The fifth day on my travel journal was a day of relaxation (not that we had to work hard on those other days, but it was a day without a travel plan). A great day for trying special food, walking without any hurry and shopping. Sounds like fun! It was a day when our team got separated for the fist time : two of us had some business to attend to in Nagoya, the rest of us remained in Kyoto. And we were here for a treat!
As usual, we started our day on Horikawa Dori, admiring the small shops in the vicinity. Fabric boutiques, selling all sorts of traditional textiles, scarves, in different colors and imprints, quite expensive.
Our main destination was to get to Gion, across the Kamo River and explore the famous street on Pontocho Area, filled with restaurants. It was the right time for a special, traditional lunch in one of the most beautiful places in Kyoto.
We have finally found a nice place to eat and admire the view.
The food was excellent and fresh and it might have been the most expensive meal we had until then. But the whole experience was worth it.
We thought about our friends in Nagoya and what a truly delicious and wonderful thing they have missed (without knowing that they, too, had some traditional cuisine surprises in Nagoya, as well).
So we left the restaurant in contentment and enjoyed our walk on this narrow street, ready for the second part of the day – the shopping experience.
We headed downtown, where the malls are located and we started to blend with the streams of people, flowing along the streets of central Kyoto. The malls, situated on Shijo Dori and Kawaramachi Dori didn’t took us so many time as we anticipated, though.
The sportswear zone was our main interest and we have found a big Sports Hall in Takamiyacho area, named Sports Mitsuhashi.
That was a place where we spent quite a while. Asics and Mizuno are the names that captivated us the most.
Afterwards we had a good long walk in downtown area, visiting some of the small shrines we found in our way. The evening was about to fall and we had to prepare our final stage in our shopping chapter in Kyoto.
As a travel photographer, on such a relaxing day with no reason to run anywhere, I thought it would be great to travel even lighter than I already normally do (since I have switched my DSLR with a Mirrorless system – more on that here, on my Blog), so I have left my main Fujifilm camera at home and took the small and light, yet powerful Fuji X100S, which I have used to capture my memories through the whole day.
The last part of our shopping time was in the Teramachi and Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcades. It is all about two covered streets, designed only for pedestrians, filled with small shops, boutiques and restaurants that sell any king of goods and especially souvenirs – our last point of interest for the day.
Interested in buying something or not, the whole participation in meandering through the shopping arcades is a very eye-catching one.
There are places where you could sit and gather your strengths, get social, talk on the phone or just wait and look at the people.
We stayed here for maybe two hours, looking for the perfect souvenir shop with the best prices. We found more than one – there are many boutiques with a huge variety of amazing products and the prices were really attractive.
The night was already there, but we made sure we have checked almost all possibilities.
And when we finally had found what we were looking for, we decided it was time to head home.
After we got out of the bus, a few meters away from the bus station, we found a very small and nice restaurant. We were hungry and the atmosphere inside was inviting us, along with a good and powerful flavor of a delicious ramen. The menus in English were quite funny – everything looked friendly and cozy.
The place was really small, the music was good, the food was delicious. And so close to our home – I decided this was a good venue where I could invite all my crew for my birthday, which was coming two days later.
We left the restaurant and walked just a few minutes our way home, where our arrival was synchronized with the arrival of the other two “Cousins”, coming a long way from Nagoya. We finished the day with a small briefing (what did we see, do, eat and buy versus what did they see, do, eat and buy). A very close Family Mart store provided the “logistic support” for our late night meeting, discussing and planing the adventures for the next day. Magic!
All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2016 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com