Day 3 – Osaka Kyoto and Shinkansen

Day 3 of my Asian Odyssey was a busy one, firstly we docked in Osaka after sailing around 319 nautical miles, from there I took the train to Kyoto, followed by returning to Osaka on the Shinkansen.

Osaka Arrival

We docked in Osaka on time @ 07:30 at the Osaka Cruise Terminal

We welcomed by a traditional Japanese troupe of drummers

My plans for today were thrown into disarray when I heard from my tour guide that he had food poisoning and was not going to be able to show me around Kyoto. Which was unfortunate, but rectifiable, with some guidance from my original tour guide. He sent me a list of places to visit and how to get there, using the train network.

Fushimi Inari-taisha

My first stop in Kyoto was the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. This is probably one of the most photographed shrines in Japan. The shrine sits at the base of Inari mountain which is 233 metres (764 ft) tall, with a number of trails up the mountain. It takes about 2 hours to complete the 4kms of trails to get to the top, passing a number of smaller shrines. I went about two thirds of the way up, a decent climb, a nice start to the day.

Main Shrine

This is definitely a busy place

After exploring the main shrine it was time to start my climb up

Mount Inari

What was interesting was how quickly the number of tourists climbing Mount Inari dwindle to a few.

Was a decent climb, challenged my fitness a bit, unfortunately I did not have the time to complete the climb. Places to go.

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

I did not seen any monkeys during my time on the mountain, a shame.

Next spot on my itinerary for the day was the Komyo-in Temple which is not far from the base of Mount Inari. A nice stroll through the suburbs.

Komyo-in Temple

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

There is a small fee to enter the Komyo-in Temple which is an old Buddhist temple with a Zen rock garden in the backyard. A tranquil spot, a nice place to take the load off and enjoy a quiet moment or ten.

Lunch

After my visit to Komyo-in Temple I caught the train to Gion-Shijo station and decided it was time for some lunch. Decided that some sushi was the go so found a small place, Kitaza, not far from the station.

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

When I arrived I was the only customer, by the time I left the place was pretty busy.

The sushi was very good, especially the mackerel sushi.

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

I have no idea what this was trying to advertise. I found it a bit creepy.

Yasaka Shrine

Next stop on my exploration of Kyoto was Yasaka Shrine a Shinto shrine that’s building commenced in 656. Definitely a popular place. The gardens behind the shrine are worth the extra stroll..

Feeding Time??

Is this bird feeding the fish in the pond or just teasing them??

The Gardens

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

Chion-in Temple

The next stop on my tour of Kyoto was the Chion-in Temple which was featured in the Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai. I didn’t spend too much time exploring this shrine.

Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum

After Chion-in Temple I decided that I needed a drink and surprisingly, well maybe not that big a surprise, my guide had recommended a visit to the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum. To get there I needed to grab a taxi as it was a bit of distance away.

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

This was not an easy place to find even for a local taxi driver, definitely a place to visit. There is an entrance fee, which includes, thankfully, a tasting at the end of your walk around the ground. The start of the tour is a short documentary on the history and making of Sake.

Azamara, Azamara Quest,  2023 Asian Odyssey, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan

Gekkeikan Sake has been a round a while, since 1637.

As you would expect there was an exhibit on the making of Sake.

How do you make Sake.. Seems pretty easy right, well not that easy..

After the tour it was time for a drink or three. With my entry fee I was provided with three tokens which entitle you to try three different Sakes.

Thankfully there was someone there to help me chose the three to try. All three were good, number 9 was my favourite, ended up buying a bottle of it.

Gekkeikan Sake is also available in the US and you can buy it in what looks like milk cartons.