I Went Solo in Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto BUT...

7:54 AM

You've read a lot of blogs say that solo travel is empowering. Sure it does. However, in trips that take a week or more, the unwanted feelings of being alone could start to creep in. And there's no one to steal away from their normal, daily lives to help you not be lonely. 

Here's what I did to survive a sudden "change of feelings and mood" along my 10-day solo trip in Japan.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
The Kinkaku-ji Temple, or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is ranked first in Time Magazine's 10 Things To Do in Kyoto. I had doubts going here the first time I visited the city that I actually skipped this. I finally went to the temple during my second Japan trip and had no regrets. The temple is so beautiful! There's a reason why it's the number one must-visit place in all of Kyoto.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan 

1. Build a "happy" playlist

Happy here does not mean you only loop in all the remix versions of Pharrell's "Happy" or any songs that upbeat. Your happy songs may include lazy Sunday music, those tunes that remind you of your serious studying days in college, or you and your friends' soundtrack of wasted moments. Anything that could make you smile during your train ride or while waiting in the airport for your flight will sure set a positive mood. 

I created a 2-hour playlist to accompany me on my bullet train rides. It's called Fukuoka- Kyoto Morning Bullet Train Ride on Spotify. With that playlist name alone, you'd know it's designed to attract all those positive vibes.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Temple grounds is open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily and it can be very crowded. Best time to go would be by the moment it opens and a few minutes before it closes. Lunch times are peak times and taking a solo picture, left alone enjoy the scenery, would be a challenge. 

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan 

2. Internet - always and wherever

You can fill your itinerary with visits to museums, dining discoveries, booze moments and picture-taking sessions in tourist destinations but you can't disconnect from the online world. In the first place, you can't because you probably need Google maps, an app for your train route or translation services of how to say "Is this the way to the temple?" in Japanese. But browsing your social media or reading your group chats when you take a break from moving around adds more to the fun. 

Detach when you need it. But when you feel a little bit homesick, your friends' jokes are just waiting to be read on whatever chat apps you guys are in. I availed Globe's PhP599 flat rate for data roaming during my trip to Japan and it's the most rewarding expense I had. The connection is so stable in every Japanese city and even at smaller suburbs. The only moment that you'll lose signal is when your Shinkansen passes through an underground tunnel. Plus, it's anti bill shock! PhP599 and that's it for the whole day. You can even Netflix when you get really bored.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan There are two ways to go to the Golden Pavilion. Take the Kyoto City Bus 101 or 205 from Kyoto Station for 40 minutes. Or take the Karasuma Subway Line from Kyoto Station to Kitaoji Station then take the bus from there to the temple for ten minutes (Bus numbers 101, 102, 204, 205). I recommend the second way. 

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

3. Books, books, books

I started to really read more fiction lately. Although I only had the chance to finish two chapters of Kiera Cass's "The Elite" while in Japan, a book is a good distraction when you start to feel homesick. 

I wish I can suggest a reading list but you got the wrong person. :p 

4. Immerse your self in more photo-editing styles and apps

What to do with your beautiful shots? Make them even more beautiful! 

Eating most of my time while travelling is looking for ways to take great shots. Before sleeping, I even take more time deciding which photos to upload on social media and trying my best to make them look better. There are a thousand editing mobile apps out there waiting for you to explore so your best souvenir would still be as polished as you want them to be even decades from now.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Major renovations were being done while we were there. It was summer and not the best time to visit. Fall and spring time would probably make the place more scenic. 

Speaking of having more fun while travelling solo, here's my French friend who I met in Kyoto, Theo. He was an exchange student in Kyushu University in Fukuoka. He decided to visit Kyoto first before flying back to France. It's just so good listening to stories of other people who are from the other side of the planet. 

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

5. Open up! Make friends!

There is no better way to flush those travel blues away than by making new friends. You know what they say about good conversations. I don't think I need to expound. :) 

Safe travels!  

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Thank you for being kind as always Kyoto!

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