The untamed facet of Japan.

Reflecting customs and traditions bequeathed from one generation to another, Kyoto bears the iconic allure of the original Japan. And if neon-lit skyscrapers, slick anime and advanced technology are Tokyo’s trademarks, Kyoto, unlike its Eastern counterpart, is predominantly renowned for its idyllic gardens and poignant temples.

But the city is not only that. As the former capital of Japan, it is the country’s cultural hub and a sprawling metropolis littered with vestiges of a Buddhist-centered culture. Having a fair share of cutting edge areas, it blends perfectly fetching districts imbued with a typical Japanese flair and dramatic high-rises. I wouldn’t be surprised if in Shinkyogoku, the city’s hectic shopping district, a geisha made an appearance in her flamboyant costume.

The diversity of the neighborhoods is Kyoto’s main peculiarity. Gion district, one of the city’s hanamachi, aka ´flower district`, exerts its pull on tourists due to its wooden buildings and a major concentration of Geishas – or geiko, as they are called locally – and tea-houses, offering a deep insight into thousand-year old traditions.

South of Gion, in Kyoto’s Easternmost part, stretches another area of iconic importance and beauty that has gained popularity among an increasing number of tourists thanks to its elaborate temples and shrines. Fushimi Inari-Taisha, in particular, is Kyoto’s landmark, and, nestled at the foot of a mountain, is a most-loved religious sight wonderfully composed of endless red-coloured shrine-gates.

Northern Kyoto, a rugged landscape of vast greenery and uncanny charm, on the other hand, could not be more different. A reign of tranquility spread over a vast area, it houses several UNESCO World Heritage sites and a long list of temples of unrivaled beauty. Kinkaku-ji Temple, the Golden Pavillion, sits lakeside amidst lush vegetation and, as the name suggests, bears top-floors covered in sparkling gold leaf.

A thorough experience of Kyoto must also include a journey through Japan’s culinary traditions. A foodie’s paradise, the city boasts a whole range of local delicacies and tongue-tickling classics, encompassing noodle dishes, mouthwatering seafood or the most-loved sushi adjusted to fit Kyoto’s own flavours and techniques. As there is no such a thing as a most-favourite food-focused destination in town, down-to-earth eateries and fine-dining restaurants are scattered throughout the city’s entire area. The staples of sushi or ramen can be found anywhere, just like dried seafood or Japanese-style treats. The bustling Nishiki Market, a food aficionado’s must, is crammed with food hawkers and traditional knickknacks, in a colourful array of wonderfully varied oddities.

Everything in the charming Kyoto is imbibed with a little magic – a journey through its neighbourhoods and landmarks means venturing on an adventure through centuries of etiquette and religious sites, capturing perfectly the untamed facet of Japan

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Natalie says:

    Love the image you paired with this!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The entire Kansai region is just fascinating. Five of the things in my “BEFORE DEATH YOU MUST…” (I’m not calling it a ‘bucket list’, that just sounds cute and not urgent) list involves the Kansai area, including taking a stroll down Gion.

    (the others involve wandering around Den-Den Town and Dotonbori in Osaka, taking a picture with the famous missing statue of Colonel Sanders also on Nishinomiya, and just being around Himeji Temple in Himeji)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. APlaceWeLike says:

      It is just exceedingly stunning. Its century-old traditions, suggestive architecture and those idyllic gardens – it truthfully has it all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post, your sense of expression offers a deeper insight into Japan as a culture and not merely a tourist destination. I believe travel works as a mechanism to build understanding and culturally enrich ones life, has your experience in Japan done so? I feel without travel, ones sense of life becomes exceedingly dull… Travel brings colour and a sense of diversity as explored in your post! It offers an opportunity to not only explore but to dive into the journey of the country itself through history and cuisine and landscape and so on. This experience helps one appreciate the world in which we live, and helps to unify the global community through celebration of cultural diversity. I think this is an extremely important value… How has Kyoto and its flamboyancy added to your perceptions of travel? It seems its customs and traditions have added to contemporary culture whilst maintaining its history from the past. This creates a city of contrasts that all the more adds to its allure! Your insight has pushed my desire to visit Kyoto, and I hope to do so in the future! Japan has been on my list for a while now. Happy travelling!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. APlaceWeLike says:

      I couldn’t have said it better myself – your consideration regarding the whole meaning of traveling reflects perfectly what I feel, and my trip to Kyoto has indeed helped me understand its diversity and century-old traditions, as well as all its many other facets. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for taking time to read it.

      Like

  4. Ysobel Luna says:

    Love this! It’s concise, comprehensive and really gives the reader an vibrant idea of what to expect from the city.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. APlaceWeLike says:

      Thanks a million !

      Like

  5. rommel says:

    What I deeply thought of when I was in Kyoto was that exploration in Japan is so diverse and endless, and Kyoto proves that tremendously. Very nice reportage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. APlaceWeLike says:

      I know, I was completely overwhelmed by this aspect of Kyoto. Thanks a lot!

      Like

  6. melmcdona says:

    Wow your blog is great! Your posts are so informative and interesting!!

    Liked by 1 person

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