Kyoto

Hi everyone,

I was going to roll a few more updates into one post, but it appears I have started visiting too many places to think about writing in a short period of time to make that a manageable update. These next few updates should be short and sweet! :)

Kyoto is the most varied Japanese city I have visited so far. I arrived in the Kawaramachi area to find brand name shops and chain stores… not the Kyoto that I was hoping for after so many people had raved about it.

I spent my first day in Arashiyama, a short train journey out of town, as I wanted to see the Bamboo forest. It was beautiful, but I was a little disappointed by the size of it. It takes approximately 5 minutes to walk from one side to the other. I was expecting something very different.

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That said, the rest of the town is really pretty. I did a short hike off the tourist trail up to a zen temple with an incredible view of Kyoto, and spent the afternoon grazing on yummy market food and green tea ice cream.

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After my initial impressions of Kyoto, a day in the old town – the Gion / Higashiyama districts, made me understand how people can fall in love with this place. It’s like stepping back in time. Walking down the narrow streets, with traditional Japanese houses and shrines nestled next to each other is an incredible experience. It is also the first place I’ve been in Japan where there are as many women in kimonos as “normal” western clothing walking down the street (Gion is also the Geisha district).

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It was a freezing cold day though, and removing my shoes to walk around some of the shrines wasn’t great fun. That said, I saw some beautiful things. I have the names of the shrines noted down somewhere, but I’m not sure I can remember which is which right now!

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I am totally in love with these zen gardens…

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I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji Temple), which was magical. After seeing so many shrines in the last few weeks, it’s particularly amazing when you see something so startlingly different from the others. They are all beautiful, but there are a few I have seen that stand out above the rest.

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Obviously while in town, I had to visit the International Museum of Manga. I loved it, particularly the current “Hand to Hand” exhibition featuring work from Manga artists in support of the Fukushima disaster of 2011. The diversity of work on display was amazing throughout the museum, and the history of manga exhibit was fascinating too.

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It is also located conveniently close to the Imperial Gardens, so I spent yet another afternoon moseying around outside in the spring sunshine.

Claire x

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~ by pandaclaire on March 24, 2014.

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