Japan [KYOTO] Diaries 3: 京都御苑 | Kyoto Imperial Palace Park (Kyoto Gyoen)
Day Three of my Japan adventures takes us to Kyoto. A series of events that could’ve gone better left me in a slightly grouchy mood, and the overcast weather didn’t particularly help. BUT, what better way to alleviate this than enjoy peaceful atmosphere and appreciate warm hues of autumn leaves. So, we went to the nearest patch of nature: the park that Kyoto Imperial Palace is situated in.
The park was lovely. Just being surrounded by 紅葉 (kouyou: autumn colours) felt slightly magical. Even though the majority of the maple leaves weren’t vibrant shades of scarlet that I had expected, looking back at these photos, there is nonetheless a unique and subtle, elegant beauty in desaturated tones: muted crimson, carmine, mahogany coloured leaves complimented each other.
My favourite way of travelling in Kyoto was by bike. The airbnb place we stayed at had bikes for hire at 500JPY per day. Because Kyoto is a very very flat city, and most streets are nicely grided, it is very easy to navigate (and most importantly stops intense foot pain – although some of this transfers to one’s ass instead ;A;). So when in Kyoto ride a bike!
Note that many Kyoto residents ride bikes, so when walkers here a bike bell ring, they automatically move very slightly to the side, leaving a very small gap for the biker to ride through. Which is enough for a regular/pro biker. But can be slightly nerve racking for someone who hasn't ridden a bike since compulsory sport years ago in high school. But it's easy to get used to.
Also we saw a cute a f white shiba inu. But one thing we didn’t see was…. the imperial palace. Apparently we entered the park from the north entrance which was far far away from the palace itself or something…. And in our search for the palace we got lost in the park…. But, after finally finding the exit, we left the park with a somewhat bittersweet feeling: disappointed that we couldn’t find the castle (and that I didn’t get to use the imperial palace emoji lolol), but nevertheless grateful and satisfied at spending time in such beautiful and peaceful surroundings. And that we met a dog. ^_^
A note on how to get to Kyoto from Tokyo: Willer Express Night Buses. It was the inexpensive and somewhat efficient method of transport so we took it. It cost around around a quarter of the price of a shinkansen (bullet train), and we saved money on a night's accommodation (the bus was overall more comfortable than and airplane so sleep is possible for many), so it seemed like a win win situation. The bus left a depot around 15 minute walk from Shinjuku station, and 8hrs later dropped us off at another bus depot around 10 minute walk from the nearest station. I overall would recommend doing this because it is efficient, if careful planning is undertaken. This could save a lot of time and stress, and an angry airbnb hostess.