The ancient capital of Japan, although it lost this official status, remained one of the main cities of the country. For centuries, imperial families rebuilt Kyoto, giving it its current features. The architectural features of the districts are difficult to convey in a nutshell. The number of buildings in the traditional Japanese style is impressive. These are tea houses, and pagodas, and pavilions. Among them there are a lot of wooden structures, which is usually not characteristic of million-plus cities.
The main attractions of Kyoto are temple complexes. Some of them are remade from the palaces and villas of the shoguns, for example, the Golden Pavilion. National features of Japan are not forgotten in our time. A visit to the Gion quarter or Nishiki market allows tourists to plunge into the flavor of the land of the Rising Sun.
What to see and where to go in Kyoto?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a brief description.
1. Quarter of Gion
The most famous geisha area in the country. It began to form in the Middle Ages. The streets are still lined with ancient buildings, mainly tea houses, restaurants and mathia - traditional Japanese houses. Geisha lessons are available for tourists: you can learn dancing, playing instruments, ceremonies or just try on an outfit. The quarter is partially declared a National Historic Landmark.
2. Ponto-cho quarter
One of the areas of traditional Japanese nightlife. A small street filled with tea houses, restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. In the quarter you can meet a geisha, as well as visit the kabuki theater. Twice a year in the area they give an unusual performance - the legacy of the Pontoto Kaburendz театра Theater. A colorful show is a symbiosis of dance, playing musical instruments and geisha ceremonies.
3. Streets of Ninen Zak and Sannen Zak
Located in the foothills of the Higashiyam hills. The streets are narrow, rise steeply, there are steps. There is a superstition: if you fall on Sannen-zak, then death will overtake you in three years. Wooden houses were built on both sides of the streets. There are shops in them. Typical local products are hand-painted ceramic products. If desired, you can observe the process of creating dishes.
4. Fushimi Inari Temple
The very first buildings on this site appeared in the VIII century. However, Fushimi Inari began to take shape as a full-fledged Zionist temple only in 1499. Then the main hall was erected. The Imperial House actively supported the temple during the Heian period. There are many statues and images of foxes on the territory. These animals are the messengers of Inari, the god of rice. According to legend, the temple is dedicated to its passage through the country.
5. The Golden Pavilion
Included in the Rokuon-ji complex. It was built in 1397 and was the residence of the shogun Asikaga Yoshimitsu. He finally got here when he was tired of state affairs. Around the vast green area, which includes both man-made parks and "wild" forests. After the death of the shogun, the villa was turned into a Buddhist temple. The territory was redeveloped. Religious symbols appeared in the main hall.
The temple complex belongs to the XIV-XVI centuries. Translation of the name - "temple of pure water." The ensemble includes many buildings and objects. The most noteworthy of them: the main temple, the pagoda, the prayer hall, the canopy for the bell, the storage for the sutra and the corral for horses. For the most part, the complex is dedicated to the goddess Cannon. Since it is characterized by reincarnations, in the temple you can see different images of Cannon.
7. Silver Pavilion
Located at the foot of a mountain covered with dense forest. Together with the garden, the pavilion is part of a single complex. The landmark is dated to the end of the 15th century. The palace was built for the shogun Yoshimasa Asikagi. Two floors are crowned by a traditional-style roof and a Phoenix figurine mounted on its top. A gallery runs along the perimeter of the second floor. A man-made lake was created right in front of the pavilion.
8. Ryoan-ji Temple
Dated to the year 1450. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous became largely due to its rock garden. It was created for meditation by Buddhist monks. The site is covered with white sand and gravel, and also surrounded by a wall of clay. The arrangement of stones has a certain interpretation. On the territory of the temple is Ryoan-ji Tsukubai - a stone vessel, the ox from which is used for rituals.
9. Toji Temple
The temple complex was founded in 796. Its main pagoda at a height of 57 meters holds the title of the tallest wooden building in the city. The five-tier structure is open to tourists only a few days a year. Despite a number of reconstructions, the complex remained within its former borders and retained its original style. One of the halls of Toji is the Treasury. It stores artifacts and values of different periods.
