Japan: Day 5 – Kyoto (Part 1)

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.


A view of the backs of the shops, teahouses and homes along the Shirakawa Canal


A pretty storefront in Kyoto


One of the most picturesque streets in Kyoto


Another part of the pretty street


Marc’s plans to touch a geisha was foiled by this sign;)

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.


We took this cool vintage electric tram to Arashiyama


Arashiyama Bamboo Forest


The family pic


Lovely Arashiyama


Buddhas to look after children


In the garden of Tenryu Temple


Fairies could live in this garden


So tempted to step on this


Lovely Tenryu Temple and garden

From Arashiyama we went to Kinkaku-ji, the temple of the golden pavilion.


Ringing the bell for luck


The golden pavilion and yes it is painted with real gold leaf

From Kinkaku-ji we went to Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple constructed without the use of a single nail.


The area around Kiyomizu-dera is dense with tourist shops and tourists dressed in “kimonos” or as our guide and I refer to them as yukatas (or bathrobes) as they are not really kimonos.


Visiting temples makes them feel like this


Three tiered orange pavilion at Kiyomizu-dera


A pretty side entrance at Kiyomizu-dera


Kiyomizu-dera, built without a single nail and able to withstand an earthquake

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.


The elaborateness of this gate really shows the power and wealth of the shogunate


Nijo Castle consists of multiple buildings over 275,000 square meters of space


3 thoughts on “Japan: Day 5 – Kyoto (Part 1)

  1. I LOVE the family photo! Kyoto is a stunning place. I wish I had spent more time there… Did you eat at a temple? We did a traditional monk meal when I visited with work. Most of the Westerners went hungry that day. 🙂
    It looks like you are continuing to have an amazing time!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best baton twirlers in the world come from Japan! Always wanted to visit. So nice to see your pictures and hear from you on an ongoing basis!


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