Capital of Japan
Kyoto is one of those most memorable destinations and one of the most fascinating cities in the East. As the ancient capital of Japan for over 1000 years, it is known as one of the most traditional cities, a place where you can still see geishas. As previously mentioned, Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1000 years before Tokyo became one. Its inhabitants are proud and rightly so, still many of them consider it as the capital. If you try to trace the origin of the families of powerful characters, you will discover that everything leads you to Kyoto. There is so much history to discover with a variety of places to visit. The Kyoto Museum, the National Museum, the Miho Museum, and the National Museum of Modern Art are the recommended places if you are a fan of art and culture.
Kyoto is surrounded by a series of impressive mountains, looming in the background like great mystical creatures, a magnificent sight not to be missed. You will have to travel a bit outside the center to explore the natural beauty, but we assure you it is well worth it. In the distance, these incredible landscapes serve as a reminder that Mother Nature is very close. You can enjoy the landscapes and explore from the Temple of the Golden Pavilion or from the second half of the pilgrim’s walk.
Kyoto is one of those places that takes you to discover Japan as it used to be. The streets are modern enough, wide highways with shops and restaurants on both sides. But walk a little further and you will find yourself in a labyrinth of passageways of ancient roads. Here the passerby is very important, and you will find all kinds of traditional sushi bars. The Gion area is particularly beautiful with many old houses made of red painted wood. You will find many members only bars and if you are lucky enough to meet the right people you can go inside. In many of these places you can see the geisha with their clients.
Being Kyoto a traditional place in many respects you would think that its cuisine is too. Don’t be surprised by the incredible variety in this area. Kansai’s main dishes are Okonomiyaki (salty pancake) and Takoyaki (octopus’ balls) which are very popular, and you will also find a variety of restaurants specializing in sushi and sashimi. It is also worth trying the Japanese or Korean barbecue taking advantage of the fact that you are there, it is done by carefully cooking the meat on a small individual grill before wrapping it with the lettuce or putting the sauce, it is the perfect option for those who are not fond of fish.
One of the charms of Kyoto is the variety of temples and shrines that are fascinating. Each one of them unique and different with its own history, although many are well known and touristy, a walk through its streets can unearth many jewels that are not invaded by tourists. One look inside them will be enough to impress you. Although the Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a well-known and popular destination, we recommend, in case you want to see something different, that you visit other temples that are not so touristy but full of history and beauty.
A very interesting option is the Sanjusagen-do that has a collection of 1000 golden Buddhist statues, a wonderful treasure. Another recommended place is the Fushimi Inari shrine, where you can get there fast by train. It is an amazing sanctuary with thousands of red structures known as “Toriis” and their fox statues, a path that takes you to the top of the hill where you will find the main sanctuary with an impressive view.
Modern Japan is the image that is projected abroad and that attracts many young people. You have the well-known characters like Hello Kitty, Sailor Moon and Studio Ghibli that you can also find in Kyoto and not only in big cities. A museum of manga drawings to appreciate this art form, learn about its origins and even be able to draw it. Large shopping centers with a very wide variety of shops and curiosities such as cafeterias with cats “cat café”, a real feline experience. Everything you’ve heard about the modernity and character of Japan can be found here. Don’t forget to explore this aspect.