Saturday, April 15, 2017

Kyoto Day 3 - Nijo Castle, Nishiki Market

Hello readers! Our 3rd day in Kyoto, as i was not feeling well and took some medicine the night before so both of us slept in before we eventually prepared and coming out of our cosy air bnb for our itinerary of the day. That's something that i like when it comes to free and easy holiday, not restricted to waking up early morning and joining the others in the guided tours. I do whatever i want, and randomly. Even though when it comes to planning the itinerary, i would try to add all the places sthat i would want to visit but it doesn't have to go according to the plan because it's a holiday not a camp.

Rather than ensuring that we completed all the attractions that i had added inside our itinerary, the most important thing is to ensure we are enjoying our holiday and at least completing one of the places covered for each day. Day 3 in Kyoto was a very relaxing itinerary because we decide to visit the Nijo Castle, follow by Nishiki Market and simply just exploring around that area for the day!

Jeremy acting cute because he doesn't want to take photo but i forced him to.

Our first stop, Nijo Castle! In Japan, there are many attractions that you can go either for free or you pay the entrance fee. For Nijo castle, entrance fee is required, 600 yen per pax.

The history of this Nijo castle is very long and to summarise based on my understanding, this castle is built in 1603 as the kyoto residence for this powerful man called Tokugawa leyasu, he has gone for many battle and defeat many of his rivals during 1600s , gaining more wealth and power so the emperor appointed him as Shogun (referred to the commander that holds the military power and generally the real ruler of the country) the Tokugawa shogun continue to rule Japan for 250 years. The tokugawa family ruled from 1603-1867 before it fell and the castle has since then been used as imperial palace before being donated to the city and open up to the public as a historic site.

It was interesting to understand the history and this is one of the karamon main gate to Nihonmaru palace.

For anyone that love history, i think it would be worthwhile to enter and visit the Ninomaru palace. It's a different experience of reading it up online compare to visiting the ground yourself.

No photo-taking is allowed (i was reading up the description of each room that i wasn't interested to take photo too) so we had to go barefooted when we entered the Ninomaru palace. It was fascinating to know that the palace is still well-maintained and to understand how the people of the past has used the place for eg, the palace has been used to welcome visitors and they use very fine wood carvings to impress their visitors as well as a reflection of their power and wealth of the shoguns.

In the palace, based on my memory, there are different type of holding rooms and the space for each room is so huge! 36000 sq ft! Even though we don't exactly get to walk inside the room as it has been barricade, but it was definitely a good learning experience to understand their culture, tradition. Different ranking of their visitors will be received accordingly to the chambers they have. One of the most unique features in the Ninomaru palace will be the 'nightingale' floors in their corridors. To prevent occupants from sneak attacks and assassins, the floors has been built such that anyone who walk on it will produce the seemingly bird squeaking sound. I remember walking on those floors a few times to listen to the sounds it produce. Hahaha. It was amazing.

After our tour in the palace, there were gardens outside and many beautiful cherry blossoms around!

The whole area in Nijo castle is around 275000 square metre! But only 86000sq ft is occupied for buildings which mean the remaining space are used for gardens, or even for trees as there was one area we walked that seem to look like a park and imagine how the people from the past has been admiring all those cherry tree as each season change in their comfort of the castle they owned.

After Nijo castle, we went to Nishiki market hoping to settle our lunch. It was convenient when we use GPS and took the correct bus to bring us to Nishiki market,

Nishiki market is a narrow shopping street with more than 100 over shops and restaurants and they sell all sort of foods, like fresh seafood, cookware, speciality, finger foods. We tried their takoyaki and it was so good!

Some of the food stalls have this machine for you to insert money, choose the takoyaki that you want and a ticket will be issued. Pass to the staff and wait for your order.

 Tadah! Hahaha once you try the one in Japan, you won't like the one in Singapore anymore.

 Black sesame icecream that i bought in the Nishiki market!
Through the Nishiki market, when you have walk to the end of it, it will lead you to another stretch of more shops , restaurant etc.

