Hi all! My name is Angela and I’m the content marketing manager for Encircled. I’m usually behind the camera (I'm very camera shy) and social media (Instagram to be exact)! I’m excited to share a glimpse into one of my favourite places that I've travelled to. Just a little over two months ago I was on a 2 week vacation in Japan. The majority of the trip was spent in Tokyo, but I took a high speed bullet train (also known as the Shinkansen) travelling across the country up to 320km/h to Kyoto. Formerly known as Japan’s capital from 794 up until 1868, it’s a historic city full of temples and shrines. I didn’t realize how much I’d fall in love with Kyoto until I was there.
You might be able to spot Mount Fuji from the right side of the Shinkansen if you’re traveling from Tokyo in the direction of Kyoto if the weather is clear. I missed it on the train, but not before I left Japan. The tip peaked above the clouds as the sun was setting on my flight back home.
Nature always speaks to me. Magical, breathtaking, and free. Nothing can truly capture the feeling when I stood among the tallest densely grown bamboo shoots in the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. In Japanese culture, Bamboo represents strength and flexibility because they can live through extreme weather conditions and are often one of the only remaining trees that can survive a heavy storm.
Before the trail into the Arashiyama Bamboo forest there's a small ice cream stand called Kyozuan that sits in the corner. I love sweets, and here I tasted the best ice cream I’d ever had: Tofu flavoured soft serve, made with soy milk from organic soy beans (vegan friendly!). And if I could take this home as a souvenir, I would.
Not far from the Arashiyama Bamboo forest is the Iwatayama Monkey Park, a short 30 minute hike up a mountain with over 170+ Japanese macaque monkeys at the summit overseeing the city below. I fed these lil’ monkeys with bags of apples and peanuts sold for 50 cents a bag.
One of only a few temples I visited was Kiyomizudera, a Buddhist temple translated to mean “Pure Water”. It’s known for its large wooden balcony, and despite being under construction at the time, I had a beautiful view that overlooked the city with lush greenery. To show respect for ancestors and to purify the soul, I lit the incense while taking in the smoke. I left the incense burning in the centre of the large stone burner, adding to the thick layer of ash that had formed inside.
Last but not least, the most iconic from Kyoto are the orange gates from the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Dedicated to the god of rice and grains, the shrine represents good crops and in turn good luck and success in business. Over 10,000 orange torii gates that tunnel across the edge of a mountain are donated by local businesses for the blessing of good luck. My curiosity took me to Google to find that donations start at 200,000 yen (approx. $2000 CAD) for a small gate to over one million yen ($11,000 CAD) for a large gate.
I hope you enjoyed Kyoto as much as I did! I’m so excited for this series and where our team takes you next. Sign up for our newsletter (also comes with a free 16+ page Minimalist Wardrobe Workbook) or follow us on Instagram to get to know the Encircled team a little better, design sneak peaks and behind the scenes.
Video by Jimmy Vi. All photos are copyright Encircled. Contact us for permissions/rights to re-use or repost images.