Kyoto was once the capital of Japan. From Osaka Station, it will take you 45 minutes to 1 hour by train to reach Kyoto Station. The trains run every 15-30 minutes and your travel time will depend on which train you will hop on (Shinkansen or Bullet train in about 20 minutes, Express trains that skip several stops in about 45 minutes and the regular trains that stop in every station in about 60 minutes). From Kyoto station, you can easily reach the many Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, imperial palaces and traditional wooden houses that this city is famous for. At night, try walking along Gion Street and you might be lucky to meet some meikos (trainee geishas) and geishas (professional female entertainers) themselves in their elaborate Japanese style kimonos.
Here are the lists of places that I’ve been to;
1. Kiyomizu-dera Temple – located at 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0862, Japan.
This temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was Spring holidays in Japan when we visited this area so there were many people going up and down the streets leading to the temple proper, some in traditional Japanese costumes. And because you’ll be entertained people watching and window shopping in the small traditional souvenir shops, before you know it, you have reached the giant Deva gate of Kiyomizu Dera.
2. Arashiyama – located at Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.
Arashiyama is famous for the bamboo forest. Hmmm…this will remind you of the “House of Flying Dagger” or the more popular “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. When we got here, the place was packed with tourists so we have to walk in line and move slowly. But, personally I enjoyed the tranquility of the forest and seeing the high bamboo grooves was very good material for my photo op.
3. Gion Corner Theater – located at 〒605-0805 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Hakatacho, 61
After visiting some tourist attractions in the area, Gion Corner Theater was the perfect spot to unwind and to relax our legs. All I can say, Kyoto tour is not complete without visiting Gion Corner Theater. Short of actually watching Kabuki shows or Bunraku shows, you can watch “samplers” of these traditional Japanese performing art forms at JPY 3150 per pax. We watched and witnessed the seven kinds of performing arts including dances performed by the Maikos. (Will blog separately about this)
Student (age 16-22) ¥2,200
Children (age 7-15) ¥1,900
Here’s some sneak peek of their performances:
4. Nijo Castle – located at Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8301, Japan.
This was our second attempt to enter this castle because it was closed (holiday) during our first time. Unfortunately, picture-taking is not allowed inside the halls of this Ninja castle. This is to protect the architectural designs inside this castle. What’s special about this castle is that every step you make on the floor makes a creaking sound…so that the Shogun and his family will know if they are being attacked by an enemy.