Category Archives: Kyoto

Kyoto Station

Arrival day into Japan, From KIX to Kyoto

November 2018
Our 2018 long haul trip takes us to the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan will be the first country for our trip to the Far East, after many years of traveling around Europe. We boarded a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur direct to Kansai. Departing KLIA at 22:10, we arrived Kansai airport at 05:40 the next morning. Flight MH52 utilising A330-300, took 6 hours of flying time which we felt rather ‘short’ compared to flying into a European city typically taking 12-14 hours.

Our Japan trip starting 2nd week of November 2018, coinciding with the start of autumn will take us to Kyoto and Osaka before flying to Tokyo with a brief one night stay at Lake Kawaguchiko for Mt Fuji.

Map of Japan

Upon arrival into Kansai, we will be collecting our pre-booked ‘Haruka’ train tickets & ‘Icoca’ pre-charged cards. Haruka is an express train service and coupled with the Icoca card (primarily to pay train & bus fares), you’ll be entitled to a substantial discounted train fare for the Haruka from Kansai to Kyoto, or to other designated station in between. We will need to collect our train ticket and the Icoca card from the JR Ticket Office.

Haruka tickets

The discounted ¥1,600 one way Kansai-Kyoto Haruka tickets.

Icoca cards

The regular & Hello Kitty Icoca cards. Two different designs to distinguish which is his & hers.

The International arrival level at Kansai airport is on 1F of Terminal 1. After passport control and handing our disembarkation card (distributed during your flight), claiming of our luggage and going through customs, we need to go up to 2F and walk over to the annex train station building. We then headed for the JR Ticket Office and after verifying details with our passport, paid & collected our Haruka tickets & Icoca cards. The Icoca card has a valid usage for up to 10 years. For more information and booking, visit here.

Kansai Airport

Passage on 2F airport terminal to Kansai-airport (train) Station in an annex building.

Kansai Airport

The annex building of Kansai-airport (train) Station.

Front part of the annex Kansai-airport (train) Station.

Kansai Airport Station

Rows of ticket machines for Nankai & JR trains towards your left.

Kansai Airport Station

At the end of the ticket machines, is the JR Ticket Office with it’s blue/yellow facade.

Kansai Airport Station

Inside the JR Ticket Office are counters for Japanese & English speaking visitors.

Directly in-front of the JR Ticket Office, are the ticket gates for our Haruka train platform on 1F a level down. Elevators are available for those with luggage.

Kansai Airport Station

Ticket gates for JR trains and Nankai trains. Credit : hiohio.net/travel-blog/

Kansai Airport Station

Past the ticket gates for JR trains, are stairs leading to the Haruka platform one level down. Elevators are also available.

Kansai Airport Station

The Haruka awaiting for passengers.

Kansai Airport Station

Seats in the Haruka train.

Kansai Airport Station

Luggage compartment in the Haruka.

(Note : 1F is GF (Ground Floor) in most other countries. Likewise, 2F in Japan is the 1st Floor and so on.)

Traveling time is 1h 15m for the Haruka to Kyoto station. If you’re riding the train in the morning, choose seats to the left to avoid the sun. As the train enters Osaka, you’ll notice a number of tall buildings, befitting it as the 2nd largest city in Japan. Our journey continues by-passing Osaka bound for Kyoto.

Osaka

The causeway connecting Kansai airport & the mainland.

Osaka

Boat on one of the rivers.

Tall buildings in Osakak

One of the tall buildings in Osaka.

Tall buildings in Osakak

Another modern tall building in Osaka.

Osaka

The unmistakable Umeda Sky Building.

Osaka

Coming up, a brief stop at Shin-Osaka station.

Once you’ve arrived into Kyoto train station, you’ll want to get out through the central exit for the Kyoto Tower (Shiokoji Dori) side. Depending on your itinerary, you may want to exit through the Hachijo Dori exit at the opposite side for your hotel or Shinkansen transfer. Elevators and escalators are available in this station. As with most Japanese hotels and guest houses, check-in is 2-3pm, thus you’ll may need to store your luggage till then. There are lots of coin operated lockers at B1 level of the station. A manned luggage office is also available although a little hidden, so ask around for directions. Cost of storage depends on the size of your luggage.

Kyoto Station

Arrival platform 30 at Kyoto train station.

Kyoto Station

No doubt we’re correctly in Kyoto.

Kyoto Station

Central entrance/exit of Kyoto train station facing the Kyoto Tower.

Kyoto Station

Kyoto Tower in-front of the station’s central entrance.

Kyoto station map

Useful map of Kyoto Station. Credit : KyotoStation.com

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor – Kyoto’s Fabric Outlet

November 2018
Bus stops are located just outside the Kyoto train station. With our luggage stored, we took a bus to explore Kyoto’s downtown attractions. (We’ll detail how to understand and use Kyoto’s bus services in a future post). However, before doing so, we dropped by a well known Kyoto fabric outlet.

Located in downtown Kyoto, Nomura Tailor, at 362 along Shijo street is a fabric outlet stocking comprehensive tailoring requirements. About everything you’ll require from fabric to needles is available in this 3 storey building. Although Nomura Tailor isn’t a tourist attraction, it was actually listed first in our itinerary. Knowing my wife passion for fabric and sewing, it was a delightful stop for her before we really started visiting the tourist attractions.