It is common to see this in Japan, we tried our luck to play but couldn't get any toys one!

 Cute ziplocks bag that i found in daiso store.
When i was walking back the Nishiki market, i was deciding if i should buy the strawberry because they look so good all nicely arranged at the stall, there were a few, so the first time when i walked through the market, the strawberry was selling for 1 packet at 700 yen. I was still considering so i didn't purchase immediately and was shopping at the other stretch of shops and restaurants, when we was leaving, we decide to walk back the nishiki market and i saw the strawberry price has dropped! Hahaha from 700 yen, it has become 1 packet for 350 yen! Almost got ripped off if i decided to buy on the spot! So i guess the timing to visit the market is also very important, when we was leaving, it was also the time the sellers are closing their shops so it's probably why the price dropped tremendously.

This strawberry is one of the best that i ever had. It's not sour at all! In fact addicting because it's so sweet and i almost eat the whole packet without offering Jeremy. Hehehe. Usually i offer to him if its sour because he can take sour stuffs. So i regretted buying 2packet only after that. When i start to search other places that sell strawberry, all their prices were horribly high at 700-800 yen some hitting 1000yen, and the packaging is the same as this! So i refused to buy the strawberry back when i was in Tokyo. 

Generally i feel tokyo is expensive than kyoto when it comes to eg, snacks items, fruits, other kind of produce. I did a price comparison of the items but only to realise tokyo charge higher for the same exactly item. For eg : kit kats. But the food in Tokyo is cheaper than Kyoto. Probably because its common to see so many restaurants in Tokyo and stiff competition  benefit the shoppers!

It's common to see well dressed guys on the street, most of the times wearing formal and so common for the collar workers to wear blazer or suites so i think its advisable to dress well while visiting Japan so as not to look out of place. Hahaha, no one wears t-shirt, shorts or slippers over here. Not even us. Even though that is my attire if i am in Bangkok. Hahaha.
We was deciding where to head for our dinner. And i remember xy introduce me to try the Chao Chao Gyoza and she told me we need to go early so we wouldn't have to wait for so long. My itinerary usually planned on the places to visit for each day, food wise i like to decide on the spot or as and when we go, but for this trip, most of the time i realised we forgot to had our proper meal after i look through the photos because it seems we weren't hungry after exploring around.

Food was not my top priority anyway. Getting fat already. hurhur. Using GPS, we found the place, this was the view as we was waiting for our turn.

 This is the highly recommend chao chao gyoza, they only accept cash and the queue gets longer, we was lucky as we reached there around 6pm so we waited for about half an hour compared to the usual 1 hour++ waiting time. This shop is rather small too so most of us who was waiting for our turn was standing outside, they had the waiting list board for you to indicate your name and they call you when its your turn.
This was our view from the opposite side of the shop while waiting. Loving this weather even though it do get pretty cold at night!

When it was finally our turn! 

Hahahaha, i think i was hungry by then and didn't take photos of other gyoza that we ordered. Hahaha  I only know this is awesome when you match it with Asahi beer! Their beer is cheap!
My face get super red whenever i drink any alcohol, Jeremy too so my face and eye was kinda red, hahahaha. selfie mode while waiting for our add on dishes.

 Hahahaha i was not drunk that time, was still sober!

Went to search for some anello bags for friends while shopping, all these cute stuffs!

Even though the weather is already very cold, but that does not stop me for trying their ice-cream!
I love this ice-cream! I think it cost only $1 sgd, this ice-cream is super good and value for $$, it was found in one of the kyoto convenience store, but i couldnt find this anymore when i was in Tokyo.

 Some of the items that i bought at one of the supermarket!
We bought it and microwave it at our air bnb, not bad!

These chocolates are cheap too! 

On our way back to our air bnb, we will always pass by coco ichibanya curry rice, so we request for a takeaway and brought back to our air bnb to eat while playing the available movies from the dvd selection that the owner has provided.

Shall end for now.
Till then!