Born and live in Southeast Asia country means you’ll see the sun 365 days each year and it feels like summer everyday, literally. This is a blessing for most of my Europeand and American friends, but however, I myself, really love winter (but yeah, not for everyday).
Japan has always been my dream country to visit. Been reading Manga for more than half of my life, watching the anime since I was 5, and seeing how this country ggets through ups and downs, I thinks those are enough to make me adore this country. So, aftere years of dreaming, I finally made it! I come visit Japan in 2017 on Jannuary. In this article I wanna share my experiences in on of the most visited cities in Japan, Kyoto (京都市 Kyōto-shi, or literally means “Capital City).
As International Relations graduate, word “Kyoto” reminds me to “Kyoto Protocol” an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets that was signed in December 11th 1997 in Kyoto. And when I first step on Kyoto, I know why the treaty to counter climate change was signed here. This city has one of the freshest air in the world, so green and refreshing.
Located in the central part of Honshu Island, Kyoto served as Japan’s capital since 794–1868 with current population of 1.5 million people. This city is the silent witness of many wars and fires. Kyoto has many temples, shrines and other historical place worth to visit. If you’re just like me, one of the people who adores “Memoirs of Geisha” movie, so you must visit this wonderful city.
Kiyomizu Dera (清水寺)
Kiyomizuedera is a buddhist temple located in eastern part of Kyoto and one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kiyomizu-dera was founded in 778 in Heian period. Kiyomizu means pure water, thus many people believe if you wash your face or drink water from its three separate streams, you will be lucky.
When I was here, keep walking up hill and the scenery was breathtaking. Although so many people come to visit this temple, but you can still feel the magical ambience.
On the other side of Kiyomizu dera, there is Jishu shrine to make a wish and you can find two love stones which are about 15m apart. Local urban legend said that if you can cross from one stone to another with your eyes closed, you will find your true love. Me? Meh, I don’t believe it (or true love, lol).
To get here, you can take bus number 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station and stop at Kiyomizu-michi then walk for 10 minutes uphill to the temple. If you take train, sto at Kiyomizu Gojo station and walk for 20 minutes.
Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)
The second place you must visit when you are in Kyoto is Fushimi Inari taisha. Located in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari taisha is the most important Shinto (God of rice) shrine and famous for its thousand of vermilion torri gates that make a network of trails and lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari (seriously, it’s so hard to take a picture here).
You can find some Foxes statues around this place because foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
I always love being in a forest. It always refresh my mind and somehow, relaxing. So for me, Kyoto is complete because it has a very magical and mesmerizing forest, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
Many movies especially about samurai was taken in this spot. When you got here, I think you wanna spend some hours for a while. I visit this place in winter and spring, the best scenery is in winter actually. The combination of bamboo tress and snow, beautiful.
To get here, you can take train from Kyoto station and stop at JR Saga Arashiyama Station. It just take 15 minutes.
When you watched Memoirs of Geisha, most of the scences was taken around Gion because it is the most famous Geisha district.Tourists love Gion because it is full of artistics wooden building, typically japanese architecture.
Because I am so busy walking around and looking for goood restaurant, I didn’t take any picture of the street if I am not mistaken. But here I insert one of pictures from google (lol)
One think I remember about this place is, it’s never empty. There is always so many people here. And they have so many souvenirs shop. To get there, you can take bus number 100 or 206 (20 minutes, 230 yen) from Kyoto Station.
Being in Kyoto always make me happy. I always want to visit it again and again. Kyoto is so historical and magical, and beautiful. The people are so friendly, the air is so fresh, you can just walk around without afraid of being harrased or robbed. So wonderful!