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Kyoto attractions

Kyoto attractions

Kyoto hotels


The Zen Garden

Located at Kitaoji-dori in Northwestern Kyoto, the Zen Garden is actually a collection of breath-taking temples, including the Ninnaji, Ryoanji, Kinkakuji, and Daitokuji Temples . Roaming the entire temple complexes will consume an entire day. Each temple is about 20 -30 minutes apart. Along the way, you will have to pass Mt. Daimon-ji, which takes about an hour to climb. Perhaps the best way to get to the Zen Garden is through the Karasuma subway line to Kitaoji station, then walk west.

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)
This is Kyoto 's most popular tourist attraction, previously known as Rokuonji. It was constructed in the 12 th century, originally as Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's retirement villa. His son later converted it into a temple. Obsessed with the pavilion, a young monk burned it to the ground in 1950, and that event inspired the famous novel “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” by Yukio Mishima. Eventually, the pavilion was rebuilt to feature a garish gold leaf covering the façade all the way to the lower floor. Perhaps the most striking view of the temple – one that has been captured in countless photographs – is from its reflection on the face of a nearby body of water which is surrounded by breath-taking landscape.

Ryoan-ji Temple
A short distance from the Temple of the Golden Pavilion is the Ryoan-ji Temple , which is renowned as an example of dry landscaping. Its most notable feature is an arrangement of 15 rocks positioned atop a bed of white gravel and surrounded by low walls. This image is striking because there is nothing but rocks anywhere around – no trees, ponds, hills or water, just rocks. At the back of this rock garden is a stone washbasin known as Tsukubai and said to be built by Tokugawa Mitsukuni during the 17th century. The washbasin contains an oft-quoted, four-character transcription: "I learn only to be contented.”

Nijo Castle
Located in Central Kyoto, the Nijo Castle is a special favorite among tourists. The Ninomaru complex has beautifully decorated reception rooms and the so-called nightingale floors made out of wood. The entire castle layout is magnificent and is best appreciated from the donjon from within the castle.

The Imperial Castle and Park
At the heart of Kyoto ‘s city center is the Imperial Park , a peaceful and exquisitely decorated park with over 50,000 trees which houses the Imperial Palace . Since the Palace is only open for guided tours, make sure to book early at the Imperial Household Agency on the west side of the palace complex. English tours are available from Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is an excellent venue to escape hustle and bustle of the city and unwind amid a paradise of soothing peach, plum and cherry trees.

Gion District
If you want to see a real-life geisha, the Gion District is the best place to find them. They usually move quickly between buildings or hop into waiting taxis. Don't be dismayed if you don't see any geishas because the nearby Yasaka Shrine and its surrounding area are especially photogenic. Up north you will find the Ryozen Kannon memorial, which is dedicated to unknown Japanese soldiers who perished in World War II.

If you love exploring your surroundings on foot, there are two attractions in Kyoto that were made with you in mind. The first is the "Walk in Kyoto , Talk in English", a five hour-tour that includes Shinto shrines, a huge Buddhist temple and a lot back alley surprises. The other is the Geisha walking lecture, where you'll learning everything you want to know about Japanese geishas, courtesy of lecturer Peter Macintosh.

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