rarely visited by Westerners and highly recommended: Mount Nokogiri (鋸山).

It is located on the west coast at one end of Tokyo Bay, already in the Chiba prefecture. There is the largest ancient Buddha statue in all of Japan, with 31 meters high. It is located within the grounds of the Nihonji Temple (日本寺), which literally means temple of Japan. It is a Buddhist temple founded in the year 725, being the oldest in all of Kanto and occupying the entire slope of the mountain.

At 8:30 we took the JR Keihintohoku Line to Yokohama Station, and there we transferred to the JR Yokosuka Line to Kurihama Station. On this train we realized that we were leaving the touristic Japan since during the whole trip we were the only westerners in the whole car. I love hehehe.

From Kurihama station we walked (5 min) to the main entrance of Keikyu-Kurihama station and there we got on bus number 8 (¥200) and in about 15 minutes we were at the Tokyo Wan-Ferry2 ferry terminal minutes before it came out. We bought the tickets in a hurry, one way for 720¥ (roundtrip 1320¥). About 40 minutes later we got off the ferry at Kanaya. We walked about 15 minutes, with a stop in the middle in a kombini to buy supplies for the excursion, until we reached the cable car that was going to take us to the top of the mountain. For another 500 ¥ we bought a one-way ticket (930 ¥ round trip). The ride showed only 5 minutes but the views are truly spectacular.

Kanaya from the cable car

When you get to the top there is a visitor center and from there the route begins. To enter you have to pay ¥600 (€4.50). The views from the center terrace are brutal. The first thing we did was head towards the gigantic statue of Hyakushakukannon. It is carved into the rock and is spectacular, both the statue and the path to reach it.

From here, everything is down. We go down the path of the arhats. Along this path we can find 1,500 stone statues of arhats sculpted between 1779 and 1798. It is a very curious walk as well as beautiful inside the lush forest.

We continue down and finally we arrive at the esplanade where the jewel in the crown is located: the Great Buddha. It is really gigantic. It was definitely worth the exhaustion and sweltering heat. Next to the temple there is a shady picnic area where we sit down to eat something and drink something cold from one of the machines there (of course).

After resting we begin the descent towards the Hota train station. The descent was still spectacular passing through more temples of different sizes.

We had decided to return to Tokyo by train and we made a huge mistake. It took us more than three hours to return, it seemed that the journey would never end. The worst thing is that that night we had a hotel in Nagoya. So we highly recommend coming back by ferry.

As soon as we arrived in Tokyo, we picked up our bags at the hotel and rushed to Shinagawa station to take the shinkansen to Nagoya.


For dinner it was time to buy a bento to eat on the train. We took the shinkansen at 7:10 p.m. and around 9:00 p.m. we were arriving in Nagoya, but not getting off the train. Just before entering the station, it stopped and we stood there for almost half an hour. Every two for three a message in Japanese sounded over the PA system in which I suppose they were saying the reasons, but we will never know. The chosen hotel was the UNIZO INN Nagoya Sakae Higashi. Well located but quite seedy.

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July 17th

Today is an excursion to the city of Ise (Mie Prefecture). We visit the Ise Grand Shrine or Ise Jingū (伊勢神宮) which is the most important shrine in Japan. We were going to visit the Inner Naikū Shrine (内宮) and the Outer Gekū Shrine (外宮).

We got up early and at 8.37 in the morning we were already on the train. We took the Mie line that went directly to Iseshi station where it dropped us off at 10:20. At one point during the journey, an employee of the company passed by charging an extra because one of the sections of track belong to another company. The price was 510 yen per person (€3.50). It is well indicated on the JR Pass. All this the boy explaining everything in Japanese.

Sewer in Ise

We left the station and walked to the Outer Shrine «Geku». The Sanctuary is truly spectacular. It is nestled in a beautiful wooded area with giant trees and ponds. There were a lot of people since it is one of the main pilgrimage points in Japan. The walk takes a long time but it is very enjoyable.

After a long and relaxing spiritual walk, we left the complex and at the same entrance we took bus number 51 to the outer sanctuary (bus number 55 is also valid). About 20 minutes later we were getting off next to the entrance of the Sanctuary.

The outer shrine was founded 2,000 years ago and is one of the holiest places in Japan. The enclosure is a gigantic haven of peace even though many people walk through it. Despite the time that can be invested to get to Ise, it is worth getting closer because it is really spectacular.

