Japan Holiday: Kyoto Part 1

Japan Holiday: Kyoto Part 1

Japan’s 9th largest city served as it’s capital and the Emperor’s official residence from 794 until 1868, and it was due to this historical heritage that spared it from aerial bombardment and the atomic bomb during the 2nd World War. With over 1.5 million people, its urbanisation hits you first on arrival, at the ultra-modern 11-storey Kyoto Station. However, hidden by gleaming modern buildings are Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites; most of these are Buddhist and Shinto temples and shrines that can be found close to the edge of the mountains that surround Kyoto. They were banished from the city’s centre, due the priests’ meddling in the power politics of a bygone era. Notwithstanding, there are around 2,000 temples and shrines in the city. Information technology is the city’s key industry, with several large electronic companies are headquartered in the city. I was impressed with the extremely efficient subway within cities and rail network between them. The ginkgo trees lining most of the main Kyoto thoroughfares were another surprise. The ginkgo leaf (see the ginkgo bonsai above) is a national symbol of Japanese resilience. The peak tourist seasons are the spring and autumn months with its milder weather.

The photos here were taken around Kyoto Station, the Teramachi Shopping Arcade, and Nishiki Market. Part 2 will be those taken around the Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle and Kinkaku-ji. The old Kyoto quarter of Gion and Ponto-cho will be in Part 3. The Osaka photos will be posted later.

Photo Credit: Zheluo Cai