10. Sanjusangen-do Temple
Construction was completed in 1164. The name can be translated as "Hall thirty-three in length." To is the designation of the measure of length in Japanese architecture. After a big fire in 1249, the temple complex was not fully restored. We limited ourselves to the main hall, which has survived to this day. Sanjusangen-do is famous primarily for its collection of 1001 statues of the goddess of mercy Kannon.
11. Nanzenji Temple
The main Buddhist temple of the city. He has been in control of the five Great Temples of Kyoto since 1386. The villa was originally built on this site, and in 1293 it was converted into a religious site. The complex has several temples and two gardens. Two reservoirs have been created in the Southern Garden. Nanzen-ji is famous for holding the longest batch of recorded shogi: it lasted a week.
12. Nijo Castle
Construction started at the very beginning of the XVII century and stretched for several centuries. The total area of the complex, including the park area and gardens is 275 thousand m². In the past, the castle was the residence of the Tokugawa clan. Here, in 1867, a transfer of power from the last Japanese shogun to Emperor Meiji took place. Since 1940, anyone can visit the territory. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
13. The Imperial Palace
Construction began in 794. Throughout its history, the palace burned down several times to the ground. During the reconstruction, the complex was amended in accordance with the wishes of the emperor ruling at that time. The premises were mothballed at the end of the century before last when the capital was transferred to Tokyo. At the same time, two more coronations took place in Kyoto. The area around - gardens, otherwise called the "imperial park."
14. Kyoto International Manga Museum
It has been working since 2006. It is also a research center based at Sake University. The exposition includes about 200 thousand copies of manga. Three floors are occupied by the Wall of the Manga: publications of the last five decades are presented here. In the manga cafe you can dine and read, and the visitor pays at the exit for the amount of time spent in the institution. The museum is open all days except Wednesday.
15. Kyoto Railway Museum
It covers a vast area and tells about the history of Japanese railways. The heart of the exhibition is 36 trains in perfect condition. Among them, old models are real rarities, as well as modern high-speed trains. A museum has been created at the museum, in which 34 thousand magazines and books about different modes of transport are collected, but the railway is in the first place. On the territory there are driving simulators.
16. Museum of Samurai and Ninja
Located closer to the city center. The museum collection covers 5 periods in total from 794 to 1868. Among the specimens there are especially valuable originals of clothing, armor and weapons. During the tour, the guide talks about the lifestyle of the samurai and ninja. For a fee, you can take pictures in the full vestment of Japanese ancient warriors.
17. National Museum of Kyoto
It was founded during the reign of Emperor Meiji. Responsible for the design was Tokuma Katayama, a follower of Western styles in architecture. Therefore, the museum building was erected in the style of the French Renaissance. Expositions are divided into three areas: fine arts, crafts and archaeological finds. Permanent exhibitions include not only Japanese values, but also artifacts from other Asian countries.
18. Nishiki Market
The history of the market goes back several centuries. It is also called "Kyoto cuisine." A narrow street in the central part of the city is surrounded by hundreds of shops and shops. Many of them have been run by families for generations. They sell in Nishiki the traditional Japanese pickles, sweets, fruits, fresh seafood and all kinds of dishes prepared right here. Trade runs until the evening.
19. Kyoto Tower
The tallest building in the city. Height - 131 meters. The construction was timed to the holding of the Olympic Games in Kyoto in 1964. The plan caused a lot of controversy. Some believed that the tower would spoil the appearance of the old capital, while others insisted on the need to modernize the panoramic view. As a result, the tower was erected on a 9-story building, where shops and a hotel are open. The design can withstand strong earthquakes and typhoons.
20. Togetsu-kyo Bridge
Thrown across the Oigawa River. Its length is about 150 meters. The name translates as "bridge crossing the moon." So the emperor Kameyama began to call him: he noticed that at night it seems as if the moon touches the bridge. In December, a night illumination festival takes place in this area. Tourists can ride a boat: boaters are waiting directly at the bridge. Locals come here to go fishing.
21. Picturesque Sagano Railway
It was commissioned in 1990. The length is 7.3 km. Connects Saga and Kameoka stations. Trains use heat traction, there is no electrification. The trains consist of 5 cars. Some of them are open. This allows you to take better photos. There are several stops along the way. Tourists can go out, buy souvenirs and look around. Of particular interest to travelers is a huge diorama.
