Today is a clear and sunny day after yesterday’s downpour! Opposite the bus-stop near our hotel is Nishi Hongwanji Temple (西本願寺), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, we are too busy to visit this temple despite it being right at our door-step.
Kyoto Station looks brilliant against the blue sky. It’s a great day for outdoor activities!
Yes, it’s Astro Boy! (鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu, literally means “Iron Arm Atom“) How could I resist taking a photo of him semi-naked
Interior of Kyoto Station is imposing with high ceilings, steel and glass. Oh yes, we’ve a Christmas theme breakfast from Mister Donut!
We are on our way to Arashiyama, the main highlight of this Kyoto trip as well as Japan trip! We arrive at Saga-Arashiyama Station (嵯峨嵐山駅).
We walk some distance to reach Tenryu-ji Zen Temple (天龍寺) which is more formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji (天龍資聖禅寺). It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the premises is the famous Sogenchi Garden (曹源池庭園), which is designated as a Special Historic Site and a Special Historic Scenic Area.
Tenryu-ji Temple was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji. Takauji dedicated the temple to the former Emperor Go-Daigo to appease his spirits. It is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama District and the head temple of its school.
Located behind the Hojo (Main Hall), Sogenchi Garden is one of the oldest landscape gardens in Japan. It retains the same form since it was designed in the 14th century by Muso Soseki (夢窓疎石).
The beautiful landscape garden features a central pond surrounded by rocks, pine trees and the forested Arashiyama mountains. The front section of the garden features a peninsula and an island with white sand.
The surrounding heights of Arashiyama and Kameyama are incorporated in the garden as part of its shakkei (“borrowed scenery”) design.
It is also the oldest surviving kaiyu-shiki strolling garden in Japan.
It is very beautiful in autumn with the fiery red maple leaves against the torii gate.
It’s so intense! At the car parking area, the scenery is just as beautiful with bright red maple trees.
We leave the temple for the busy shopping street greeted by Minnie in kimono
We reach Togetsukyo Bridge (渡月橋) which boosts a commanding view of Arashiyama (嵐山) on the southern bank.
While Arashiyama tops the list of places for autumn koyo (紅葉), which means autumn foliage, we may be too early as there is not much foliage.
We remember fondly of Narukokyo (鳴子峡), which in our opinion is still the best place for autumn foliage. May be that’s our first impression and the foliage was very intense then.
Though it’s a sunny day, it’s rather cloudy.
We watch the clouds move as time moves slowly by…
changing the colors of the hills.
While we are enjoying the beautiful nature, we are approached by 2 kawaii girls, who are Jehovah Witnesses and give us some brochures.
It’s time for tea break! We want to eat some street food. We join a long queue for an interesting pan-cake dessert, it’s a crispy small pan cake folds into half with fruit jam (we choose peach) fillings.
Further down outside Keifuku Train Station is Arinco, a swiss roll specialty shop. We try the “matcha roll sand”, whereby the swiss roll is made like a piece of bread fills with cream in the middle, just like a sandwich. (It used to have a stall at the basement of Ion Orchard but has since closed down. I still love its salt caramel roll.)
After the sweet fix, we leave Arashiyama (on the western part of Kyoto) for Gion (on the eastern side). First, we are going to the famous Shinzaburo Hanpu (一澤信三郎帆布) to shop for canvas bags. A japanese woman who is in our bus, alights quickly and runs toward the shop. I’m not exaggerating. The small shop is so crowded with lots of women!
Shinzaburo Hanpu was born as a result of family feud. Shinzaburo Hanpu has the craftsmen and suppliers with him.
But Ichizawa Hanpu (一澤帆布), the original famous traditional canvas bag shop is CLOSED! There’s a notice on the door but we are not sure what does it mean exactly since it’s in Japanese.
We walk further down the road to turn into Gion’s Shirakawa stream (白川).
It’s a beautiful place in Gion. Quaint and small, not crowded and not urbanized.
Lovely autumn foliage. This is one of the licensed geisha areas in Kyoto, with graceful and ancient street.
This is the real Shirakawa stream mentioned in “Memoirs of a Geisha”, where Sayuri first met the chairman as a little girl crying on the bridge.
And we see a Maiko! She’s posing for a photo shoot. She’s so pretty!
A small shrine at the road junction.
Down the street of nostalgia. On both sides of the street, there are beautiful wooden restaurants and inns, which look so old Kyoto.
Most of the buildings have been preserved, giving a timeless feel to the area. Yet it’s extremely quiet and lifeless now. May be it’s too early before night falls.
We walk into a park of red maples and toward Sanjo direction.
The Kamogawa River (鴨川) is beautiful even in autumn. Here the willows hang gracefully over the river and footpath.
Lovely clouds. We cross the bridge and walk towards Sanjo Street.
We come to the Times Building renovated by Tadao Ando (安藤忠雄), an interesting development that makes use of the stream as part of its landscaping. Tadao Ando’s final design has the building appears to be floating on a river, like a boat.
A florist shop with Christmas display.
Beginning of the Sanjo. A shop that sells Japanese traditional purses and wallets.
Crepe Ojisan VW combivan parking next to an interesting old building.
Yojiya Cafe but we are not stopping by.
Sumiya Ryokan (炭屋 ) is just down the road.
Paul Smith is housed within a red-brick building constructed during Showa period.
We reach Sacra building, a former bank on the northwest corner of Sanjo and Tominokoji Dori.
We are having tea at Sugary! We walk up the lovely wooden staircase to the 3rd floor.
But we change our minds after we read the menu. We order set meal:p Here is our salad and tea.
For main course, sis has pasta while I’ve Rosemary chicken. And we share a lovely dessert set hehe.
Some of the shops in Sacra!
One particular shop we like is iiivko on the 2nd floor. So many vintage stuff.
We walk down the street with many old buildings and old shops.
This shop is closed but i like the window display!
An old shop selling japanese socks is also closed.
Inoda’s Coffee Cafe. Okie i get the point. Will have breakfast in Inoda’s Cafe tomorrow.
We come to The Musuem of Kyoto (京都府京都文化博物館).
The western building is the former Nihon Bank Kyoto branch built during Meiji period. The bank counter with bars is still retained.
Beautiful high wooden ceiling.
It gives the aura of a bank.
Empty space could be used for exhibition or display. We visit the another section, where the museum shop is still open.
Kyoto Central Post Office.
We see 2 more interesting buildings along our way. I prefer such western style buildings than traditional Japanese buildings
Last but not least, our last stop is Cocon Karasuma (古今烏丸) at Shijo. Beside Actus, there are many interesting shops such as Lisn and Karacho (唐長). We contribute our moolah to Lisn and Karacho (where I buy some nice cards)
It’s so unbelievable that we cover so many places in a day.
- Slow Walk Winter Kyoto
- Slow Walk Winter Kyoto II
- 10,000 Yen and thousands of Torii Gates
- Old Japan from Omihachiman to Kyoto
- Eat like a Royalty
- Gero Onsen and Takayama
- Takayama, Hida Furukawa and Shirakawago
- A Room with a View in Shirakawago and Nagahama
- Tango Discovery
- Tale of Genji, Garden, Shrine and Unagi
- Leaving Nagoya
- Naruko Onsen and Naruko-kyo