Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Day 6: Donning a Yukata for Fushimi-Inari

After our not-so-delicious breakfast at the ryokan, we set off to look for a kimono shop for my yukata. I had googled for 'kimono dress up' the previous night and found two shops selling yukatas and doing dress-ups for customers.

I decided to go for Saganokan, a shop that was located a 2-minute walk from Shijo Subway Station, just a stop away from Gojo Station.

As usual, we were lost the moment we exited from the station. 

I approached a Eurasian-looking girl and asked her for directions.

She was as helpful as any other Japanese on the street. She didn't know the way either but she helped me seek help from other locals. Two other ladies helped to identify the street we were on and pointed the direction we should head.

The pretty young lady led the way and found us the shop just round the corner!

I entered the shop without any appointment made, telling the lady who looked like the owner that I wanted to buy yukatas.

She picked out a few in Baby's size and got Baby to choose one before taking me back to the first floor for my turn to choose.

I was dazzled by the beauty of this 380000 yen all-silk kimono.
What appears to be yellow flowers on this stunning garment are actually golden in reality.
The lady of the shop said this kimono is worn for celebration of occasions.

Baby's yukata: 3000 yen
Obi: 1000 yen
Socks and slippers: 1500 yen thereabout
Dressing up: 1000 or 1500 yen for the hair

My yukata: 5000 yen
Obi: 2000 yen (??)
Socks and slippers: 1800 yen (??)
Hair: 2500 yen

The adult yukatas were on sale in June at a good 50% discount.

I can't remember the exact breakdown for our outfit but I remember that it cost me about 14000 yen for both our yukatas, obis, socks and slippers.

I am no expert in yukatas but before I went Japan, I was warned that kimonos are 'very expensive'. I had heard from an ex-colleague that she bought her yukata at about $300 and that was 10 years ago.

I thought $150 for two full sets of yukatas was cheap - never mind that one of the sets was a child's set. 

The rental service for a day of yukata with hair-dressing was 3900 yen. My intention was to buy the yukatas as souvenirs and thought it should be quite worth it since we could wear them for Racial Harmony Day or International Friendship Day. However, when the lady was helping me to put on the yukata, the only thought that went through my mind was: goodness! How am I going to wear this by myself?!!

The service at the shop was top-notch.

The ladies made me feel welcomed even though I came without an appointment. 

My mother bought another set of yukata for my niece. However, they ran out of pink obis. When they saw that my mother was reluctant to settle for a green one, they went off without a word to get a heavy box up from the first floor and showed my mother all the colours they had, including pink of course!

The ladies were very humble. They would not offer their opinion without me insisting on having theirs. I had to keep asking,"Which one do you think is nicer?" before they would give me their opinion.

I asked the lady a lot of questions:

"Can I wear this to Fushimi-Inari?"
"Can I wear like this back to Tokyo?"
"Is it very strange? Do people in Tokyo wear yukata?"
"How do you wash this?"

Very patient people, really.

Not once did I feel slighted.

And the lady bowed when she saw me out the shop! Wow! A truly Japanese experience for me!

We took the JR train from Kyoto Station to Inari JR Station, just 2 stops away from Kyoto Station.

Fushimi-Inari was just right outside the station!

We deposited our heavy bags and water bottles in the lockers at the Inari Station before making our way to the Temple.

The map of the vermilion pillar walk

Most people do not complete the walk, I presume. We got tired walking through the never-ending pillars.

I had read on the internet that most people do not walk beyond 900m, so walk beyond that and you would get an isolated area to shoot your pictures without other tourists in it.


No matter how far we walked, there were constantly tourists walking past us. 

It was challenging to get a picture without other people in it!

Other tourists, possibly Japanese from other parts of the country, in yukata too!

By the time I got to take some pictures, my hair was falling apart and my face all oily!

Fushimi-Inari's 5000 vermilion pillars are gifted by different people and organisations at different times, as stated on the pillars.

Beautiful pillars indeed!

We returned to the small Inari JR Station to take a train back to Kyoto Station in order to catch our Nozomi train back to Tokyo.

The Kyoto Station platform for the Nozomi train
Again, we looked for Car numbers 1 to 3 for our non-reserve seats.

Baby was thirsty, so I got her a small packet of fresh milk at a small supermart before boarding the train.

I bought another train station bento to give it another try.

Kyoto Station has superior bentos indeed! Even the ordinary vegetable-wrapped rice (left-centre) was tasty!

The Nozomi train tickets

Catching a quick shot of the Nozomi train before it flew away!

We actually rushed back to Tokyo for a specific purpose: to shop at Oriental Bazaar, the souvenir shop that we missed previously!

Arriving at the shop at 6.30pm, we only had 30 minutes to do our shopping before it closed!

We spent more time at the basement and first floor buying small items such as fans, fan holders and chopstick rests while we did a brief run-through at the second floor without getting anything since they were mostly antiques, paintings and the more bulky household items.

No time for pictures either as we were the last paying customers at the cashier's!

By 7pm, we were a little tired.

I decided to just dine anywhere that we could see so that it was not so exhausting for my mother and Baby, and I recall walking past this sushi shop, so we stepped into it for another dinner of sushi.

They were mostly tourists.
It was the most inferior of the lot since most of the food had been on the conveyor belt for some time. The eel were especially rubbery and hard. The rest were specially ordered.

More than 8100 yen in total. The most expensive sushi dinner we had in Tokyo.

After that, we walked to a subway station, and as usual, it was the wrong station. 

The station staff said we had to walk to the JR station and it was 'near, near!'

My goodness! It was at least another 15 minutes' walk?!!

What's wrong with these people?!!

We took a train to Hatchobori JR Station and walked 2 or 3 minutes to our third hotel for the trip.
This hotel was meant to be a stayover-just-for-the-night hotel.
I did not even send our luggage here as we would make our way to Disneysea the next morning.

It looked small on the outside and the reception but again, it had everything you need! They even had a computer with printer which I used to print my Disneyland's 3-Day Passports for free before we headed off for Disneyland that morning!

The staff spoke English and were helpful.

I had problems keying in '@' on the computer. Through a few trial and errors, one of the receptionists helped me key in '@' by changing the default language back to Japanese before changing it back to English for me!

And unlike Nagomi Ryokan Yuu, knowing that I had a child with me, they did not charge me 1000 yen for Baby's one-night stay!

Comfortable stay. Helpful staff. Loved the hotel, but it was not in the best location in Tokyo. I had booked it as it was on the way to Maihama Station, the station where Disneyland Resort Line was at. However, the good experience at the hotel will definitely make me look at the hotels under the Hokke Club group from now on.


Saganokan Kyoto Main Shop
Sento-kan, 582 Kikusuiboko-cho, Muromachi-dori, Shijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Alight at Hankyu Karasuma Station or Kyoto Subway Shijo Station
2 minutes walk from Exit No. 24
Opening hours: 11am to 6pm

Alight at Inari JR Station and walk to the temple

Hotel Hokke Inn Hatchobori
3-20-4 Hacchobori, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
TEL 03-3537-7711
Alight at Hatchobori Station on the JR Keiyo Line or Hibiya Subway Line. Exit the station via Exit B1. We are directly across the street.

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