Places to See in Kyoto

Kyoto was the ancient capital of Japan for over a thousand years, from  794 to 1869    and wherever  you go, you’ll see beautiful temples, shrines and palaces! This trip I visited the Temple of the Golden Pavilion ( Kinkakuji )which is certainly the most impressive for foreign visitors. Originally built as a vacation villa by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1389, it was then donated in his will as a Zen temple. It has burned down twice,once during the Onin War and  most recently in 1950 by an arsonist.

Kinkakuji temple

Kinkakuji temple

I asked an elderly volunteer guide why it was covered in gold and he explained that when Chinese envoys came there to discuss trade in the Muromachi period, it was done to impress them.

The grounds are crowded in May with many groups of middle school children. We talked with these boys from Saitama.

Boys from Saitama

Boys from Saitama

The first day was rainy but we visited the Silver temple or Ginkakuji. We stopped for a sweet treat on the way at a little tea  house.

inkakuji Temple inthe rain

Ginkakuji Temple inthe rain

Tea shop on the approach to Ginkakuji

Tea shop on the approach to Ginkakuji

Green Tea  shaved ice

Green Tea shaved ice

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Earlier in the day, we stopped at the Nishijin Textile Center to see how they weave the nishijin-ori cloth for obi and kimono. We saw a kimono show too!!

Raw silk is spun from silkworms and made into this lovely tapestry-like silk! The second floor is a gift shop and some of the bags were reasonably priced. We enjoyed looking around and were lucky to see the kimono fashion show! Good timing!

Nishijin-ori

Nishijin-ori

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Kimono fashion show

Kimono fashion show

yakitori

yakitori

Bajitofu yakitori restaurant , Shijo-Karasuma, Kyoto

Bajitofu yakitori restaurant , Shijo-Karasuma, Kyoto

At night we found a yakitori shop near our hotel. I had reserved counter seats which was a good idea. We arrived at 7:30 but by 8:30, they were turning away customers. I enjoyed the freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice chuhai and lots of good yakitori (chicken grilled on a stick over charcoal fire)!

Fresh grapefruit chuhai!!

Fresh grapefruit chuhai!!

We stayed at Mitsui Garden Hotel SHijo and found it reasonable and conveniently located to buses and other areas. The staff were very helpful to us. I would definitely recommend this hotel!

Lobby at the Mitsui Garden Shijo Hotel

Lobby at the Mitsui Garden Shijo Hotel

The second day, we enjoyed seeing the Kiyomizudera temple, built up high on stilt-like posts. This is my personal favorite! We met a man from Atlanta and enjoyed chatting a bit! Then we a bus back to the hotel!

Debbie at Kiyomizudera

Debbie at Kiyomizudera

After returning to our hotel we finally checked out the little cafe through the alley from our hotel. Itis called Kyoto Cafe Shijo Nishinotoin (京都カフェイ四条西洞院  075-361-7771)Open from 12:00 to 10:00PM every day.

with Yamano-san, cafe owner!

with Yamano-san, cafe owner!

Deb had choc espresso with milk and I had latte. We enjoyed seeing the interior and talking with owner, Takeo Yamano! He was very friendly. You can eat anything from a green smoothie to a full course dinner there!

Cappucino

Cappuccino

Kyoto Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Kyoto Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Finally we made it back to the Kyoto station building and bought sandwiches to eat on the Shinkansen! We had really good time and saw a lot in just two days!If you are in Kyoto near Karasuma Shijo, you must try the Nishitoin Cafe!! (right behind the Mitsui Garden Shijo hotel)! Nice atmosphere!

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