How to Travel Japan On A $40 Budget – Day 13 Kyoto 4/6

Where are we today in Japan?


With time ticking down until we begin WWOOFing, we finally saw the main event we had planned for Kyoto; that is, Jidai Matsuri.

Where did we stay in Kyoto?

Another night in Kyotokko saved us some cash. It's been a while now that we've been here and it only gets easier. The supermarket is literally at the end of the block, making food trips a breeze for our budgeting needs. If you're looking for an easy way to budget in Kyoto, look no further.

What did we do today in Kyoto?

We discovered the serene beauty of the Arashiyama bamboo grove


It's one thing to hear about it and see pictures of it, and another thing entirely to be there in person in awe of the splendor.

While a natural wonder, the Arashiyama bamboo grove was crowded even early in the morning as the sun peaked its head out. We learned shortly after that people visit while it is still dark out just to snap some photos before all the crowds arrive!

Traveling to Kyoto in the off-season has provided us with better costs and less hassle with other tourists, yet this city still remains a top destination for visitors year-round. All of the popular sites still become flooded with flocking waves of travelers - foreigners and locals alike.


As with Fushimi Inari Taisha, you have to be patient to take your photos, as everyone is clamouring about doing just the same.

It almost seems silly to play this game with the crowd, rather than seeing what's before us. We spend so much time documenting our travels as people in general, that we often neglect what we came to see to begin with. It helps sometimes to put the camera and gadgets away and just enjoy the moment for what it's worth.

Taking a moment for mindfulness is all we need. It gets us moving in the right direction, and expands our choices throughout the day. When we have any sort of trouble, we can just relax and breathe. The power of the breath hones our attention to what’s important in the present moment, and all else fades away.


Knowing this, we took to the corners and simply gazed upon the forest as it breezed back and forth with the gusts of wind. We heard the brouhaha among the crowds and the overlapping conversations in various international languages, coupled with the hoarse caws of the crows flying overhead.

Amidst the buzz of visitors, we found tranquility during our visit and left feeling refreshed and energized.

We traveled through time at the Jidai Matsuri in heian shrine

Jidai Matsuri ending at the Heian Shrine

Jidai Matsuri ending at the Heian Shrine

Jidai Matsuri, or Time Festival, is one of the largest events in Kyoto every year. Our trip started from Tokyo and we came west to witness this display.

Everyone took to the streets and filled every spot along the curb, claiming their spots long before the festival began. When it started, we tuned our ears to the magical music and bang of the drums and followed the march from the Imperial Palace all the way to the Heian Shrine,

It felt as though we were part of the parade itself, moving along and keeping in step with the performers throughout the town.

Plenty of historical figures were honored throughout, along with traditional clothing, horses, and a variety of other displays. If you’re looking to attend a festival in Japan, you can't go wrong with Jidai Matsuri!

We met a roadblock on our hunt for a Fire Festival with Kurama No Hi

The reason we came to Kyoto at the end of our trip (contrary to most people starting here) was to see Kurama no Hi.

It's a fire festival up north, and what a spectacular event it seems to be! Excited to see two festivals in one day, we ventured off immediately after Jidai Matsuri had finished and hurried to the train station.

It wasn't until we were about to board the train to Kurama that the conductor told us the route was to Kurama was no longer operated due to the recent typhoon. We were lucky to be out of harm's way during the typhoon—happening just before we arrived—yet, no less, we took the bus quite a distance to arrive at the station with such news.

It was only 230 yen one way, but since we had to retrace our steps thereafter, we ended up spending 460 yen for nothing and losing out on an hour of time.

Meeting slight disappointment is part of travel and no less welcomed on our journey. It's what makes this process so interesting, and it changes all day every day. Anything you plan can turn around just as quickly. We're just glad that we were able to experience Jidai Matsuri for what it was!

How much did we spend budgeting in Kyoto, Japan?

Food: ¥2176 / $19.43

Transport: ¥685 / $6.12

Lodging: ¥1989 / $17.76

Sightseeing: $0

Other: $0

Today: ¥4863 / $43.31

Did we make our $40 budget today in Kyoto?

Slightly over, but yes. Today was a success even though we did waste a few bucks on a bus ride for nothing. On the flip side, we got to see a festival, and our first at that. What a day it was!

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Until next time, safe travels!