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Entrance to Nomura Tailor fronting Shijo street.

We spent easily more than an hour browsing the store from the exquisite fabrics to tailoring accessories we never imagined before. Need a circular scissors, choose from the varieties and sizes they carry. Need an apparatus to plant ‘stones’ onto your fabric, they have them too. Require the stones themselves, choose from the quality of glitter you fancy.

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Wife starting to inspect the fabrics.

Nomura offers varieties of fabric from the reasonable priced right up to the standard of Liberty’s. No doubt, the Liberty range of fabric here, matches the price as you would expect in Regent’s street. Even for a husband who know next to nothing about fabric, I know a Liberty when I see one. Their design, color, precision print, and quality of material sets them apart.

Although I’ve little interest here, the beautiful design and pattern of fabric rolls and cut pieces stacked side-by-side makes interesting photography subject that kept me occupied. Would you believe, a husband was inside Nomura for more than 1 hour ? Wife actually felt guilty taking up time here, she hurried her purchases.

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

For those keen on handicraft, you’ll find tons of material and accessories to keep you busy. Be it cross-stitch, weaving, knitting, T-shirt dye, repairing or upgrading your handbag’s handle, strap, buckles, zippers or whatever you can think off. Since this isn’t a topic I’m well versed, let the photos do the talking instead. For more information, visit Nomura’s site here. (In future posts, we’ll be visiting fabric outlets in Osaka & Tokyo as well).

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Nomura Tailor Kyoto

Kyoto attractions

Downtown Kyoto Attractions

November 2018
Right after Nomura Tailor, we headed for Shinkyogoku  & Teramachi Shopping arcades, followed by a visit to Nishiki Market and Hanamikoji street in Gion.

Parallel and side-by-side, Shinkyogoku & Teramachi shopping street makes it the heart of Kyoto’s main shopping area. These covered shopping arcades, are packed with shops and restaurants that sell day-to-day clothes & goods and draws the younger crowd from the more upscale stores of Shijo street where both the Shinkyogoku & Teramachi street starts.

Kyoto attractions

OIOI Kyoto Murai department store at the intersection of Shijo main street.

Kyoto downtown attractions

Attractions we’ll be visiting. Click to enlarge.

Shinkyogoku street is a much newer, narrower and crowded street than Teramachi street, It tends to attract the younger crowds with a wide range of appealing fashion & cosmetic shops, souvenir shops, game arcades, restaurants and cinema. The products on sale here are more to the liking of the younger generation as the prices are catered for their segment.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

Entrance to Shinkyogoku street from Shijo main street in the background.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

A section of Shinkyogoku street. Free wi-fi available.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

You’ll find fast food outlets and chain stores like Daiso here.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

Street with products appealing to the teens as well as to the elders.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Nishiki-Tenmangu shrine about mid point of Shinkyogoku street sharing it’s frontage with other stores.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Lanterns at the entrance of Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine. This frontage can also be seen from across the mid-point of Teramachi street.

Teramachi street is altogether a more refined spot, with a variety of fashion shops, bookstores, art galleries, souvenirs shops, pharmacies and tea shops which makes it popular with tourists.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

One of the entrances to Teramachi.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

More of local brand stores at Teramachi.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Clean and airy with a sizable crowd too.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Shoes & handbags in this section.

Teramachi Halal

Mezopotamia, Halal Turkish kebab, mid-point along Teramachi street. We had kebab for lunch here.

Teramachi Halal

They have Turkish ice cream too.

Nishiki Market branches off Teramachi about 100 meters north of Shijo Street, is a colorful narrow food market famous for its street food. The market is clean, and the dry walkway makes an interesting walk to explore what’s new.

Nishiki market

One of the entrances to Nishiki Market.

Nishiki market

Walkway inside the market.

Nishiki market

Notice that sign. “No eating while walking”

Nishiki market

Clamps almost as big as a child’s fist.

Nishiki market

Skewered seafood.

Nishiki market

¥200 at the market, ¥160 from the vending machine, cheaper still at roadside shops. This is the Coca Cola Kyoto limited edition.

After covering three attractions along Shijo street, walk or take a short bus ride to Hanamikoji street which is one of the most popular streets in the Gion district. This narrow street is made of large stone bricks instead of asphalt, indicating a departure from the main road. There are no sidewalks, thus the first time visitors would have the impression, it is a pedestrian street. However, vehicles are allowed into this street and they maneuver through the crowd of tourists, ruining what would otherwise be, a cool pleasant stroll in autumn.

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Left for Hanamijoki street .

Hanamikoji street, Gion

This is the reality. So be weary of traffic when taking photos or selfie.

A walk down Hanamikoji street towards Kennin-Ji temple, will transport you down history. Here you can marvel at beautifully preserved wooden buildings, quaint road signs and traditional tea houses that makes a nostalgic sight.

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Along the street, the old charm is still very well preserved all these years. The fact that the establishments here are still operating, adds an extra element of thrill and a feeling of walking back into old Japan thousands of years ago.

Hanamikoji street is the end of the day’s itinerary and we again took the bus back to Kyoto station to pick-up our begs and then headed to our apartment.

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion