Wow… Goodbye October.
At the end of September I took a solo trip to Kyoto, the once capital of Japan that boasts the most historical setting. It was delightful and surprisingly peaceful but it left me with a strange sensation. In the past, I always traveled with friends or family or new acquaintances. Never alone.
I am an introvert by nature and greatly enjoy solitary time. But almost four days of limited human interaction was… a transformative experience. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I ate where I wanted. I shopped… a lot. I sat and listened to the wind blow through the trees and didn’t have to make small talk.
So, every time I sat down to write a blog post it felt… impossible to describe. But I will attempt to share the highlights. The moments that I will absolutely carry with me for the rest of my life.
#1 Fushimi inari
If you have researched anything about traveling to Japan you have seen photographs from this site. It is often ranked as the #1 destination in Kyoto and for good reason. The only way I can describe it… It’s like stepping into a Studio Ghibli film. There was an ancient quality that I have never experienced before. My pictures don’t capture the breathtaking serenity.
I have several friends that are planning on coming to see me and I am going to force them to go to this temple.
#2 Kinkaku-ju (Golden Pavilion)
I was not overwhelmed by this shrine. It was beautiful but very small.
However, they did have English fortunes! Which I haven’t seen anywhere else. I got pretty good luck so I decided to keep it.
Oh! and they sell ice cream with gold flecks. I’m pretty sold.
Ok, this is ridiculous. I know. There are Lush stores all over the world. Why would I go to one in Japan. Two reasons. 1) The products are different here. 2) the Lush in Kyoto is the only store in the world that has a kitchen on site. So, the face masks are literally fresh. 3) This Lush also has a spa. Yup. And they use Lush products for facials, massages, and more. I splurged and got a massage and it was amazing. And they gave me tea and a cookie after! Why isn’t that always a thing?!
#4 Bamboo forest.
A short train ride away (on a train that forcibly reminded me of the one in Spirited Away) is the forest of Arshiyama. Apparently, there is also a place where you can hike up a small mountain and see monkeys playing out in the open. But I decided to call it a day and go shop some more.