Posts Tagged ‘Higashiyama’

Kyoto: Templing


After our stay in Tokyo, the Crew and I took the shinkansen down to Kyoto where we stayed for a couple of days. If you’re in Kyoto for two days, and it’s the new year holiday, the thing to do is certainly to go templing. After arriving in Kyoto, checking into the hotel room, and […]

Kiyomizudera, founded in 788, is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto. People come here to pray to the eleven-headed Kannon statue that is only shown publicly once every 33 years. Needless to say, since it was a beautiful Spring day during Golden Week, Kiyomizudera was packed. Strangely, however, I enjoy Japanese crowds. Because […]

The approach to Kiyomizudera is known as the Chawan-zaka, or “Teapot Lane,” because it’s lined with shops selling, among other things, teapots and other tea-related items. You can also buy local delicacies like sembe (crackers), tsukemono (pickles), and wagashi (tea sweets). The street food is outstanding and I really wish that Jess and I had […]

Kyoto is the current center of geisha culture in Japan, though in Kyoto geisha are known as geiko. Geisha, which literally means “art-person,” are artist-entertainers who are trained in a variety of skills including use of the shamisen and shakuhachi, traditional Japanese dance and song, the tea ceremony, ikebana, and classical poetry. This training usually […]

Kyoto’s monument to the Unknown Soldier gets barely a mention in the guidebooks (probably because it was constructed in the 1950s), which is unfortunate because it’s both an impressive structure and a fascinating cultural and historical locus. The telling opening line of the English-language pamphlet’s description of “Ryozen Kwannon” reads as follows: In commemoration of […]

kyoto: kodai-ji


Kodai-ji temple was founded in 1605 by Kita-no-Mandokoro (popularly known as Nene), the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in memory of her late husband. It was heavily financed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, “Hideyoshi’s chief vassal and later Shogun of Japan” (from the pamphlet). While the provenance of Kodai-ji is interesting, its most striking aspect is its beautiful […]

At the height of the Golden Week holidays, the weather in the Kansai area turned perfect — t-shirt warm with cloudless blue skies. It was like a California summer day, and if you live in Japan you know how rare it is to actually have a day like that. It was a perfect day to […]