Despite the oppressive humid heat, it is a fairly pleasant and calm walk. In the visitor center near the exit, there are screens with explanatory videos about the temple (in Japanese) as well as air conditioning, cold water and free tea.

After the well-deserved rest and several liters of fresh water, we left the temple and toured Oharaimachi. It is a commercial area next to the temple, with very old buildings and many shops and restaurants. It is a very touristy area although we were the only westerners that were there. As soon as we entered, we bought some ice cream and we walked through it calmly. It is a highly recommended walk.

Okage Yokocho Street

After the walk we returned to take the bus to Iseshi station and eat something there while we waited for the train to leave.

It had gotten a little late for lunch, we looked for something in the surroundings but everything was closed and there wasn’t even a kombini. We decided to take the train and we would eat when we reached the next destination.

We got off at the Futamino-ura station, which was more of a halt than a station. It had neither lathes nor employees. We still couldn’t find anything to eat but we found a tourist information office. BINGO! We went in to ask to see where we could eat, but to our “surprise”, the man only spoke Japanese. Well very good.

We continue our way towards the Hinjitsukam temple (賓日館) with such bad luck that it closes on Tuesdays. And all this without eating.

Hinjitsukam temple (賓日館)

The area reminded me of some declining tourist spot, with big hotels on the beachfront but deserted and rather old. No one was seen there.

As we were next door, we approached the Meteoiwa temple (夫婦岩) where the so-called “Married Rocks” are located. They are two rocks (one larger than the other) joined by a thick rice straw rope (shimenawa) that represent the gods Izanagi and Izanami, the creators according to the Shinto religion and that represent masculinity and femininity united by marriage. . Here crowds of couples gather to ask for a happy marriage.

At the time we were there it was low tide but, according to the guides, when the tide is high, the rocks seem completely separated and it is quite spectacular, especially at sunset.

Futamiokitama Shrine (二見興玉神社)

After all this, it was about 5 in the afternoon and we still didn’t eat. Luckily on the way to the station we found a Lawson and took a good look at the fridge.

At 7:30 p.m. we were already in the city and, as soon as we arrived, we rushed to Takayama to reserve a seat for the next day, where we had rented a car to go to Shirakawa-go and tour the area. Bad luck caught up with us. It turns out that due to the floods of several weeks ago, together with the heat wave that hit us, the reconstruction work had not been able to be finished and public transport had not yet been restored. So canceling the car rental and looking for plan B for the next day.

Nagoya Tower

After the upset, we squeezed an exquisite ramen for dinner at the Rich miso ramen Sakaeya restaurant, which was very close to the hotel, so that the penalties were less. After dinner we took a short walk through the Sakae area and went to Don Quijote to browse and buy some wasabi and green tea kit-kats.

Don Quijote

July 18th

Since we had to cancel the visit to Takayama, we decided to get up early and go to Kyoto and Nara to see some places that we had missed in 2016 and that we had removed from this year’s itinerary due to lack of time.

At 9:08 we took the shinkansen and at 9:45 we were in Kyoto. When we left the station, the heat was almost unbearable. But it was not a plan to stay locked up.

We went for a walk to the Tō-ji Temple (東寺). It is the main temple of the Shingon Buddhist school, declared a World Heritage Site. Its main attraction is the 5-story pagoda built in the year 826, which is the tallest wooden pagoda in Japan.

After visiting the temple, we went back to the station and took a train to Nara.

At Nara station we got off and walked about 10 minutes to Kintetsu-Nara station to take the Kintetsu-Nara line train to Yamato-Saidaiji station, where we changed to the Kintetsu-Kashihara line to Nishinokyō station.

There we got off and walked for about 10 minutes in hellish heat to the Tōshōdai-ji temple (唐招提寺). It is an essential temple in Nara but it is too far from the city and it takes a lot of turns to get there.

It was founded in the year 759 by the monk Gaijin and is the upper temple of the Buddhist Risshu sect. The entrance to the enclosure costs 600 yen but it is worth it. The golden hall is impressive (photos are not allowed) and the gardens are absolutely amazing. It is ideal to walk very quietly because of the tremendous peace that the enclosure spreads. 100% recommendable.

Back in Nara, we ate a curry at the Coco curry house next to the station, with several jugs of ice water and we went for a walk through the temple area, which we had already visited in depth in 2016 but did not want to return still to Nagoya. At 18.55 we take the Nara line back to Kyoto we take the shinkansen at 19.59 to Nagoya where we arrive at 20.36. We ate dinner and went to bed to get up early the next day.

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