Baby-Moon In Japan
Baby-Moon, Why Japan?
Well, its one of my favorite places on the planet. A modern country with some of the most preserved ancient cites and customs; unlike any other place in the world the two contexts mix seamlessly and create a world unlike any I have sen or experienced.
Japan is a place for dreamers, foodies, philosophers, analytics, adventurers, explorers, the zen and the restless.
As a baby-moon destination I wanted to go somewhere ‘far and exotic’ meaning different and special and with a contrast to my own culture. With so many countries offering that type of landscape, Japan is the cleanest, most developed with the safest food and streets in the world. It is also very medically developed, and carrying a baby inside of you, you want to have that type of peace of mind.
We flew Jal and Nippon airways, trading our points for a business class ticket (more on this in a different post about using points to ‘Fly like a Baller’), but the flight cost nothing (even better when you have a baby on the way) and we got to enjoy the great comforts of two top airlines.
Tokyo 2 days – Nikko 2 days – Kyoto 7 days – Tokyo 3 days
In this post, I will discuss mainly Kyoto (where to stay, what you ‘must’ do, eat and see).
Why these cities:
I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by travel and get tired, no matter how easy and connected the train system is in this country. I also wanted to rest and reset and spend a lot of peaceful time in Kyoto, my favorite place (yes, literally my second favorite city in the world).
Nikko was a new place, where we had not been (I will post separately on this amazing little town), while Tokyo and Kyoto where places we had both been numerous times together. I love Tokyo for everything it offers, and our last three days there were pure magic (separate Tokyo post on this), however I want to focus this specific travel and ‘baby-moon’ article on Kyoto.
Kyoto was a city I visited first when I was 21 years old, and I fell deeply in love with it. Since then my husband and I have made it a point to run back there whenever we need a breath of air in our lives; reconnecting ourselves to the world and to one another in an unspoken series of walks and talks and city melodies that always leave us more connected and rested. Also, lending both of us a deep perspective that is a necessity for what we do in life.
KYOTO – where we spent most of our time:
Places to stay:
AMAZING on a budget: Air B & B (find a place near Gion)
AMAZING on a splurge: Four Seasons Kyoto
Days you need:
MAXIMUM (forever), kidding I love Kyoto more and more on a 7-9 day visit
MINIMUM 3 days (day trips don’t give it justice)
Deeper Dive into Accommodations, Must-See’s and just Kyoto
Kyoto is my second favorite city in the world (after NYC), I keep returning to you and you never fail me with your charm and depth.
Kyoto to me is that place,
it’s where I lose and gain time too naturally to consider it at all – living instead in the middle places; between moments and hours and days,
between sacred temples and the spirits they honor
between tress and ponds and between the rain drops before they complete their fall
between dargon-flys and pine needles and the tips of roof tops all heavily tainted by the smokey air and the all too frequent rain.
MY MUST SEE CHECKLIST:
Gion at 6pm on, walk the streets, explore eat, look for Mieko and Geisha (but please don’t chase them with cameras)
Nishiki market for lunch; stroll and eat from each stall, then pop into a restaurant for a drink and then check out the small vintage shops lining the tiny side streets
Start at the Silver Pavilion Ginkakuji (銀閣寺) at the poets walk, then after seeing the grounds of the pavilion walk down the post walks to the Shisendo Temple. Both the Pavilion and the temple are incredible and you should take your time on these grounds simply exploring. Then, make your way to Nishiki for lunch (taxi or a long 60min walk) or walk onward to the ancient streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka.
Two of Kyoto’s most attractive and famous streets are Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka in th Higashiyama District (東山), you actually can connect these from the Philosophers walk, but that will be a full day with hours of walking and exploring.
After you reach Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, starting or ending there, make sure to take time to walk the Kiyiomizudera and Yasaka Shrines.
Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally “Pure Water Temple”) is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan and should not be missed when in Kyoto.
Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社, Yasaka Jinja), more commonly known as the Gion Shrine, is one of the most famous shines in Kyoto and is my favorite to see at night, when all of its lanterns are lit. Its a great shrine to visit after an early start people watching in Gion, or prior to a night out at dinner in Gion. The shrine was founded over 1350 years ago, and is very conveniently located between the the Gion and Higashiyama districts.
Also checkout the Heian Shrine (平安神宮, Heian Jingū)
Kinkaku-ji officially named Rokuon-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto is often a must see due to the amazing pictures, but while impressive it’s not my most favorite (mostly because of the large crowds it draws) and how far out of the way it is from some other temples. If you do go, don’t spend a full day there, the temples and streets above are a better use of time in my opinion.