22. Maruyama Park
Opened in 1886. The park has planted more than 800 cherry trees. The most famous of them is "Gion", the main natural attraction of Maruyama. You can spend time here, not only walking or arranging photo shoots. It features restaurants and tea houses. To the west is Yasaka Temple, so many tourists prefer to get there through the park.
23. The Philosophical Path
Also called Tetsugaku-no-michi. It is laid at the foot of Higashiyama Mountain. The length is about 2 km. Nearby are many temples. The trail runs along a stone-lined canal. Sakura trees planted nearby make the area even more picturesque. During their flowering, the path turns into a kind of tunnel of flowers. Tetsugaku-no-michi is included in the list of 100 most popular tourist roads in Japan.
24. Bamboo forest
Located in the vicinity of the city. For convenience, special paths were laid in the forest and bridges made: in some places the soil is very loose, and walking without them would be problematic. The conservation area has been known since the 14th century. Created by monks led by Muso Soseki. Its area currently reaches 15 km². In the evening, along the paths lights turn on. At the entrance you can buy bamboo crafts.
25. Iwayayama Monkey Park
Located in a suburb of Kyoto. The park is home to about 200 individuals - representatives of different species of primates. They feel very comfortable here. The area around it often acts as a film set, and the park itself belongs to the film company. Monkeys can be fed by hand if you buy special food. The park is located on a hill, so it offers beautiful views of the city.
1. Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Kiyomizu-dera)
Kiyomizu-dera or the Temple of Pure Water, is one of the most famous temples in Japan, founded in 780 and belonging to the small school "Hosso" - the oldest direction of Japanese Buddhism. The temple got its name because of the waterfall, which is located in the center of Kiyomizu-dera. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a key attraction in Kyoto. The temple, in addition to historical value, is famous for its terrace, built without a single nail and with a fantastic view of the surroundings.
Official website: www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/lang/01.html
2. Gion (Gion)
All over the world they know about one of the main attractions of Japan, namely geisha. These charming women, white-faced, dressed in a kimono specially trained to entertain and pamper men in a soothing atmosphere. Kyoto boasts one of the most famous geisha areas in the country, in the vicinity of simple wooden buildings east of the Kamo River, there is an area known as Gion. Here in the 18-19th century there were once thousands of geishas and Maiko (a geisha novice), performing their noble tasks in this area. To date, their number has decreased to several hundred.
Official website: www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en
3. The Kyoto Imperial Palace
The imperial family of Japan lived in Kyoto Palace from 1331 to 1868, after which she moved to Tokyo. The palace complex is divided into two segments: the vast territory of the park, which you can explore at any time, and the courtyard in which the palace and beautiful gardens are located.
4. Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle is a family estate of Tokugawa shoguns. The construction of the castle was initiated by order of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1601. The castle complex consists of many buildings and several gardens. The main highlight of Nijo Castle is the palace Ninomaru, consisting of five separate buildings connected by corridors, and with an exquisite interior decorated with paintings by Kano Tanyu and his students.
5. Fushimi Inari Taisha (Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine)
One of Japan's most famous shrines, Fushimi Inari Taisha is a must-see attraction in Kyoto. Founded in 711 AD it is dedicated to the goddess of rice farming, Fushimi Inari is still visited by businessmen who pray for prosperity and success in business. The main building dates from 1499 and has an impressive 4-kilometer avenue of vibrant orange Tories, with 32,000 arches.
6. Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion)
Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, is one of Kyoto's most scenic attractions. Originally built in the 14th century for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, it is now a Zen Buddhist temple. Kinkaku-ji is completely covered with sheets of gold, except for the first floor, in honor of which it got its name. The main shrine of the temple is a statue of Avalokiteshvara. Unique attractions include the portrait of the shogun Asikagi Yoshimitsu, the frescoes of the Daisyo cabinet and the monastery garden.
