Yasaka Koshin-do - Kyoto's Colorful Temple!
Possibly the most instagrammable little spot in all of Kyoto, Yasaka Koshin-do is absolutely full of little balls of brightly colored material hanging all over the structures of the temple. This custom of hanging these balls called kukurizaru has an interesting history related to Taoism. You may spot the Three Wise Monkeys in the grounds too.
Kiyomizu-dera Iconic Temple
Kiyomizu-dera offers some of the very best views of the city of Kyoto. The platform which many visitors view the city from is itself a kind of architectural marvel.
The platform is supported by well over one hundred stilts made from zelkova wood.
Tea House Meeting with Maiko
The figure of the geisha and her apprentice the maiko are enduring symbols of Kyoto life. The tea house Jinmatsu-an allows visitors to get a front row seat as the maiko performs the Kyo-mai, a traditional dance of the old capital. This long-standing establishment is our favorite place to take people to see the maiko. One day, the maiko will qualify as a geisha and continue the tradition that has been a part of Kyoto culture for a long time.
Kyo Karakami – Traditional Craft Product of Kyoto
Karamaru is a specialist in the Kyoto specialty paper products that have been a key industry in this area. Kyokami paper products are sometimes used for fusuma sliding screen doors in traditional Japanese homes as well as wallpaper.
Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine
This is the head shrine of about 30,000 Inari shrines found throughout Japan. It has wonderfully designed buildings. This shrine is dedicated to the god of business prosperity. It is famous for the many red-colored torii gates along the paths to the top of the shrine site. There are about 10,000 gates. The number has increased so much because the torii are dedicated by people as a sign of their gratitude that their wishes will come true. The avenue of torii is recommended for those who want to take photos that say, 'Now this is Kyoto! This is Japan!'
Temple Lodge and Dawn Prayers
A lodge built for visitors who wish to participate in dawn prayers at one of the nearby temples.
365 days a year, those who stay overnight at the temple participate in dawn prayers. This service is only accessible to those staying at the temple's lodge.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Tenryu-ji Buddhist Temple
This Zen Temple is affiliated with Rinzai Sect of Japanese Buddhism. One particularly striking image is the painting of a dragon on the ceiling of one of the buildings.
There is also an interesting painting of Bodhidharma, a figure in early Buddhism. It is quite common to see this Buddhist monk in the form of a hollow, round Japanese doll or toy called a Daruma – but this interpretation is quite eye catching too.
Bamboo Grove of Arashiyama
A sea of uncountable bamboo stalks climb impossibly high. Happily, there is a path through this dense grove – and it has become a must see location for anyone who is lucky enough to be in Kyoto.
The transport of choice is suitably old school. A rickshaw! Did you know that the word rickshaw in English actually comes from the Japanese word jinrikisha?