Kyoto is Japan’s third largest city and is the cultural capital of Japan. Founded in 794, it is one of Japan’s oldest cities. It is the home of temples, shrines, parks, great restaurants, and all that comes with the polite helpfulness that the Japanese are known for. theTravelsketcher and I visited in July, 2016 and although the heat and humidity were absolutely stifling, we managed to see some of the main cultural sites.
Ginkakuji, also known as the Silver Temple, was an absolute highlight for us. To get there, we walked along the Philosopher’s Path, a two kilometer, ancient, stone pathway that meanders along a canal lined with cherry trees. I hope to go back one day in the spring when the trees are in full bloom. You will find shops, homes and restaurants along the path. We stopped at one small cafe for a “breakfast set”.
Ginkakuji was built in the 15th century; the temple and gardens are a stunning place to visit.
Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion is probably the most famous attraction in Kyoto. The current structure was built in 1955. Apparently, it has been rebuilt several times throughout history after it was destroyed by fire or war. Apparently one of the fires was caused by a crazed monk.
It is a popular tourist site and can be quite crowded at times. I suggest getting there early in the day when the throngs of tourists have not yet arrived.
There are many other interesting sites to see in Kyoto in including castles, shrines, temples, museums and of course, shopping and fine dining. We enjoyed some amazing meals during our time in Kyoto including traditional Japanese and French cuisines.
As we were leaving one restaurant, the host and our waitress hurried to the door to open it for us; we thanked them and bowed as we left. We took a few steps and turned back to see that they were still standing there smiling, bowing and waving to us. At another restaurant, the hostess gave me a small coin purse as a gift when we left. We were blown away by the hospitality, appreciation and politeness of the people we met there.
Wandering though the city and taking photos is always a highlight for me.
I don’t recommend visiting Japan in the summer due to the extreme heat and humidity, spring and fall are the best times to visit. If you enjoyed this post please sign up to follow my travel blog, I post only once a week so you won’t be inundated with messages. As always, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Stay safe and healthy,