So you have decided that you are going to book that vacation to Japan that you have dreamt about since you were a child. However, as you begin to explore all that Tokyo has to offer you find that the busyness of the city is more than you had anticipated. Take this moment to change the direction of your vacation and schedule a few days to explore the city of Kyoto. This ancient city that once served as the capital of Japan, is filled with a variety of Zen gardens, shrines and quiet spaces that will help center your soul. Here are a few of our favorite reasons to visit.
This may or may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Kyoto, but it definitely should rank somewhere near the top of your “things to see” list. With nearly 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, you could spend an entire week visiting these holy sites and still only see a fraction of them. If you visit at the right time of day, chances are that you will be invited to attend a tea ceremony or take part in another local tradition. Embrace the experience and learn more about the cultural significance of the event.
The Bamboo Forest
The landscape here is so unique that it might seem otherworldly to those who are not accustom to it. The bamboo forest on the outskirts of Kyoto is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful groves on Earth. Though it is the beauty of these tall and majestic bamboo shoots that draw visitors in, it is the rustling sounds when the wind blows through them that assist in bringing a calm to the visitors.
The main street shopping area of Kawarmachi Street is the leading shopping district of the city. It is said that visitors can find any manner of items at the shops that line the street here. You can expect to find everything from cute trinkets to bring home as mementos of your trip to interesting local foods to sample.
Geiko (Geisha) Culture
The Geiko (Geisha) culture was born in Kyoto and to some extent still exists here. Though the art form is fading from society, Geiko can often be seen on the street as they travel from one location to the next between appointments. Make note, however, that the women will not stop for photographs as it is not seen as appropriate.