The ancient capital of Japan, although it lost this official status, remained one of the main cities of the country. For many centuries, the imperial families rebuilt Kyoto, giving it its current features. The architectural features of the districts are difficult to convey in a nutshell. The number of buildings in the traditional Japanese style is impressive. These are tea houses, and pagodas, and pavilions. There are many wooden structures among them, which is usually not typical for cities with a population of over a million.
The main attractions of Kyoto are the temple complexes. Some of them are converted from the palaces and villas of the shoguns, such as the Golden Pavilion. National features of Japan are not forgotten in our time. A visit to the Gion quarter or the Nishiki market allows tourists to plunge into the flavor of the Land of the Rising Sun.
What to see and where to go in Kyoto?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
The most famous geisha area in the country. Began to form in the Middle Ages. The streets are still lined with old buildings, mostly tea houses, restaurants and machiya, traditional Japanese houses. Geisha lessons are available to tourists: you can learn dancing, playing instruments, ceremonies, or just try on an outfit. The quarter has been partially declared a National Historic Landmark.
One of the traditional Japanese nightlife areas. The small street is filled with tea houses, restaurants, shops and places of entertainment. In the quarter you can meet a geisha, as well as visit the kabuki theater. Twice a year, the area gives an unusual performance - the heritage of the Pontocho Kaburenjo theater. A colorful show is a symbiosis of dance, playing musical instruments and geisha ceremonies.
Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka streets
They are located in the foothills of the Higashiyam Hills. The streets are narrow, rising steeply, there are steps. There is a superstition: if you fall on Sannen-zak, then death will overtake you within three years. Wooden houses were built on both sides of the streets. They housed shops. Typical local products are hand-painted pottery. If you wish, you can watch the process of creating dishes.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
The very first buildings on this site appeared in the 8th century. However, Fushimi Inari began to take shape as a full-fledged Zionist temple only in 1499. Then the main hall was erected. The imperial house actively supported the temple during the Heian period. There are many statues and images of foxes on the territory. These animals are the messengers of Inari, the god of rice. According to legend, the temple is dedicated to his passage through the country.
Part of the Rokuon-ji complex. It was built in 1397 and was the residence of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. He finally moved here when he got tired of public affairs. There is a vast green area around, which includes both man-made parks and "wild" forests. After the death of the shogun, the villa was turned into a Buddhist temple. The area has been remodeled. Religious symbols appear in the main hall.
The temple complex belongs to the XIV-XVI centuries. The translation of the name is “Temple of Pure Water”. The ensemble includes many buildings and objects. The most notable of these are the main temple, the pagoda, the prayer hall, the bell shed, the sutra vault, and the horse pen. For the most part, the complex is dedicated to the goddess Kannon. Because of her ability to reincarnate, various images of Kannon can be seen in the temple.
It is located at the foot of a mountain covered with dense forest. Together with the garden, the pavilion is part of a single complex. The landmark is dated to the end of the 15th century. The palace was built for the shogun Yoshimasa Ashikaga. Two floors are crowned with a roof in the traditional style and a figurine of the Phoenix mounted on its top. A gallery runs along the perimeter of the second floor. A man-made lake has been created right in front of the entrance to the pavilion.
Dated 1450. Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. He became famous largely due to his rock garden. It was created for meditation by Buddhist monks. The site is covered with white sand and gravel, and is surrounded by a clay wall. The location of the stones has a certain interpretation. On the territory of the temple is Ryoan-ji Tsukubai - a stone vessel, the ox from which is used for rituals.
The temple complex was founded in 796. Its main pagoda, at 57 meters high, holds the title of the tallest wooden building in the city. The five-tier building is open to tourists only a few days a year. Despite a number of reconstructions, the complex remained within its former boundaries and retained its original style. One of the halls of To-ji is the Treasury. Artifacts and valuables from different periods are stored here.
Construction was completed in 1164. The name can be translated as "Hall thirty-three long". Do is a measure of length in Japanese architecture. After a big fire in 1249, the temple complex was not fully restored. They limited themselves only to the main hall, which has survived to this day. Sanjusangen-do is famous primarily for its collection of 1001 statues of the goddess of mercy Kannon.
The main Buddhist temple of the city. He has presided over the five Great Temples of Kyoto since 1386. A villa was originally built on this site, and in 1293 it was converted into a religious object. Several temples and two gardens stand out in the complex. Two reservoirs have been created in the Southern Garden. Nanzen-ji is famous for holding the longest shogi game on record, lasting a week.
