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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrKyoto was the capital city of imperial Japan for over one thousand years and has gained the nickname “City of Ten Thousand Shrines”. During World War II, Kyoto was spared from the majority of the destruction and as a result, is one of the best preserved cities in Japan. Now Kyoto is one of Japan's largest city. It has modern skyscrapers, and roads that surround protected oasis that envelop historical shrines and buildings, creating a unique feeling unlike many of Japan's other cities.
Things to Do
Temple of the Golden PavilionKinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (officially named Rokuon-ji - “Deer Garden Temple”), is one of Kyoto's most visited and astonishing historical buildings to behold. The pavilion is surrounded by a pond that stands at the center of a classic Japanese garden design. The path to the pavilion winds through trees, flowers, and the nature of Japan with small stone shrines placed along the way. Visitors are encouraged to try their luck tossing pennies at the stone shrines, each of which has a small platform. Should the penny land on the platform, the throwers wish or prayer may be granted. The trees along the path eventually clear to reveal the Golden Pavilion. The Golden Pavilion gets its name from the gold leaf which covers the entire exterior of the building. The current structure dates back to 1955 when it was rebuilt and restored to a close approximation of the original building.
Temple of the Dragon at PeaceRyōan-ji, the Temple of the Dragon at Peace, is one of the most famous examples of Japanese “dry landscape” Zen garden which consists of larger rocks displayed amongst a sweeping pattern of smaller smooth pebbles into patterns that are meant to aid meditation. The Zen garden is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is designed to be viewed from a veranda above the garden, and arranged so that when the garden is viewed at any angle, that is not from above, only 14 rocks can be viewed at any time. Ryoari-ji is best known for its rock garden but the grounds also are home to a water garden and a Japanese tea house with a tea garden.
Otowa-san Kiyomizu-deraThe Buddhist temple, Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺), is located in Eastern Kyoto. There is not a single nail in the entire structure, and it takes its name from the waterfall which runs through the structure and runs off the nearby hills. The temple sits on the side of a hill and the main veranda juts out over the edge of the hillside, providing breathtaking views of the city. It was once said that if a person were to jump from the veranda and survive, then their wish would be granted, but this practice is now prohibited. The waterfall flows into a pond and visitors are encouraged to catch the water and drink it, because the water is believed to contain wish granting properties.
TransportationKyoto is a sprawling metropolis and often, a bus or subway is needed to get from one landmark to another. The subway is a private system, and JR passes are not accepted on it. Some of the bus routes do accept the JR pass.
Getting into Kyoto by plane can be accomplished by flying to Osaka's Kansai International Airport and taking a 45-minute train to Kyoto for international flights, and Itami Airport for domestic flights. There are also bullet trains available from Tokyo to Kyoto including overnight trains.
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Author: Convergence. Last updated: Jan 22, 2015