Kyoto is one of my favourite cities in the world. This is actually the second time I’ve visited this beautiful city but the last time I visited it I was seeing it through the eyes of a teenager on her first overseas trip. My teenage eyes were not wrong, Kyoto is as lovely as I remember it. We chose an apartment at the edge of the Gion district for our stay and it was the perfect location. Gion is well known as one of the most exclusive geisha districts in all of Japan. It is also where you will find many of the traditional architecture.
Just as we did in Tokyo, we hired a guide through Triple Lights for our two-day visit in Kyoto. Our guide Kazuhiko Goto was very accommodating and came prepared with knowledge and information on each place we visited. Having Goto-san definitely enriched our experience of Kyoto. Here are highlights from day one of our time in Kyoto.
We started off the day with a visit to the district of Arashiyama where we visited the picturesque bamboo forest and the serene Buddhist temple of Tenryu with its beautiful garden.
From Arashiyama we went to Kinkaku-ji, the temple of the golden pavilion.
From Kinkaku-ji we went to Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple constructed without the use of a single nail.
And the last place we visited on day one was Nijo Castle a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built as the primary residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate (the last feudal Japanese military government). The kids loved walking along the corridors and hearing the floor make bird chirping sounds and learning that these “nightingale floors” were built to prevent sneak attacks. They also found it neat hearing about the special doors hiding the shogun’s special bodyguard samurais.