Kyoto was a blast! Kyoto also once served as Japan’s Capital, and was almost bombed in WWII. The city is one that littered with endless temples, shrines and historic structures, so if you wish to immerse yourself in traditional Japan, Kyoto is it.
Fushimi Inari was my first stop. I got up early to try beat the queues. Fushimi Inari is famous for its orange torii gates that form a trail through the forest and lead to Mount Inari. Roughly half way to the top, one can experience the beautiful views of Kyoto. Fushimi Inari, like many shinto shrines in Japan, offers visitors the chance to write their wishes on wooden plates and hang them along the walls of the shrine. I walked the path, left my wishes and I was ready to see the rest of Kyoto.
I headed for Higashiyama district to see the traditional wooden buildings and merchant shops. This is where you can take time and walk through the streets and shops. Treat yourself to lovely lunches, souvenirs, and sweet treats. I visited the Kiyomizudera and Kodaiji temple, and Yasaka Padoga that surrounded Higashiyama. From time to time I lost myself in the sights and atmosphere of the area, but I honestly didn’t mind.
As I explored the city, I noticed that a lot of people were dressed in the traditional Japanese garb, kimonos. Initially I assumed that Japanese people in Kyoto just liked being in their kimonos, like you find with many Tsonga women in Elim, Limpopo. It wasn’t long until I realised that even foreigners were wearing kimonos. Guess what? There are stores in Kyoto that allow you to rent and dress up in a variety of kimonos and walk through the city.
That evening, Rori joined me for dinner. We went hunting for good places to eat out in Pontocho, which is a popular dinning area in Kyoto. There are places that offer high-end traditional cuisine and those that are more affordable restaurants and cafes. Shijo Dori and Kiyamachi street and some of the nearby streets and alleys also have a variety of places to eat out.
I know I haven’t mentioned much about the food, but food added immensely to the experience across Japan, and Kyoto was one place where I had the some of the most memorable meals after the yakiniku with the Shiomis.
Please enjoy the gems of Kyoto Through My Lens.
Through My Lens series is a project that aims to look at some of my favourite adventures through a series of simple images.
Higashiyama district and surrounding areas
Kyoto was the one city that I didn’t mind getting lost in. When I got lost, I embraced it and that opened up parts of Kyoto I don’t think I would have readily come across as a tourist.