What to see in Kyoto, a 3-day tourist itinerary to discover the city of Japan, where old and new come together perfectly, but the tradition well rooted at the base of the deep cultural Geisha identity remains alive.
Kyoto offers a sophisticated blend of old and new in Japan, from the finely woven silk kimono to high-tech innovations, the city adapts in its own way and at its own pace.
Having escaped the destruction of the Second World War, Kyoto remains the cultural heart of the nation, with more than 2,000 temples and shrines and no less than 17 large UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the city.
The ancient festivals have been preserved and, despite the modernization, the conservation of the old wooden houses, the green hills and the mountains that surround the city, offer the visitor a clear impression of what is tradition in Japan and as such must be preserved.
The traditional artistic and cultural scene in Kyoto has remained well rooted in time, and the renewed interest, both local and international in the geisha tradition, has contributed to keeping much of the arts of the past alive.
The main tourist information office for the city of Kyoto is located on the second floor of the Kyoto Station Building, while the tourist information office for the entire Kyoto Prefecture is located on the ninth floor of the same building.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
This magnificent shrine is the most important and impressive of the many tens of thousands of Inari shrines in Japan.
It is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, and is guarded by fox statues, thought to be messengers of Inari.
It is not among the most impressive temples in Kyoto, but it is certainly fascinating and is widely considered a masterpiece of minimal elegance.Recommended readings
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The temple and the lovely garden that surrounds it combine to create an atmosphere that is both calm and gentle, offering a vision of natural harmony.
The path of philosophy, which leads along the tree-lined Sosui Canal from the Ginkakuji Temple to the Eikando Temple, offers a pleasant walk in a peaceful environment, especially in spring.
It is the main traditional entertainment of Kyoto and the Geisha district.
Here the past is alive in the arts and entertainment offered, rickshaws and geishas can still be seen at street level.
Gion Corner is a theater where tourists can experience a variety of traditional Japanese arts including Kyoto dance, tea ceremony, puppet show, Japanese harp and flower arrangement.
A scaled-down replica of Kyoto's first imperial palace, this shrine is still quite impressive, though perhaps not very exciting.
It was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the city.
The real attraction, however, is the garden at the back of the sanctuary.
It is well structured with a half-filled lake, a path with several pedestrian bridges crossing the lake, and a large variety of plants and trees along the way.
It is also known as the Golden Pavilion, in fact the exterior of the pavilion is covered with a thick layer of gold leaf.
It is located near the Ryoanji Temple in an area north-west of central Kyoto.
One of the most beloved temples of the Japanese nation, it is perched, apparently precarious, on a steep hill east of the city center.
The temple was founded as early as 798, although most of the current buildings date back to 1633.
It is a place that offers a splendid view of the city, in the rather crowded summer season so it is advisable to arrive early to avoid the crowd.
It was the residence of the imperial family of Japan until 1868, when Tokyo became the imperial capital.
The current palace, which is located in the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park, is a reconstruction dating back to 1855, as the old palace caught fire and was completely destroyed.
Visitors must complete a request at the headquarters of the Agency's Imperial House in order to participate in a guided tour of the building.
There are no restrictions on the use of the surrounding land, which is very pleasant to walk on foot.
A few steps south-west of the Kyoto Imperial Palace is Nijo Castle, built by Tokugawa Leyasu, founder of the Edo shogunate.
Famous for its Momoyama architecture, decorated interiors and beautiful decorations, this castle is one of the many Kyoto sites recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It contains a famous Zen garden, designed for contemplation and composed of raked sand interrupted by 15 rocks.