How to Travel Japan On A $40 Budget - Day 11 Kyoto 2/6

Can you travel Japan on just $40 a day? We have 1 month in Japan to figure that out. Follow our blog to see how we travel Japan on a tight budget.

Where did we end up today in Japan?

Kyoto, Japan.

We plan to be here for the next week or so! We know there is a lot to see, discover, and explore. This will become our longest stay, and we’re excited to get started.

Where did we stay in Kyoto?

We booked several days at the Kyotokko Hostel for our stay in Kyoto.

What did we explore today in Kyoto?

Being our first day in Kyoto, we had quite a bit planned out. We plotted out several destinations on Google Maps and got to walking. We generally use the heart icon for must-see spots, stars for points of interest, and ‘want to do’ for markets, food, etc.

We were splattered in the rain at Yasaka Shrine


We started off the day by visiting the Yasaka Shrine. Carrying no umbrella, we absorbed every bit of drizzle headed our way. Luckily it wasn’t much but a moody increase to the atmosphere, and it kept us out of the warm sun for a change.

The aroma of incense permeated the air as people came and went to make their daily offerings as monks cleared the grounds of fallen leaves and the store keepers set up shop for the day ahead.

We ambled in the alleys near the Hokan Temple

Hokan Temple prevailing over dense clouds

Hokan Temple prevailing over dense clouds

Sauntering off toward the next area, we passed through countless vendors and merchants opening their doors for the day and greeting passersby. The otherwise empty streets emphasized the Hokan Temple as it towered in the distance.

By the time we reached Ninenzaka, we realized we were no longer by ourselves. Hundreds of people scattered about, from schoolchildren to organized tour groups alike, as they emerged from the desolate alleyways and brought the street to life.

As we squeezed through the crowds, we noticed the shops were offering plenty of snacks and Kyoto specialties. One in particular was yatsuhashi, which is simply rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon. We sampled some and simply couldn't get enough! This easily become our favorite treat in Japan thus far. 

We pressed on through the crowd, vendor samples and tour groups, shuffling around cars and people just like a leaf floating down a river. On the other side, Kiyomizu-Dera Temple revealed itself.

We stood tall with the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple over Kyoto

We spent quite a bit of time here soaking up the scenery. The temples and pagodas painted in a rich orange color offered an incredible contrast to the otherwise gloomy day. We’ve been lucky enough to experience such pleasant weather so far; everyday is a gift before our very eyes.

Wandering off to the side of the temple, one can enjoy cinematic views of the city. Offering spectators a rich view of Kyoto, this location alone makes a great stop along your journey.

After we had enough of the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, we finished off the day by getting lost through the maze that is Fushimi Inari Taisha.

We climbed Mt. Inari at Fushimi Inari Taisha

Entrance shrine to Fushimi Inari Taisha

Entrance shrine to Fushimi Inari Taisha

Thousands—10,000 to be exact—torii gates, one after the other, were constructed endlessly for everyone to pass through.

One, two, three...

One, two, three...

Hundreds of individuals—tourists and locals alike—squeezed through the narrow path consisting of 12,000 steps, taking countless photos and moving slow as molasses along the way.

Realizing that there was a trail to the summit of Mt. Inari, we hurried to the top to catch what we thought would be an impeccable glimpse of the area.

Running to the top of Mt. Inari!

Running to the top of Mt. Inari!

To our dismay, there wasn't much of a vantage point, being surrounded by large trees all the way around. It felt more like a pilgrimage to the top to plant one's own mini torii gate, which can be done by purchasing one for sale nearby.

As the afternoon casted its warm glow upon us, we made our way back to the train station. Nearly everyone that was at the Fushimi Inari Taisha shoved into the train, and we all become well acquainted with one anothers' pheromones as we zoomed back to Kyoto station.

How much did we spend today in Kyoto?

Food: ¥2254 / $19.91

Transport: $0 (We used our PASMO train cards already accounted for)

Lodging: ¥2010 / $17.76

Sightseeing: $0

Other: $0

Total: ¥4265 / $37.67

Did we achieve our budget of $40 today? 

Yes, we finally made it!

Only by spending money on the bare essentials were we able to make the cut.

Plenty of walking and cooking our meals at the hostel helped us in achieving our budget goals.  Although not particularly glamorous, this style of travel works for us! Keeping it simple is the key.

With that, our Facebook and Instagram will be updated daily, so swing by our page to see some extra photos. 

Until then, safe travels!