We went to Kyoto yesterday...we bought JR line pass for 7 days, only for tourists and you can buy it overseas through their agents. I think it is worth the 28,000++ yen. According to my friend, it is equivalent to a return travel to Kyoto from Tokyo and you can use all JR line trains within Tokyo as well as Narita Express, so I think we've saved a lot by buying this pass...and I recommend you do the same if you're planning to travel around Japan by JR trains.
Kyoto is absolutely beautiful...very authentic and very Japanese, unlike modern big city Tokyo. I always love the country side of a new country, where the old history is still rich :). We were running late in the morning, so we took the next Shinkansen Hikari train to Kyoto, arriving in Kyoto around 10:30am (about 2.5 hours ride from Tokyo). We bought our bento and ate it once we got on the train :) and slept throughout the whole journey...though I bet the view must've been beautiful :). The ride was so smooth and the nap was nice :).
We only had the time for Kiyomizu Dera...famous for its magnificent view :) and I believe it's listed as World's heritage site. There were also a lot of charms for sale...for love, for good luck, for wealth, for easy delivery during pregnancy, for exams, etc etc...you name it...they have it hahahaha...I find it very interesting, though...there were also a lot of small stands for people to pray and put their hopes. Two of the most interesting ones were the Love stone where you're supposed to walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed...if you succeed, then your love wish will come true soon, if not, then it will be a little while more :D. Another one was where you write your troubles on a human shaped paper then you put it into the water bucket and when the writings dissolve, your wishes will come true :).
Along the street towards the temple, there were so many street vendors...so very interesting...I was full from trying all the snacks...and we bought a lot of snacks to eat as well :p. To go around Kyoto, we bought the daily bus ticket for 500 yen, which would pay itself after you've traveled more than 3x, because each ride costs 220 yen. You can buy this ticket at the tourist information center at Kyoto Station.
We found another Totoro and Hayao Miyaki's characters in Kyoto...This shop is sooo cute :) Got Papa Panda and Baby Panda from the movie Panda Go Panda, because when I showed her a Papa Panda key chain, she demanded for Baby Panda...ow well...
From Kiyomizu Dera, we were supposed to go to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Temple) but the bus we took went off duty! So, we had to change to another bus which circled the loooong route and we decided it was too late to go so we went to Nishinjin Textile Center!! A very interesting place, I must say :)...bought some Kimono fabrics and a bunch of other cute furoshiki fabrics.
We then had our dinner at Kyoto Station before finally heading back to Tokyo. I will definitely visit this place again next time...and definitely will spend a night or two here...I am yet to explore Gion area (used to be where the Geishas live). Got back at our hotel so late...I didn't have time to blog :)