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10 Reasons to Fall In Love with Kyoto

10 Reasons to Fall In Love with Kyoto

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

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    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

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      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

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        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.

        4. Geishas

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          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

          Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji, Golden 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

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              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.

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              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

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                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

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                  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.

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                  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

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                    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

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                      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.

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                      Nabin Paudyal

                      Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                      Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                      Listen carefully:

                      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                      1. Pray Daily

                      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                      3. Smile Often

                      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                      4. Organize Your Working Desk

                      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                      How do you do that? This is my formula:

                      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                      8. Go Exercise

                      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                      The Bottom Line

                      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                      More Resources About Mindfulness

                      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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