7. Nishiki Market
For those new to Japanese cuisine, a trip to Nishiki Market can be an excellent experience. Nishiki Market is a noisy, long narrow street with many small open shops. The first shop was opened in the distant 1310, and the market itself at the beginning traded in one fish. Here you can enjoy authentic green tea or a snack of nigiri (rice balls).
8. To-ji Temple
Toji Temple - is the main Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect. Its official name is Kyo-Gokoku-dz. It was built in the east of Rashomon after being transferred from the capital in 794 during the Heian period. Here is the most famous five-story pagoda, which can be seen from the Shinkansen high-speed train, which is one of the main symbols and landmark of Kyoto. Construction began in 826, but for some reason a fire often occurred at a construction site. The tower, which can be seen today, was built by order of the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1644. Its height is 55 meters, and it is one of the highest towers in Japan at the moment. Toji Temple is listed as a cultural heritage site.
9. Kyoto Tower
All tourists who arrived in Kyoto at the Shinkansen station and left the northern exit of Karasuma Central are met by an impressive tower, unlike any other. This tower is by no means new and was opened in 1964, although its interesting coloring still leaves an impression that is hard to forget. Despite her avant-garde appearance, she still blends in well with the look of Kyoto.
The building is like a lighthouse, and, according to the rules for installing high-rise buildings and structures in Kyoto, it is illuminated at night. The building of the tower of Kyoto, performing the role of a pedestal, is the tallest in the city (131 m). At around 100 meters there is an observatory where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
10. Honpo-ji Temple
Another unique attraction of Kyoto is the 1436 Honpoji Temple. The temple was moved several times, and it is believed that he finally found himself in the place where he is now, only in 1587. During a fire in 1788, the temple completely burned down, however, it was later restored. The temple was built with the ninth Nissin (Nichiren School).
11. Kyoto Botanical Gardens
The Kyoto Botanical Garden is the first public botanical garden in Japan to open in 1924. In the post-war period, it was confiscated by the allied forces and was used for timber extraction, and as a result it was closed. But in 1961 he reopened to visit.
The park covers an area of 240 thousand m 2, and about 120 thousand plants grow on its territory. In its southern half is a western-style garden focusing on annual plants, and in flower beds and rose gardens you can enjoy flowers throughout the four seasons. There is also a greenhouse, founded in 1992, in which you can see tropical plants from around the world. This is the largest greenhouse in Japan.
12. Bamboo forest in Arashiyama (Arashiyama Bamboo Forest)
Arashiyama is a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto, most of the excursions in Kyoto take place in this area, as there are many temples and architectural monuments. The main attraction of the Arashiyama region is the famous bamboo forest. This is an amazing, almost surreal landscape. Thousands, or perhaps millions, of green bamboo stalks grow right here in the sky. To top it all off, the bamboo forest is home to many monkeys who are quite friendly and will welcome you as you walk along the grove.
13. Sanjusangendo Temple
Sanjusangen Temple is an incredible Buddhist attraction in Kyoto. Built in the 12th century, the temple in the Middle Ages was the center of Japan for archery, which has since become a legend, it was here that the famous All-Japanese tournament in archery - Toshiya was held. The temple is home to more than 1000 statues.
14. Museum of the Manga (International Manga Museum)
Kyoto has many historical sights, but there are also modern ones such as the Manga Museum. Manga is a comic book style that got its start in the aftermath of World War II and has been steadily gaining popularity over the past 60 years. The International Manga Museum, was opened in 2006 and shows a rich collection of manga from famous artists of this style.
Guide: Dubai Attractions
Otovasan Kiyomizu-dera - a temple of pure water
This complex, located on a mountainside in the Higashiyama area, is flocked not only to foreign tourists. Japanese people suffering from unrequited love come here. On the territory of the temple is an ancient idol, where according to legend there are three spirits. These include Okoninushi no Mikoto - the spirit of love. The Japanese are sure that if you ask him well, he will inspire the object of passion with a reciprocal feeling. They come to pray at the stones of love.
Inside the temple complex, rivers flow, forming the eponymous waterfall, or rather, the temple is called the Kiyomizu waterfall, which means clear water.
