All posts tagged: Kyoto Travel

Nanzenji Temple Autumn - Tenjuan Garden Maple Leaves Rock Path

7 Things to Do at Nanzen-ji // Kyoto’s Roman-Style Aqueduct Temple

Steeped in history and culture, Nanzenji Temple 南禅寺 is one of the 5 great Zen temples in Kyoto and occupies a huge piece of land. It offers many attractions that will enchant travelers: a rare Roman-style aqueduct, the largest temple gate in Japan, Zen rock gardens, and stunning autumn colors.

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Nishiki Traditional Market - Kyoto Japan

Nishiki Market // 5 Must-Eats in Kyoto’s Kitchen

Nishiki Market 錦市場, also known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, is a more than 400-year-old, 400-metre arcade full of cooked food, seafood, eateries, shops, and fresh food ingredients that never fail to entice locals’ and travelers’ tastebuds. Time to fill your stomachs and stock up your kitchens!

Moss Bridge in Moss Garden - Kokedera Kyoto

Saihoji Kokedera // Kyoto’s Magical Moss Garden

Saihoji 西芳寺 or Kokedera 苔寺 is THE moss garden temple to see in Kyoto. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses innumerable moss varieties and you feel like you are wandering through a mesmeric garden of the softest greens. However, visiting this moss temple requires early planning and reservation.

Tofukuji Temple Must-See - Autumn Colors Kyoto

Tofuku-ji Kyoto // A Must-Visit for Spectacular Autumn Colors

Tofukuji 東福寺 is one of Kyoto’s 5 greatest zen temples with a famed landscape garden designed by Mirei Shigemori. The temple garden is one of the best places to admire those gorgeous autumn colors and Japanese maple leaves — on trees or scattered to create a vibrant carpet of reds, oranges, and yellows.

Fushimi Inari Shrine // Senbon Torii

If you have been a fan of Japanese animation films, you’ll be familiar with images of foxes often appearing as mystical messengers. But that’s the not reason why Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社 Fushimi Inari Taisha) attracted me and many visitors from afar. Located just 2 stations away from Kyoto Station at the JR Inari Station, this shrine housed the famed and flaming red torii gates (鳥居) in the thousands all the way up the Inari mountain (稲荷山), promising a sight not to be missed. That’s how this sight got its name – Senbon Torii (千本鳥居), literally meaning thousands of torii gates. But, before we get to that… On a beautiful autumn day, we arrive at the entrance of Fushimi Inari Shrine, where young Japnese maple trees lined the avenue against clear blue skies and the Inari Mountain in the background. There are 2 torii gates at the entrance, with the one located at the end of this avenue being the larger one. It was a good day – lots of sunshine, a cool temperature, and …

Nijo Castle // 二条城

Nijo Castle (二条城) is the first castle I visited in Japan. Situated in Kyoto, this Castle is famed for its “nightingale floors” (鴬張りuguisubari) found in the corridors of Ninomaru Palace (二の丸御殿 Ninomaru goten) – a National Treasure that one has got to see, and in this instance, hear in order to experience how it must have been like to live in the 16th century where shoguns ruled the day. The Castle was built upon the order of the 1st Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) in 1603. It was completed during the reign of the 3rd shogun, Iemitsu, in 1626. The Castle served as the Tokugawa shogunate’s center of power in Kyoto. Teamed with the dramatic, stormy skies that day, Nijo Castle appeared like it came right out of a samurai movie. I could almost envision ninjas darting across roofs in a silent attempt to assassinate some officials. This white building, found at the corners of the Nijo Castle, is probably where guards would station themselves to look out for possible attacks. A wide moat surrounds …

Shinsen-en // Garden of Divine Springs

Shinsen-en (神泉苑) or Garden of Divine Springs is a surprise discovery, en-route to Nijo Castle. I was a little lost, walking a long way from Nijo Station and not seeing the castle, I wandered into Shinsen-en hoping to get some directions from the kind-looking locals sitting in the shade. I was really glad that I did. This is one of those moments I will always love during travels – not really planning, and stumbling upon a beautiful place or a hidden corner that was not as widely-written as those on my itinerary. In all sense of the experience, a discovery of a hidden treasure. It is after seeing this beauty that I did some research after I returned from Kyoto. The crimson bridge will catch your eyes when you first enter Shinsen-en. Hosei Bridge 法成橋 has an elegant curved line, which reflects perfectly in the pond surface, where its strong vermilion seems to quiver with every ripple and every wave. The azaleas shrubs along the length of the pond made mirror images on the pond …

Katsura River // Arashiyama

Before I left the bamboo forest, I met a local elderly man who was sharing that beautiful view with me. He kindly advised me to hike to the halfway mark at Arashiyama Park (嵐山公園) for a good vantage point of the rolling hills and the Katsura River (桂川). After a slippery hike up a pathway of big, smooth rocks, I had a misty view of the Katsura River, meandering through the mountains with a few huts lining the shore. A few lungful of fresh air made me understand what the Japanese meant by 空気美味しい (translated as the air is very delicious). I made my way down Arashiyama Park and passed little spots of tranquility. If only I could read all those difficult Kanji. Japanese maples provided the perfect canopy for my walk down, letting slivers of the gentle sunlight through. Last night’s rain and the morning dew made their leaves a fresh green – a contrast from the toasty reds of the fallen leaves. Upon reaching the end of the measured steps down, I saw …