Attractions Around & Nearby Kyoto : Travel Ideas

After fully absorbing the cultural feel of Kyoto, it is time to get around & nearby attractions. And there are plenty of options, either as a day trip or even a few relaxing days.

Paddy fields

Deer Town of Nara is a short distance away, easily accessible via train in 45 minutes. First stop is to Todai-ji Temple, a short 15-minute walk from the train station along busy street (with bumbling cute deers along the way too!). Main attraction is the Big Buddha in the main hall of the temple. Temple is simple and large, with a big garden populated by the very docile (but a little greedy) deers. Tourists love the interactions with the deer, feeding them crackers that can be bought from nearby shop. Take a stroll along the streets and drop by for bento lunch boxes before heading home.  

Walking towards the Main Hall of Todai-ji

Big Buddha in the main hall of Todai-ji Temple
Hungry deer asking for crackers from school girls! Common to see roaming deer everywhere

Okayama houses one of the best garden landscapes of the Land of Rising Sun – Korakuen Garden (alongside Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen and Mito’s Kairakuen). The garden is a sight to behold, especially on a bright sunny day. A stroll along the park should never be hurried, and all the beautiful plants, lake and stones seems to be naturally pleasing to the eyes. With the blue sky, it is showcases man’s landscaping and the nature blending into one.

Reflection of the blue sky on the calm ponds in Korakuen Garden
Plants, Stones, Ponds… Landscaped Zen
Pathways, small bridges, even tea houses to rest the sore feet!

Don’t forget to visit Okayama’s Castle too, which is situated right opposite the Korakuen Garden, crossing over a bridge to cross the river. Okayama Castle is fairly new-looking, probably as it has been restored.

Himeji also houses another restored castle. Along the way to Himeji, there are interesting street to look for food.

Himeji Castle was still under renovation in the 2012
Views of the city from atop Himeji Castle
By chance our trip coincided with the yukata festival with many in the traditional robe

Kinosaki-onsen perhaps require a stay overnight, especially considering the onsens available there are so comfortable. Nearly 4 hours by train, the vibe in Kinosaki-onsen is slightly different with a laid-back environment. If you stay in one ryokans, you can wear the yukata to get into the mood and visit all the hotsprings that you can visit. As most people are also in their yukata, you won’t feel out of place.  

Right in front of the onsen
Racks for slippers. We were too shy and took a tub in private room 😀
Small town has totally different vibes, as if you are transported back to the olden romantic era

Actually Osaka is also very nearby to Kyoto, but will probably to be continued with a separate blog to highlight the food!

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