The sights of the complex are such buildings as the Nio Gate, the bell tower, the amazing three-story pagoda and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple itself (Kiyomizu-dera)
The temple was founded in 778, but today's building dates back to 1633, not a single nail was used in its construction. The main hall has a large veranda very popular among tourists, with a terrace overlooking Kyoto. The veranda is supported by large columns with a height of four floors.
In Edo’s time, the proverb “To jump from the stage to Kiyomizu” was born, which meant “Take a decisive step,” sources indicate that this was not just a catch phrase. For the period from 1694 to 1864, 234 jumps from the veranda of the temple were recorded, there were 34 people dead. The survival rate was 85% and this is due to the fact that at that time, the soil under the slope was soft and a large number of trees increased the percentage of a favorable outcome.
The reason for such unusual jumps was not at all the desire to put an end to life, people gave themselves to the power of the goddess Cannon, to whom pilgrimages arranged for prayers for health. Among the people who made the jump were children under 12, women, and those who made the jump twice. Most of the desperate jumpers were under the age of 20 and nothing else but recklessness comes to mind to explain the reason for the jump.
In 1872, a ban on jumping was introduced and attempts to “jump off the stage to Kiyomizu” began to be suppressed.
The complex is a stunning sight and is in one of the variations "the seventh wonder of the world."
Kinkaku-ji - The Golden Pavilion
The three-story magnificent building is part of the Rokoun-ji complex. It is located on the shores of the cleanest lake Kekoti. The temple is famous for the fact that its walls are covered with real gold on the outside and inside (on the upper floors). The traditional roof is decorated with a phoenix from the same precious material.
The pavilion was built in 1397. Then it was built as a villa for the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. He loved this beautiful place very much, often visited it to admire the reflection of the "precious" pavilion in the purest waters. Today, the building is used as a shariden, that is, a repository of Buddha relics.
The history of the golden pavilion is amazing - surviving in the devastating wars of the Time of Troubles, it was completely destroyed in peacetime by the 22-year-old novice monk, who set fire on July 2, 1950.
Today's magnificent building dates from 1955, when the reconstruction of the golden pavilion began. The height of the pavilion is 12.5 meters.
The new building is as close as possible to the original. In Japanese philosophy, regardless of the fact that the building was destroyed, burned and rebuilt, it is still considered original, since regardless of new building materials, this pavilion (temple) will always remain the same as it was originally.
Around the pavilion is a garden that has been growing here since the 14th century. Despite the fact that the lake is a mirror (so its name is translated) deep, tiny islands - stones - appear here and there on this surface. Centuries-old pines grow on many. Stones and islets are located in the water in such a way that they frame a precious reflection. This creates an atmosphere of solemnity and sophistication of the entire complex.
For a long time, pines in front of the pavilion have been shaped like a floating ship.
In the fall of 2017, I visited the Golden Pavilion and I’m not afraid to say this word “contemplated” its beauty and grandeur. You can talk about a unique temple as much as you like, but reality exceeds all expectations. Read the photo report on Kinkaku-ji Temple in the article The Most Beautiful Temple in Kyoto.
On the territory of the Ryoan-ji Temple, located in the Ukyou area, there is the famous Ryoanji garden. This is a very special building. A small platform (30 x 10 meters) is covered with white gravel. On it are fifteen untreated black stones. The entire site is fenced with an adobe wall.
The peculiarity of the garden is that it is impossible to see all the dark stones at the same time, from whatever point the viewer looks. The latter will always remain out of his sight. Here is how V. Tsvetov writes:
. I said “fifteen stones” because so much is indicated in the guidebook. In fact, you notice only fourteen. There is no fifteenth stone in front of my eyes. His neighbors block him. You take a step along the wooden gallery, stretching along the edge of the sandy rectangle - on the other three sides the garden is bounded by stone monastery walls - and again fourteen stones. The fifteenth - the one that was still hiding, was now among them, and another stone disappeared. Another step through the gallery, and the brilliantly planned chaos appears again in a different composition, consisting of all the same fifteen stones, of which one is invisible. "
The philosophical meaning of the dry garden, as Ryoanji is also called, is that only a person who has attained enlightenment "sees everything." To view the landscape completely, you need to soar above the magical garden. And only a person with a soul unburdened by sins attains such mastery.
