Kyoto Escape – The allure of Japan’s ancient capital

The city I’d want to live in if I wasn’t already living in Tokyo…

In August last year my fiancé and I had the opportunity to visit Kyoto. We decided to spend four days of a glorious summer in what’s always been in my mind, one of the most beautiful cities in Japan. With a population of just 1.4 million, I found it a lot more relaxed and easy going than Tokyo. It also proved to be the most picturesque place I have seen in this country so far.

Japanese summers are well-known for being exceptionally hot and I had gotten used to the stifling humidity coupled with the extreme heat of metropolis Tokyo, but nothing could have prepared me for the swelteringly pervasive heat of Kyoto, which is why I still can’t believe that we decided to stick with our original decision to  take in the sights via bicycle! (There were times I didn’t think I would survive the sun’s onslaught.) So after laying the sunblock on really thick and stocking up on plenty of water we left our wonderfully air-conditioned hotel and headed off to explore the ancient Japanese capital.

We took so many pictures that I really had a hard time choosing my favourites. Because there are so many I’ve divided this picture post into 2 and will post pictures from the second half of our trip in a separate post.

I do hope you enjoy these pictures.

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) 

We started off our sight seeing by visiting Kinkakuji, a zen temple in the nothern part of Kyoto. The amazing thing about this temple is that its 2 top floors are entirely covered in gold leaf. It overlooks a large pond and although it’s not actually possible to go inside, it really is quite a sight to behold as all that gold glitters in the bright sunlight.

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Hojo Rock Garden

After being mezemrised by  Kenkakuji, we moved onto Hojo Rock Garden. Situated inside the Ryoanji temple,  it is said that this rock garden’s rocks resemble tigers and cubs crossing through water, or that is represents an abstract concept like infinity. I’m not so sure if I see these suggested concepts, but I loved the tranquil atmosphere that came from sitting in the cool calmness of the garden.

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Arashiyama

We ended off the day with a walk and cycle ride through the most beautiful (and only) bamboo forest I’ve ever been in, called Arashiyama. Following the walk we hired a boat on the lake next to the forest and set our rowing skills to the test – rather my fiancé put his rowing skills to the test while I leisurely dipped my feet in the cool water.

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Fushimi Inari

The next day we set off fairly early for  a shrine that I was really excited to see: Fushimi Inari. The reason? Because its marked for its thousands of brilliantly red torii gates, which honestly seem to go on forever behind the  shrine’s main buildings and only end in a wooded forest some distance behind the shrine.

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Here are some pictures of Kyoto in general. In the next post I’ll share pictures from the second part of our holiday.

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If any of these photos make you feel like booking a plane ticket to Japan, let me know below!

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6 thoughts on “Kyoto Escape – The allure of Japan’s ancient capital

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