Before this trip I had the highest expectations for Tokyo, but it ended up liking Kyoto the best! Wandering through the cozy small streets, indulging on the best Ramen, and visiting gorgeous ancient temples; this city is truly a must visit for travelers in Japan. And who knew that Kyoto has so many hipster hotspots? The city is known for its historic highlights, but when you do a bit of research, and read my blog :), you can find a lot of trendy spots serving the most amazing food.
In Kyoto, many of the highlights are on walking distance and there are several shops to rent a bike. I recommend getting the pocket Wi-Fi so that Google maps can easily guide you through the city and get you from one place to the other. Just like I mentioned in my Tokyo blog, if you’re travelling between cities the Japan Rail Pass is probably a good investment, but within the city you can only use it for a limited number of trains.
It’s not an understatement if I say that Ippudo’s Ramen is the very best I’ve ever had. The broth was loaded with deep flavor and featured tasty ground pork, so yummy! During peak hours, you may have a bit of a wait, but as you can already order in line, your Ramen is immediately served when you come in. This place also proves that good food doesn’t have to be expensive. Ippudo is conveniently located at the end of the Nishiki food market so you can easily combine the two.
% Arabica Coffee
% Arabica Coffee is one of the most popular coffee spots in Kyoto. It’s located on one of the small streets of Gion, the geisha district, close to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Even though it’s quite hidden, lots of people manage to find this place. % Arabica offers freshly roasted coffees and various teas and their bright interior screams hipster. It’s a great spot to pop by to reload during a day of exploring!
Nishiki Food Market
Nothing more fun than visiting a food market abroad to see and taste their local specialties. On the Nishiki Market that means Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood, sushi, and oddities like squid on a stick. You can also find lots of souvenirs like chopsticks and cookware and you can eat in one of the small restaurants on the market. It’s connected to the Shin Kyogoku mall so you can easily combine it with some shopping.
Len Hostel, Cafe, Bar, Dining
This hipster hostel offers both dorms and private rooms at very affordable prices. We didn’t stay at Len as I discovered it a bit too late, but we did visit their café for breakfast. The warm decor with rustic tables and chairs was a cozy and different environment. For breakfast, we could choose from croissants, granola, pastries, and eggs; simple but tasty. And combined with a coffee enough to get prep myself for a day of exploring!
(@Nine Hours Hotel)
Nine Hours Hotel
Ever heard of a capsule hotel? Before this trip I had no idea what it was, but it’s quite popular in Japan. In a capsule hotel, you sleep in pods roughly the size of a single bed that are stacked in one big room. Often you find separate rooms for men and women. We only booked one night as it was not very romantic on our honeymoon, but the experience was fun! The facilities of Nine Hours are clean and modern, so if you want to try a capsule hotel this would certainly be a good pick.
Japanese Massage at Hiyoshido
Japan is an amazing country, but running around the cities can be quite tiring. In Kyoto we were ready for some rest and relaxation and got the tip to go to Hiyoshido for a massage. One of the best decisions! The traditional Japanese massage was the perfect activity to get us ready for the rest of our trip. Do mind that this place is a bit tricky to find so you may need Google to help you out.