Intro: Ranked as one of the three greatest festivals in Japan, few people would argue that even amongst these, Gion Festival is the best. The festival attracts a huge number of people, many in summer kimono (yukata). It consists of almost a full month of events and ceremonies, building up to the yo-yama night festivities, which climaxes in a parade of enormous floats (some as tall as 20 meters), which become art works of the city. The night festivities are as close as Kyoto gets to a massive street party, one that stretches across much of the central part of the city, and offers opportunities to view the parade floats at night, try endless types of interesting food, and soak up the atmosphere of a summer festival in Japan. The parade day itself gives a chance to witness the display of group strength as the enormous floats are pulled around the city. August in Kyoto is extremely hot, but experiencing this amazing festival makes visiting at this time of year worthwhile!
Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)
Intro: The most popular time for tourism in Kyoto is early April, the peak of the cherry blossom season. However, this peak time usually only lasts about one week. Sometimes it seems like half of Kyoto’s parks, rivers and temples are made for this short period of time. What is all the fuss about, you may ask. Well, the beauty, excitement, and pure fun of the cherry blossom season is something that needs to be experienced to be believed. On a weekend in which the cherry blossoms are blooming and the weather is sunny, it seems that the only people who are not happy are bus drivers and those who have to go to work! On such days, people are merry, worries are set aside, and most people simply enjoy sitting under cherry trees with their friends and family eating good food, drinking and being merry.
Best Places: Though Maruyama Park and Hirano Shrine are the best places if you want to be part of a bustling cherry-blossom party, there are countless other p
Riding and Walking Areas
Intro: There are so many sightseeing spots in Kyoto that there is something for everyone. For those who have the time and would like to enjoy walking and riding leisure times in Kyoto, we recommend three places with beautiful surroundings.
Places: 1:The Philosophy Path(The Philosopher’s Walk), named Tetsugaku-no-michi in Japanese, is the most famous walking path in town not only because of its profound name but also because of the many cherry blossom trees and other flowering plants grown on both sides of the canal that forms it. When the spring comes and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, you feel like you are walking in a wonderland of cherry blossoms. This is certainly a most unforgettable spot to experience in Kyoto. While it is most famous during this time of year (generally early April) it is worth visiting any other time of year, as it offers some great views of the city, and a relaxing break from other sightseeing. It is also worth checking
Going Deep into Arashiyama with Zen: Daihikaku Temple.
Deep in the forest covered mountains, perched up above the river valley offering possibly the best view in Kyoto, lies the Daihikaku Zen temple. Fresh from renovations last year, the temple is ready to welcome both foreign and Japanese tourist alike, but is still an unknown tourist attraction to most. As it offers information about the concept of Zen in a number of languages and is quiet enough to allow for peaceful meditation, it is also one of the best places to learn a little about Zen while visiting Kyoto.
Arashiyama represents some of the best and worst of tourism in Kyoto. Situated in a beautiful natural setting at the entrance of the Katsura river as it flows from the mountains to the city, and featuring vast areas of forest and bamboo groves, the area is stunningly beautiful. It also boasts the World Heritage listed Tenryuji temple, one of main Rinzai Zen temples of Japan, which contains one of the most well renowned
Kenninji and Kyoto’s Zen Temples
Kyoto has an amazing amount of Buddhist temples. Some of them small enough to sit in front of a house (like those to Jizo found throughout the city), some of them like a town in themselves (like the Daitoku ji temple complex). In Kyoto you can find the headquarters of most Japanese Buddhist sects, including many of the most significant Zen temples. Along with Nanzenji in Kyoto’s east and Tenryuji in the west, Kenninji temple is one of the head temples of the Rinzai school of Zen, which came to Japan from China in the 12th century.
Though these other temples are also very impressive and well worth a visit, Kenninji offers the visitor a chance to relax, enjoy a number of different gardens and other amazing artworks, all at the edge of the Gion geisha district. It is also considered to be the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and the home of Japanese tea. In addition, the head monks of Kenninji make an effort to support contemporary art by holding regular exhibitio
Heian Jingu Shrine
Intro: For most tourists, the first impression of Kyoto may be that it is the home of many shrines, be they large, small; on the main streets, hidden down side streets, shrines are everywhere in Kyoto.
We would like to introduce you to Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto with the biggest “Torii”, which is a scarlet coloured door/gate representing worship of Gods’s home. The history of Heian Jingu Shrine dates back to just over 100 years ago. In 1985, it was built to commemorate moving the capital to Heian-kyo (Kyoto) for 1100 years. Unlike most Shrines, which worship gods, Heian Jingu Shrine worships two historical Emperors of Japan, namely Emperor Kammu (737~806) and Emperor Komei (1831~1866). The former was the first ruler of Heian-Kyo, and the other was the last one before the Capital moved to Tokyo. There is also a beautiful garden ‘Shin’en’, which is one of the masterpieces of Japanese gardens.
Specifics: The garden consists of four smaller gardens.
Intro: There are many famous places for maple leaves in Kyoto, such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kinkakuji Temple, Tofukuji Temple, Arashiyama, etc. It is very nice to visit to all of them; however, if your time is limited, we recommend you to visit Kinkakuji Temple, Tofukuji Temple or Sinyudo.
Places: The Kinkakuji Temple in fall is particularly popular, especially on a sunny day, because you will enjoy blue sky, white clouds, leaves, and shining gold foliage, which makes for a fantastic view. If you are a photography enthusiast, we believe you will enjoy the Kinkakuji Temple during fall, despite the crowds. Tofukuji Temple is famous for its sky corridor. From there, if you look down, you will have an amazing view of the red maples, which are spectacular in colour. The other recommended place to visit is a private attraction – Sinyudo. There you will find a variety of maples, which turn red at different times, so you might see a beautiful array of colo