Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Japan trip Summer 2015 part 2 - Kyoto & Namba: Day 3

August 3, the third day of the trip, we planned to head over to Kyoto! First order of business was to find a particular wallet for S's mom from a brand called "Tatsumura". A few years ago, S's mom's aunty went on a trip to Japan and brought back a Tatsumura wallet for her that she really liked. But things happened (long story) and his mom had to give the wallet to someone else who needed it. We actually tried to get her one during the last trip from the Tokyo location but since that one is smaller, it didn't have the stock we expected or the print she wanted. Lucky for her, we were in Japan again, so here's another chance lol.

We went to Kyoto station via JR from Shin-Osaka and then took the Karasuma subway line to Karasumaoike. There were these educational and children's show (?) displays at Karasumaoike station! I didn't get to take pictures of everything though because it's a station and there's lots of people walking around and I didn't want to get in their way lol.
There was a short walk to the store. Like the Tokyo location, it's actually just one business in a building with lots of other companies. S had taken a look at the street view from Google maps so we had a general idea of what it would look like. We went into the building we thought it was and looked hard at the directory but for some reason we couldn't find the name "龍村美術織物" (idk why). There was a maintenance man cleaning the doors and luckily he was able to help direct us to the second floor. (When we came down from the shop later, I looked at the directory again and sure enough, there it was lol.)
It's just a small shop right next to their administrative office, but it's decorated really nicely! (I s2g any time I saw a full length mirror, I tried to discreetly take an outfit shot but this one was really unflattering lol.) Thankfully, they did have the pattern that S's mom wanted at this location, so coming all this way wasn't a waste lol.

Having accomplished what we came for, I figured it would be a good time to go to Liz Lisa lol. There's one location in Kyoto and it's in Kawaramachi OPA. We had to use the Karasuma subway line again but this time only to go one stop back to Shijo. Then, since we had to switch lines, we walked to the Karasuma station and caught a Hankyu Kyoto line train to Kawaramachi. Idk if it's just where we come from, but it always seems like so much trouble to get to this Liz Lisa location lol. I couldn't remember exactly which exit we wanted from the station since last time I went there, we kind of just picked and went with it. Luckily when we surfaced, I could generally tell where it would be based on what was around and it wasn't too much trouble lol.
I guess I forgot to take any pictures of this part. But that's not super surprising because I usually prefer not to take pictures in malls or crowded (non super touristy) places just so that I can blend in better or go with the flow and not be an obstruction. The mall itself wasn't that crowded though. In fact, I might even have called it a little empty? Kawaramachi OPA has both a Liz Lisa and a Penderie store right next to each other, and I visited both! I only purchased something from the Liz Lisa location though.

Since we had to jump through some "hoops" to get here (by our standards but probably not by anyone else's), we decided to just do a little shopping in the area since that's what it's known for anyway! S was actually looking for yatsuhashi since that's what his Japanese teacher had suggested he bring back. We found it almost immediately lol.
I've actually brought these back before when I came in seventh grade for a school trip, but I don't remember there being so many flavors! They had ramune, peach, mango, chocolate banana and green apple besides the more generic ones as well. I probably went to a different vendor though. This one we liked because they had samples of pretty much everything lol. We bought a few things that S wanted to eat for himself wtf and noted the brand/store name because these actually have a really short shelf life/they expire in seven days. Our plan was to come back to Kyoto on the second to last day of the trip and purchase then.

We did a little more casual browsing but didn't really buy much. There were quite a few things to look at though! And so many shops and streets. But it was hot. So we only looked through what we felt like. You could easily spend at least several hours in this area if you wanted to though!

Lunch ended up being at a restaurant that looked really showy with all the display items with the food just being so-so lol. We kind of just picked it because I wasn't finding a lot of places that seemed like would have food that I'd eat, and we were just wasting time at that point.
S wouldn't let me take a good picture because he was hungry and just wanted to eat. They had some really nice looking desserts, but I'm really not a dessert person and S didn't want to eat it by himself lol.

I wanted to do one "activity" that we hadn't done before in the area. In order to get to it, we had to walk from Kawaramachi station to Gion-Shijo station and then catch a Keihan Main Line train to Fushimi Inari station.
Take exit 1B of Kawaramachi station and then cross the bridge (view above) to get to Gion-Shijo. It's about a 5 minute walk.

Once we arrived at Fushimi Inari station, there were a lot of signs to get to Fushimi Inari Taisha/Inari Shrine. It's a huge tourist attraction lol. I think it was about a 5 minute walk from the station, but I don't think there's much chance you'd get lost on your way there because there's lots of other people headed to the same destination and lots of signs. Plus, if you got lost, I'm sure if you asked almost anyone, they'd be able to help point you in generally the right direction lol.
I actually took a fair amount of pictures here because it felt more comfortable to. There are already a lot of other people taking photos and walking slowly, so it's not weird for me to do the same.
The shrine is famous for the seemingly endless amount of torii gates. I'm sure you've probably seen pictures of people in here. The torii actually lead you on a mountain trail hike that can take 2-3 hours apparently. It's really crowded at the beginning but it kind of evens out after you walk for a bit. I busted out my selfie stick because a lot of other people did too.
My hair is up because I knew it would be super hot lol
When one of the "tunnels" had an opening, we chose to stop walking and just figure out how to get back to the bottom outside of the gates lol. We weren't really intending on doing the entire hike and just wanted to kind of see it and experience being there. The areas outside of Senbon Torii are really nice as well! 

Photos on the way out -
On the way out (or I guess on your way in, depending on where you enter), there were all these banners about the site being #1 on Trip Advisor or something like that lol. It is really picturesque, even just the parts we saw, and I'm sure if you do the entire hike and make it to Mount Inari, that it's really nice as well! We just really couldn't see ourselves doing the whole thing in the heat lol. It was already bad before we even got to the temple from the walk from the station lol. I think this would be a lot better in more moderate/cool weather.