Another attraction of the Ryoan-ji Temple is the Stone Vessel. Translated, its name means "the temple of the resting dragon." People who yearn for spiritual purification come here. Bypassing the temple, they can take a bath or drink from a stone bowl, into which clear water constantly flows.
It is designed so that a person bends to the life-giving moisture. This is a way to pay homage to this place. The bowl is decorated with an inscription containing the main idea of Buddhist teachings. It reads:
What everyone has is all that he needs.
Agree, our world, immersed in the struggle for money and power, is the time to recall this simple truth.
What to see in Kyoto
Of course the Golden Temple Kinkaku-jiTemple of Pure Water Kiyomizu-derarock garden Ryoan-ji in Kyoto.
I chose a hotel directly opposite the station - well located, I appreciated it: Hotel New Hankyu Kyoto: there are bus stops at the station that are best used to travel around Kyoto.
A day pass costs 500 yen.
For information, in a separate article: Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto by high-speed train - Shinkansen.
Yesterday in Kyoto it was raining.
Was in the park Gion.
A lot of young people sat on mats on damp ground and drank in a circle from sake packets.
At the same time, they shouted something like go-go-go drink to the bottom!
I did not quite understand the meaning of such ceremonies.
Perhaps the first time you get drunk in the shit of Japanese youth it is necessary during sakura blossom ...
Yesterday was a working day.
Tourists dressed as geisha walk in the park.
Perhaps the geisha may have seen, but perhaps not.
Most likely not, because the street with hanging red lights and two-story houses located on it with closed windows on the second floors and standing Mercedes and Lexus cars below was deserted and the whole action is inside these houses.
I saw how a company of 3 Japanese arrived, apparently in a worthy position: a man ran out of the house from umbrellas and escorted them inside.
Instead of a door, a cloth cut into strips hangs.
He looked inside: the guests change their shoes in wooden sandals and go into the interior of the room. Naturally, they didn’t let me in.
Geisha can be seen here:
Address: Yasaka Hall, 570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiya
Phone: + 81- (0) 75-561-3901
All the same, Kyoto is a pleasant city.
I really liked him despite the initial crumpled evening rain impression.
The sun was shining all day yesterday, although the cold wind was blowing, at those moments when the wind died down it was very pleasant.
For exploring the sights of the city, a bus ticket of 500 yen for 1 day was bought.
The metro system connects the center with the sleeping areas, so to reach those places that must see it is better to travel by bus.
The map with routes and transfer points is understandable (colored lines of routes with the numbers of basses, at stops the list of basses stopping here with the time (basses fit minute per minute, like trains) - everything is very convenient and I can recommend it.
Kiyomizu-dera (Temple of Pure Water)
The bus entrance is from the central door.
Exit the front.
Payment upon exit.
If you have a travel card (I bought it by the way at the reception of my hotel about which a little later), then the primary mark on it is the composter and therefore the beginning of its validity is put at the end of your first trip.
Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)
I just navigate in the cities of Japan so with me there is always mobile Internet (Pocket WiFi) about which I already wrote.
I’m looking at the google map on an iPhone and I’ll see where is the stop nearby, where is the attraction, where is the hotel.
In general, with orientation in Japan, I have no problems.
Even if there was something, the Japanese are very friendly to tourists: they will always show and conduct.
One elderly woman, when I asked her at the station where to buy a ticket for the Sinkosen super express train, escorted me to the place, although before that I was going the other way.
In general, 5 points to the Japanese for caring for us, independent travelers.
Reanzi Temple (rock garden)
For two incomplete days in Kyoto, I managed to visit:
1) Maruyama park
3) Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)
4) Rean-ji Temple (rock garden)
5) Kiyomizu-dera (Temple of Pure Water)
6) Redzen Kannon (Big buddha)
7) Yasaka Pagoda
8) Pontote Lane.
All this without straining, without a tongue sticking out on his shoulder, with interest mixing it with walking along the narrow streets of the suburb with neat houses, flowers and potted plants.
Taking pictures with geisha, consuming sake and hike along the canal past sakura blossoms.
A very pleasant city, especially in the vicinity of Pontote.