Kyoto was the Imperial capital of Japan and is one of the historically and culturally rich cities in Japan. It is home to 17 UNESCO world heritage sites. If you are thinking of travelling to Japan, your trip won’t be complete without a trip to Kyoto.
There are hundreds of things that will make you fall in love with this place. Here below, we have put together a list of ten reasons to fall in love with Kyoto.
1. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
If you are visiting Kyoto and it doesn’t include this phenomenal bamboo forest, then you will not have experienced the best delights that Kyoto offers. The Arashiyama bamboo forest is not only a stunning landscape, it is also a fabulous ‘soundscape’.
The sight of filtered sunlight through the thick bamboo forest at day time is a sight to behold. Similarly, at night time, many lanterns light the pathways of the forest, which is a breathtaking vision. In addition, when a wind passes through the forest, the bamboo leaves produce a rustling sound, which is a welcome music to our ears.
Finally, the bamboo forest is thought to be more spiritual than the rest, so be prepared to be spiritually blown away. Obviously, the Arashiyama Bamboo forest alone can be one good reason to fall in love with Kyoto.
2. Nishiki Market
The Nishiki Market is situated near the Kiyomizu-dera temple. To be more precise, it is located on the narrow alley of temples and is one of the oldest open air markets that is running in the world.
This market is believed to have opened in the early fourteenth century, so it has been operating for centuries. It is also referred to as the “Kyoto kitchen”. The market consists of a plethora of small restaurants and shops.
You can find different Japanese snacks ranging from sushi, pickles, sweets to vegetables and special desserts. The shops ae passed down from generations to generations, so every food you eat is a family recipe, each unique in its own right.
3. Fushimi Inari-taisha
The Fushimi Inari-taisha is a Shinto shrine, which is located at the bottom of Inari Mountain. Shinto is the main religion here alongside Buddhism in Japan. It is famous for thousands of Torii gates, which are actually the traditional Japanese gates found at the entrance of Shinto shrine.
Each gate is built with the donations from individuals and companies, so name of the donors with their respective donation amount is written at the back of the gate. The gate ranges from small to bigger sizes in the path to the shrine, according to the donation amount.
Geishas are basically a white faced women wearing a colorful Kimono. They appear along with their Maiko (an apprentice Geisha) in the Gion District. The Geisha culture started in the 16th century when girls performing on the Kabuki stage were ostracized. As a result, the white faced girl used to entertain the male patrons in tea houses.
Bumping into Geishas is very rare nowadays. However, you could taste the culinary delicacies of Kyoto, along with the performance from Geishas at old wooden teahouses of Gion district, which is also known as the ‘last frontier of Kyoto’. Hence, you could experience ancient Japan and their ways, interacting with them.
5. Kinkaku-ji Zen Temple
We have all heard; ‘All that glitters is not gold’. However, all that glitters is gold in Kinkaku-ji temple, which is also renowned as the Golden Pavilion because the top two stories of this temple are actually made up of golden leaves.
The temple is an epitome of the Muromachi period in Japan where architecture and settings correlate with each other in an artistic way. The temple is surrounded by many gardens and pools. The reflection of the temple on the pristine pool is simply enough to make you fall in love with Kyoto.
6. Kyoto’s Hollywood
The Japanese version of Hollywood can be found at Uzumasa Movie village. Home to many stages, where most of the Samurai Movies and TV series are filmed, one can see the twenty minute ninja display, and many other shows with special effects there.
It also has a famous haunted house and many museums. You can dress up as a Samurai or a Geisha and take pictures as the memento of your trip to Kyoto.
7. Find Love
You can find your one true love in Kyoto. Really? Well, it is believed that if you could walk in a straight line with eyes closed in between the two stones (placed 18m apart) located in Kiyomizu-dera temple, you will find true love. This temple is situated at the hillside and provides great view of Kyoto.
The temple is supported by 139 pillars and is dedicated to the deity who is regarded as the powerful match maker. This Buddhist temple has many pagodas and beautiful gardens. Built in 1633, it is also enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage site.
One of the astonishing facts about this temple is that not a single nail was used for its construction. Well, we can’t guarantee, if you will find love in Kiyomizu-dera temple, however, this amazing temple will definitely bewitch you.
8. Kyoto Beef
If you are into Japanese food, you must have heard about Kobe beef. However, Kyoto beef is supposed to be more exclusive as it is both tastier and more tender in comparison to other beefs.
These beefs are only sold in Kyoto for consumption. Therefore, if you are a food lover, you must try the Kyoto beef. In addition, Sake and Sushi of Kyoto are also famous all over Japan because they provide their own unique taste and perspectives.
9. Ryoan-ji Temple
The Ryoan-ji temple, also known as the Temple of Dragon at peace, is listed in the UNESCO heritage site. What makes it famous? The garden accompanying the temple is the best rock garden in the world.
The Karen Sansui garden, basically a dry garden, consists of fifteen rocks and has a special hidden message. You cannot see all the fifteen rocks from the courtyard of the temple. If you managed to do so, it is believed that your experience will be meaningful because 15 denotes completeness in Buddhism.
10. Nijo-jo Castle
The Nijo-jo castle was built in 1603 by the Shogun Tokugawa Legasu with an objective to make it his official residence. It is believed that he wanted to showcase that Shogun has surpassed the emperor in prestige. Hence, the five buildings and 33 chamber castle is simply amazing.
In the Edo period, the rank of the visitor decided the chamber he could access, so only the highest dignitaries could reach the innermost chambers. It also has a special ‘Nightingale floor’ which is designed to warn off intruders. The floor makes a sound like chirping birds, if anybody walks on it.
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