The ESADE Japan Trek officially began in Kyoto! I couldn’t wait to see my friends from ESADE! This part of the trip was planned by our Japanese friends.
We started out the trek with a sushi brunch! It was super fun because it was a restaurant that put the different sushi options on a conveyer belt and you took whatever you wanted. After lunch we went for a walk around the bamboo forest (Arashi-yama). This is very touristy but it’s pretty cool to see a bamboo forest.
A must-visit in Kyoto is the golden palace, Kinkaku-ji, known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. It’s a beautiful zen buddhist temple and one of the most popular buildings in Japan.
After visiting the palace we went to Nishiki Ichiba (market). Imagine 50+ MBA students in a japanese market. Of course we bought everything!
We finished an amazing day by having dinner at Gion-gyuzen. It was an interesting dining experience because you get raw meat and vegetables and get to cook them.
Our second day was Kimono day!! We got dressed up in Kimono’s for most of the day which was very cool. If you do this, only one suggestion: avoid eating too much beforehand (or being hungover…oops), they are extremely tight!
Once we were dressed up and ready, we went to Sannen-zaka which is an area that has been kept traditional, it is known as “Sannen-zaka Historical Quarter”.
We walked up to Kiyomizu-dera which is a buddhist temple that has a beautiful view from its veranda. I can’t even imagine how beautiful it is around autumn! You can spend hours walking around the area.
We had some free time in the afternoon so a group of us went to Fushimi-inari. Inari is the god of rice and the head shrine is located at the base of a mountain that is also called Inari. We didn’t climb up because it was getting dark and it’s 4km up. We did explore part of the path up which is decorated with Torii. A Torii is a Japanese gate and they are usually donated by those who have been successful in business as a sign of gratitude. Walking around the Torii is very special and beautiful.
We ended an amazing day by having a karaoke dinner!
If you are planning to come to Kyoto, my recommendation would be to give it at least 3 days. We were able to see the major sites in 2 days but it was tight and there is a lot more to see in this gorgeous, historic city.