Construction started at the very beginning of the 17th century and lasted for several centuries. The total area of the complex, including the park area and gardens, is 275,000 m². In the past, the castle was the residence of the Tokugawa family. Here, in 1867, the transfer of power from the last Japanese shogun to Emperor Meiji took place. Since 1940, anyone can visit the territory. The castle is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Construction began in 794. During its history, the palace burned to the ground several times. During the reconstruction, changes were made to the complex in accordance with the wishes of the emperor ruling at that time. The premises were mothballed at the end of the century before last, when the capital was moved to Tokyo. Two more coronations took place in Kyoto. The area around is gardens, otherwise called the "imperial park".
Kyoto International Manga Museum
Works since 2006. It is also a research center based at Seika University. The exposition includes about 200 thousand copies of manga. The Manga Wall occupies three floors, displaying publications from the last five decades. In the manga cafe you can dine and read, and the visitor pays at the exit for the amount of time spent in the institution. The museum is open all days except Wednesdays.
Kyoto Railway Museum
It occupies a vast area and tells about the history of Japan's railways. The heart of the exhibition is 36 trains in perfect condition. Among them are old models - real rarities, as well as modern high-speed trains. A library has been created at the museum, which contains 34 thousand magazines and books about different types of transport, but the railway in the first place. There are driving simulators on site.
Samurai and Ninja Museum
Located closer to the city center. The museum collection covers 5 periods in total from 794 to 1868. Among the copies there are especially valuable originals of clothing, armor and weapons. During the tour, the guide talks about the way of life of samurai and ninja. For a fee, you can take pictures in full dress of Japanese ancient warriors.
Kyoto National Museum
Founded during the reign of Emperor Meiji. Responsible for the design was Tokuma Katayama, a follower of Western styles in architecture. Therefore, the museum building was erected in the style of the French Renaissance. The expositions are divided into three areas: fine arts, crafts and archaeological finds. The permanent exhibitions include not only Japanese valuables, but also artifacts from other Asian countries.
The history of the market goes back several centuries. It is also called "Kyoto cuisine". A narrow street in the central part of the city is surrounded by hundreds of shops and stores. Many of them have been run by families for generations. They sell traditional Japanese pickles, sweets, fruits, fresh seafood and all kinds of dishes cooked right here in Nishiki. Trade goes on until the evening.
The tallest building in the city. Height - 131 meters. Construction was timed to coincide with the 1964 Kyoto Olympic Games. The plan caused a lot of controversy. Some believed that the tower would spoil the look of the old capital, while others insisted on the need to modernize the panoramic view. As a result, the tower was erected on a 9-storey building, where shops and a hotel are open. The design can withstand strong earthquakes and typhoons.
Transferred across the Oigawa River. Its length is about 150 meters. The name translates as "bridge crossing the moon." This is how Emperor Kameyama began to call him: he noticed that at night it seems as if the moon touches the bridge. In December, the night illumination festival takes place in this area. Tourists can take a boat ride: boaters are waiting right at the bridge. Locals come here to fish.
Sagano Scenic Railway
Put into operation in 1990. Length - 7.3 km. Connects Saga and Kameoka stations. Trains use thermal traction, there is no electrification. The trains consist of 5 wagons. Some of them are open. This allows you to take better photos. There are several stops along the way. Tourists can go out, buy souvenirs and look around. Of particular interest to travelers is a huge diorama.
Opened in 1886. More than 800 cherry trees have been planted in the park. The most famous of them is "Gion", the main natural attraction of Maruyama. You can spend time here, not only walking or arranging photo shoots. It features restaurants and tea houses. To the west is the Yasaka Shrine, so many tourists prefer to get there through the park.
Also known as Tetsugaku-no-michi. Laid at the foot of Mount Higashiyama. The length is about 2 km. There are many temples nearby. The trail runs along a canal lined with stones. Cherry trees planted nearby make the area even more picturesque. During their flowering, the path turns into a kind of tunnel of flowers. Tetsugaku-no-michi is included in the list of the 100 most popular tourist roads in Japan.
Located in the vicinity of the city. For convenience, special paths were laid in the forest and bridges were made: in some places the soil is very loose, and it would be problematic to walk without them. The protected area has been known since the 14th century. Created by monks led by Muso Soseki. Its area currently reaches 15 km². In the evening, lights are lit along the paths. You can buy bamboo crafts at the entrance.
Monkey Park Iwatayama
Located in the suburbs of Kyoto. The park is home to about 200 individuals - representatives of different species of primates. They feel very comfortable here. The area around often acts as a film set, and the park itself is owned by the film company. Monkeys can be hand-fed if you buy special food. The park is located on a hill, so it offers beautiful views of the city.