We decided to just go back to the apartment after that (wtf so sweaty). Since we were trying to get back to Shin-Osaka, we went to JR Inari station which is much closer to the shrine. After a short ride back to Kyoto station on the JR Nara line, we transferred to a Special Rapid which took us all the back from there. (We didn't bother going back to Fushimi Inari station because we wanted to take JR all the way back.)

We rested and cooled off in the apartment for a bit, and then S decided he wanted to eat okonomiyaki in Namba, so we googled for where to go [here's the website we used for reference to find it] and headed out to Ajinoya. The websites insinuated that it would be really popular and the line might be long. We got there about 1/2 hour after it opened for dinner, and there was about 10-12 people in front of us. It was hot to just stand around outside lol. But we were able to look at the menu while we were waiting, so that was good. They have a menu in English, Chinese and Korean.
I don't really eat okonomiyaki or things often associated with okonomiyaki like yakisoba which is why S has never been able to eat it in Japan lol. And when we've traveled with my family, there's even less of a chance for him to eat it because my dad is not really a fan and my mom doesn't like it when she has to cook her own food at a restaurant. Anyway, I decided I would just deal with it since I wasn't super hungry or anything, so we went. At most Japanese restaurants we've come across (I don't know how true this is country-wide or anything), they want each person sitting at the table to order something (to eat). This is totally understandable, and I don't think it's unreasonable. But as a picky eater, I usually don't mind going to a restaurant to hang out with friends or whoever and just sit there and have a small drink or something if there isn't anything I eat on the menu. (I know it's a weird concept but most of my friends are used to it and I just eat before or after usually so I'm not like starving or anything.) But anyway, in this case, I didn't want to/probably couldn't do that, so I ordered the safest thing for me on the menu which is yakisoba. I figured I could just pick apart the noodles and leave everything else for S. I've never eaten yakisoba before and have never wanted to but it was supposedly pretty good at this restaurant, so it felt like a good a time as any to just try it.

I do not like yakisoba lol. Once it was brought out and I smelled it, I kind of just knew. But I had already ordered it and there was really nothing else for me, so I did try it. And there's a reason I avoided it before lol. This is really nothing against the restaurant. I just ordered something I probably wouldn't enjoy eating because in general I don't like the components in it and ofc I did not like it lol. So yeah this was a really fail dinner for me, but at least S got to eat okonomiyaki in Japan at a restaurant that was known for it in Namba.
Ajinoya staff actually cook the okonomiyaki for you at the table, so even though you have to deal with the hot surface in front of you, you don't actually have to do any cooking on it yourself. We weren't really sure how the place worked, so S kept stopping the staff and asking them, "should I flip it over?" "is it done now?" "can I eat it?" and stuff like that because he didn't want it to burn or whatever. All to which they essentially answered, "no just wait" lol. So this is a reference for anyone who wants to visit this restaurant - they will cook the okonomiyaki for you to completeness (but just in spurts when action needs to be taken because they don't wait at your table while the thing is happening) and let you know when it's done lol.

After Ajinoya, I wanted to go to the Daiso in Namba since it was really close anyway. I don't really have any pictures from a lot of the shopping I do because I'm like...seriously shopping and looking around lol. Usually I only have pictures from shopping when I have to ask someone at home a question about it or for future reference. Or if I'm like waiting forever and forever for the register or something haha. We also went to Bic Camera after for S because he wanted to look at the watches they had.
Yeah idk these pictures are not really anything worth mentioning but one is from Daiso and the other is from Bic Camera lol.

I also bought these Q-tips (what is the generic name? cotton buds?) from a drug store. I went in to look for black q-tips for my friend and came out with this lol.

We also stopped back at Umeda on our way back to Shin-Osaka from Namba. It was our last night in Osaka before we checked out of the apartment and headed to Tokyo, so I decided to get the trunk that Liz Lisa was selling by itself from Hep Five. I didn't bring one with me (a carry on size) because I was trying a different suitcase combination, and idk it didn't seem like a bad idea to get one? Idk. I wasn't sure if the Tokyo stores would have them as well, but since I needed a little more luggage space anyway, that was my excuse.
Kawaramachi OPA Liz Lisa purchase on the left and Hep Five trunk purchase on the right

I just realized that this day had two new experiences for us actually! Well S has eaten okonimiyaki in Japan before, so I guess it's one new for me counting the yakisoba and and then one for both of us with the Fushimi Inari shrine and Senbon Torii. Overall, I think I would consider it a pretty successful day! We got the wallet his mom wanted, a few things from Liz Lisa for me, went to a place we hadn't been before that many people consider a must-do in Kyoto, and tried food from a restaurant that specialized in it! This was our last full day based in Osaka before we went to Tokyo, and I consider it well spent. We were both looking forward to going to Tokyo though lol!

  Japan trip Summer 2015 posts:
Part 1 - Osaka & Kobe: Day 1 - 2
Part 2 - Kyoto & Namba: Day 3
Part 3 - Tokyo-based: Day 4 - 6
Part 4 - Sendai: Day 7
Part 5 - Tokyo-based: Day 8 -9
Part 6 - Osaka: Day 10 - 11
Part 7 - Airbnb & accommodations
Part 8 - Liz Lisa purchases
Part 9 - Other shopping
Part 10 - Travel notes

  Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
  Japan trip Summer 2014 posts


  1. Awww, Inari Shrine looks so cool - I would like the chance to go visit it ^.^ And you got the trunk! o.O Cuuuutttteeeee!

    1. You should! But I would definitely recommend a cooler season lol.