Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kyoto, Japan (February 26, 2008)

March 1, 2008

This second day of the tour was a rather cold and dreary day. The sun was not out. Kyoto was about two hours away from Osaka. Our tour guide Masako got to talk a lot about the interesting Japanese history. The unique dual systems of the Emperors and the Shoguns was particularly of interest.

Our first stop was the Kinkakuji Temple. This was where we actually saw patches of snow on the the landscape. The highlight of course was the golden temple structure, built on the water. The classic photographs always show it with a perfect reflection on the pool around it. Beautiful.

As is typical of tours, we were brought to a Japanese handicrafts center. They sold different crafts per floor! The realistic Samurai gear, including swords were on the first floor. But the less expensive souvenirs were found on the second floor. This was where I got the kimonos for my kids. It was also in this place that we ate our "international buffet" lunch.

Next we went to Kiyomizu-Dera, a Buddhist temple on the mountains. It was a huge temple whose base was an impressive structure of interlocking timber, no nails were used. It was already actually raining when we got there. The climb up was not easy. We were able to see some girls in Japanese kimonos. (Although there was also this striking girl in a white mini-skirt, but that's another matter...)

After this, we were brought to the Gion entertainment district. This was supposed to have been a pleasant walking tour, however the rain was really pouring already at this point. We were only able to see one Maiko (or Geisha in training) on the street. She was walking so fast in the rain, I almost did not reach her in time before she entered her "establishment." We had a great shabu-shabu meal to cap off this night.

It was really too bad it had to be so rainy on the day we went to historic Kyoto. 

Snow on the ground

Map of Kinkakuji Complex

Kinkakuji Temple

Kinkakuji close up

Phoenix atop Kinkakuji

Ancient bonsai

Snow-capped roof

Very expensive samurai gear

Samurai sword replicas

Rainy walk to the temple

Entrance to Kiyomizu-Dera

Kiyomizu-Dera temple

Japanese girls in kimono

Washing before praying

Empty Gion Street

Geisha Theater
Geisha are called Geiko in Kyoto.

Rainy night in Kyoto

So lucky I was able to catch her in time when she was closing her umbrella before entering her "house". Too bad the lighting is not too good.

Maiko Close-Up


  1. Somewhere we definitely want to visit, thankyou for re-inspiring us!

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  3. Hi! We were supposed to go to Kyoto last time we were in Japan but we got so absorbed in Osaka. Nice photos! Would love to go there next time. Also, still don't know how to spot a real geisha from a cosplayer. Would you know?

  4. I've only transited at the airport so seeing this and reading your post makes me want to travel there too. The temple looks magnificent!

  5. I am in love with Japan so I am very jealous of you :P haha! But really, great experience and shots! :) I hope to someday land here.

    - Aileen /

  6. Kyoto Kyoto Kyoto! One of the cities on my list to visit. One envious momma here :)

  7. Oooh. I am envious! I have yet to visit Kyoto - which by the way, is in the works hopefully this year or early next. Japan is such a beautiful country. It's just too bad that the last time I was there, I only got to go around Tokyo. There wasn't enough time and I had to go back a-sap for work.

  8. Your add-on besides reviewing and I think you're a traveler too. This is in 2008 and it's throwback talaga! Love Japan but only in photos. I watched the movie "Geisha" and I liked the story...a true story? And, I love to have an authentic Samurai Sword.

  9. I wanna go to Japan so bad and you're so lucky! MY cousin went there and had spa at the public bath. Haha. It was such an experience. Hoping to travel Japan someday

  10. Japan is one of the countries I really would like to visit too because the country is very rich in culture and they are very advanced so that's one thing I want to see also. You're very lucky to get the chance to visit them.

  11. Japan is on my travel wishlist. If only it is not that expensive to go there! My friend and I have been daydreaming of a trip there!

  12. Never been to Japan and hoping someday I can visit this place, I like the samurai costume! :)

  13. I fell in love with the Rainy night in Kyoto, it looks magical, I have always wanted to visit Kyoto as a place full of so much history and grandeur, hopefully I can afford that travel one day!

  14. Are tourists allowed in the Geisha Theater? My favorite book is Memoirs of a Geisha and I would really love to meet one someday!

  15. I love all of your pictures! This is a place I want to go for sure in the near future.. Thanks for sharing your experience with us =)

  16. The white miniskirt would definitely stand out with ladies in Kimonos. Kyoto is so rich in their heritage that it becomes a really interesting place to visit to appreciate their history.

  17. Yea... lucky u to visit Japan. Maiko look so stunning

  18. You brought back memories of one of my favorite cities in Japan. I love the calm and steady energy in Kyoto and the rich history you shared. I caught a Geisha too but it wasn't the best shot either.

  19. Konnichiwa.. Great Pictures.. It makes me want to go to Japan!

  20. I am going to Tokyo, Japan next month. I heard a lot about Kyoto, I will make a trip there. Nice travel photos.