I would first like to say that, if I could live in any Asian country in the world, my choice would definitely be Japan! I adore Japanese culture! Japan is one of the few Asian countries that were not colonized by Europe and so their culture and tradition has not been lost or tainted too much. Manners and customs are an important part of Japanese culture and they are expressed within many aspects of their lives. I believe this is why observation of Japanese culture leaves many foreigners fascinated and with a greater respect for the culture.
Though I stayed in Osaka I did the majority of my sightseeing in Kyoto. Kyoto was the former imperial capital of Japan for over 1000 years! It is home to many historical temples, landmarks, cultural sites and used to be the center for the government and learning the Japanese arts. No wonder it is believed to be the “heart” of Japan.
My colleagues and I took the JR line from Osaka to Kyoto which was about a 30 minute ride. It took us to Kyoto station where there were many available buses to different cultural sites and landmarks. There was a tourist office near that assisted us in making the most of our sightseeing in the short time that we had available.
We boarded a local bus and head to Kiyomizu-dera temple. We got off at the base of Otowa Mountain and walked through the local streets that lead up to the temple. What was more appealing to me about Kyoto than Osaka is that Kyoto is a more traditionally cultural town. So you get to experience the elements of traditional Japanese culture.
This was my first time to a Japanese temple and I thought that the buildings were amazing! This temple in particular was a very popular one. It has been burned down many times over the years and rebuilt. It is designated as a national treasure and is registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.
It was here that I saw, for the first time, girls dressed like geishas! These young ladies did not have the full geisha make up on but did have geisha clothing. There were many tourists at the temple and also local school children. I was delighted to see the school children in the uniforms that I only saw before in Anime cartoons.
After visiting the temple we headed back down the hill through the streets that housed stores with traditional Japanese items, souvenirs and food. My colleagues and I tried green tea ice cream for the first time. I was a bit skeptical at first but it wasn’t as I imagined it would taste. It definitely had the green tea taste but it made good for ice cream.
We decided to walk back to the train station instead of taking the bus back. It was a much longer walk than we thought but it was good since we got to see more of Kyoto. We took the train back to Osaka, did a little bit of explalking and headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest before our flight back home.
Here are 25 facts about Kyoto you may be interested in learning. Enjoy!