There is so much to see and do in Kyoto, we’re sure everyone will find something and enjoy it. Here are just a few suggestions among others.
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Samurai Kembu is one of the traditional Japanese arts, just like the tea ceremony, the flower arrangement or the Noh play, and many others. This traditional art is performed using a Japanese sword “katana” and a Japanese fan.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park , also known as “Eiga Mura”, is the only theme park in Japan where you can observe the filming of period dramas (jidaigeki films). Samurai, Ninja, Geisha, Oiran, traders, gamblers, and more, they were all present, and fun.
The Aoi Matsuri (葵祭) is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals and takes place every May 15th. The festival’s main attraction is a large parade in Kyoto, in which over 500 people dressed in the style of the Heian Period (794-1185)
In preparation of the Shimogamo shrine’s main festival, the Aoi Matsuri that takes place on May 15th, the Busha-Shinji ceremony is held and members of the Ogasawara-ryu School of Archery shoot arrows to a target representing evil and bad spirits, to drive them away.
It rains a lot in Japan. I actually don’t mind the rain so much as it often is a great opportunity to get interesting photos. The light is different, the colors are more saturated, often we can get some beautiful reflection of lights on the paved streets. But most of all, ….
As this year’s Hanami season comes to an end, the last place to visit around Kyoto is often the Ninna-Ji Temple (仁和寺). Located in the North West part of town, this temple is quite famous for its Omuro cherry trees, ancient, dwarf, late-flowering trees.
One of Kyoto most popular hanami spots in April is without doubt The Path of Philosophy (“Tetsugaku-no-michi” in Japanese). It is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, that follows a canal lined up by hundreds of cherry trees.
On 23rd of March, 2016, Kyoto weather forecast station announced the first bloom of cherry, or in other words, the beginning of this year’s Hanami — the Cherry Blossom Season.
This is four days earlier than last year and five days earlier than the average year.
Maiko from Kyoto’s five entertainment areas (Hanamachi) will perform dances dedicated to the gods at the Yasaka shrine. This event takes place outside on the shrine’s stage at the beginning of the Higashiyama Hanatouro (Lantern) Festival.
Hanami – 花見- in Japanese literally means “Flowers Viewing”, but we usually understand it as Cherry Blossom. But the cherry is not the only type of flowers we can enjoy, and the Hanami season doesn’t start in late March or early April…
Daigo-Ji (醍醐寺) is an important temple of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and a designated Unesco world heritage site. The large temple complex stands southeast of central Kyoto and includes an entire mountainside.
Kyoto is, without a doubt, the home of all kinds of traditional cultures of Japan. However, the most enchanting and also mysterious treasure of this old capital is “The Kagai”, the district where the culture of Geiko and Maiko still exists.
After a rather warm Autumn, we’re now in Winter and snow has fallen over the city. If you happen to be in Kyoto, know that this is a rare treat! Nothing is more beautiful than some of the city temples or shrines covered with a white carpet.
2015 has not been a very good year for 紅葉 (Kôyô), the Autumn foliage colors. But we still have visited and enjoyed a number of places. Here is a little series of photos taken in November and the beginning of December around Kyoto.
Now, for something different, only available during the cold winter months. . . Snow Crab. From Shijo Kawaramachi Crossing, walk South on the Kawaramachi dori street for five minutes — you find this restaurant with a large crab hanging on the face of the building.
Arguably the most beautiful garden in the Arashiyama area, Hogon-In Temple is a must-see for every tourist visiting the area. Whether you see the plush greens in the spring or the vibrant reds in the fall, Hogon-In Temple will leave you with some of the most vivid memories from Kyoto.
Sanzen-In is a temple of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism and was founded by the revered monk Saicho who introduced Tendai Buddhism to Japan in 804. Sanzen-In Temple is a monzeki temple, one of only a few temples whose head priests used to be members of the imperial family.
This small quiet temple is of a classic style and is a pleasant stop after visiting the nearby Daigo-Ji. We visited in the Fall and the garden was specially beautiful. And I’ve read that the large garden of small plum trees, the “Ono garden” (小野梅庭) is very beautiful if you pick the right time in March to visit it.
Toward the end of the year through the New Year’s season, Kyoto offers many traditional events to be experienced. One of the biggest Buddhist ceremonies is “Joya no Kane”, or the tolling of temple bells at midnight. A unique and very intense spiritual experience.
Okochi-Sanso Villa probably rivals the city’s imperial villas, and you don’t need a reservation to visit. It took us a long time to get to visit the place, but we’re happy we finally did. It’s a gem!
Kodai-ji Temple, located between Kiyomizu Temple and the Maruyama Park, hosts one of the beautiful and fun nighttime illuminations held at the temple in the spring and fall. It is not a mere light-up, but a real Sound and Light show! Usually very crowded, but well worth it!