Archive for the ‘Kyoto’ Category
During more than one month back in Japan, we couldn’t very well miss out on Kyoto, could we? After all, you cannot spend too much time in Kyoto. Apart from revisiting the places we’ve grown fond of over time, we also explored something new. In the hills in the north-east of town lies Arashiyama (嵐山), named after one of the mountains. The region also goes by the name of Sagano. The nobles have enjoyed this getaway for its natural beauty for centuries already, and it is still a mayor touristic attraction (how much can be measured by the sheer density of souvenir shops that line the streets). Maybe its most important sight is the Zen temple of Tenryuji (天竜寺), designated UNESCO World Heritage.
Japan’s Zen gardens fascinate the Western world. In Kyoto there are so many of them, that even though I have already presented some pictures in the past, today I would like to share some more.
The temple complex of Nanzenji houses a number of beautiful examples of the famous dry landscape (枯山水, karesansui) Zen garden. There are large viewing gardens and courtyard gardens of all sizes, all of them beautiful in their own way.
Gion is mostly known as the Geisha district of Kyoto. But the area of Gion and between Maruyama Park and Kiyomizudera is lovely in its own right. Here, you get a feeling of the old Japan. Few places in Japan have retained so much of their historical character. The narrow lanes with small houses are full of lovely details. And of course, the cherry blossoms add to their charm.
Small shops selling local crafts and restaurants boasting the local specialties (tofu) attract the casual passer-by, and tea houses tucked into corners invite for a bowl of matcha or a refreshing iced green tea under the drooping branches of a shidare sakura.
Here are some views to share. (more…)
To be in Kyoto during the cherry blossom season is a dream come true. Not that Tokyo wouldn’t have lots of sakura trees. But Kyoto provides this special historical setting of temples and shrines that shows off a blooming cherry tree just so much better. The season is just starting out, with the weeping shidare-sakura at its best now, and the limpid spring air gives the blue skies this clear and intense quality I find particular to Japan. (more…)
This week, another conference has brought us back to Kyoto. Since we have already experimented the business-hotel options abundantly, we had decided to go for something new and reserved a Ryokan. We ended up in a small, old-style Japanese house which was stuffed with eccentric decor! This is what it looked like.
Another hike that is easily accessible from Kyoto is the trail up Daimonji-yama, starting behind Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion.
Daimonji-yama deserves an explanation up front. Located on the North-Eastern edge of town, it is visible from far. It is notable for the large deforested patch near the top that bears a giant 大 (Dai), the kanji for big. (more…)