Kyoto, Japan (central & western districts)

Previous chapters in my Japan travels: Tokyo part1, part2 // Yokohama // Nara // Kyoto part1.

My exploration of western Kyoto (Arashiyama area) began at Otagi Nenbutsu Ji – a short bus ride north of Arashiyama – which is a little known temple on the outskirts decorated with more than 1200 Buddhist statues, most of which are more cartoonish than solemn.

The walk back to Arashiyama along Saga-Toriimoto preserved street showcases many Meiji Period (1868-1912) machiya houses, many of which are now shops and restaurants.

Whilst it was all drab and grey in most places with the heavy snow season looming, it was pleasing to still see the lush green bamboo forests around Arashiyama, with the creaking sounds of stretching-bending of bamboo in the icy breeze. Brrr freezing…

And what do you know… it starts snowing when we arrive at a Tenryu-ji (heavenly dragon temple)!

West (23)

As it was at the beginning of winter, the usual river cruise services west of Arashiyama had halted to my disbelief, so only a few pictures from the riverside.

West (26)

Last but not least: central Kyoto, is abound with amazing eateries from the casual to the high end kaiseki / michelin starred restaurants. Don’t miss out on tea ceremonies, taking photos with Geisha, rubbing shoulders alongside locals at Nishiki market, exploring the many old streets scattered around including Ponto Cho (a small cobble alleyway running one block west of Kamo river).

It wasn’t hard to spot the occasional geisha strolling along the streets of Gion. They stood out like blood roses on snow. Wonder how long it takes to don all that makeup and embellishments? [correction: the pair of pretty geisha are in fact tourists dressed up as Maiko. What trickery!]

Definitely make sure you check out Nishiki market (it is more like an undercover shopping street sprawling across 5 blocks, running parallel to Shijo Dori). Don’t expect to buy anything, but be sure to try lots of things =).

Nijo Castle.

Ordering food from a vending machine.

Participating in a tea ceremony; or at least visiting one of the many tea stores to try out all their tea *ahem* for free, until you decide to spend $100 to bring them back to Oz – is a must. P.S. in case you have mistaken, dumplings were not part of the tea ceremony…

P.S. stay tuned for the final chapter: food highlights in Kyoto.

In the mean time check out my other travel posts in Japan:

Nara, Japan
 Tokyo, Japan day3
Yokohama, Japan
Tokyo, Japan Day 1
7 Responses to “Kyoto, Japan (central & western districts)”
  1. moushifj says:

    Very pretty, though those girls you thought were geisha were actually tourists dressed up as Maiko ^^ Still very pretty ^^ I love all your pictures you’ve included! ^^

      • moushifj says:

        Oh a whole long list of signs.
        For one, those hair ornaments they are wearing are meant for different months
        They are also wearing the hair ornaments meant for first year junior maiko (Those pretty dangly ones with the pretty pieces of folded silk) yet they have both their top and bottom lip painted when a first year Maiko would only have their bottom lip painted.
        Their under collars are also far too white, a Maiko at this stage would have much more red in their under collar.
        Also, see that red piece of fabric that the girl on the left has on the upper part of her Obi? That’s fine, but the other girl has hers tucked in which a Maiko would only do during her final year before becoming Geisha.
        Their kimono are also for different seasons and their shoes are way too short for the style the are.
        Also the tucks in their kimono shoulders are far too low, they should be closer to the tops of their shoulders.
        There are a couple other smaller things but that basically covers it.
        I hope this helped ^^

      • WOwz. thanks for the 101 for spotting the difference! wouldve been more fun trying to spot them when i was there. =)

  2. Such beautiful imagery. I wish I was back in Japan again.. I would go try so many different things. Love it!

  3. Looks fantastic, curious to know what some of those pictures depict… I’m hanging out for the food edition!

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