If you want to experience Old Japan atmosphere, Kyoto is the best fit for you! My sister and I went to Osaka & Kyoto from January 6th and January 10th this year. As my sister wants to see more cosmopolitan atmosphere in Japan, she wasn’t interested in visiting Kyoto as much as I was. However, after this day trip, she also fell in love with Kyoto.
I recommend to spend at least one night. There are many attractions that Kyoto offers! Kyoto would be beautiful in any season but I wish I could visit there again in Spring when there are a lot of cherry blossoms.
As we planned a day trip, we had to be efficient as possible. So we left our airbnb place in Osaka around 7am. We took the train from Shin Osaka station for about one hour. It was not bullet train so it was a good chance to see suburban area around Osaka and Kyoto. After arriving at Kyoto Central station, we got Kyoto bus pass for one day and it costs Y500. In Kyoto, although there’s a subway, the most convenient way to explore is taking bus. Our first destination is Kiyoumizu-dera and the bus heading there was really crowded with tourists.
We took the bus for 15 minutes and got to the street heading to the destination. You have to walk a bit to go to the Kiyomizu-dera temple. The old streets to Kiyomizudera are called Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka.
<Sannen-zaka-there are a lot of souvenir shops and snack bars>
<Random streets along the way>
Sannen-zaka and ninnen-zaka are full of shops with pretty Japanese souvenirs and snacks and it was so tempting that we wanted to get all the stuffs!
Then, we got to Kiyomizu-dera!
This would be one of the first buildings that you will encounter after you passed the entrance. It’s quite interesting to see the way they painted the temple buildings. Usually, Koreans don’t paint wooden part of the building in buddiest temple in this orage-ish color. It was a little strange for me but it also very distinctive, or different from other countries in East Asia.
On the side part of the temple, you can also see there are some indigenous Japanese culture ingrained with Buddhist culture. In the first picture, you can see traditional Japanese shrine entrance. In the second picture, there is a small spot that you can pray for your well-being and there are two foxes instead of buddism statue.
This is inside of the main hall in the temple. It might be the oldest architect in the temple. So, I was curious how old Kiyomizu-dera is. What I found about it is that Kiyomizu-dera is about 1,200 years old! According to what I googled, Kiyomizu-dera was founded in the early Heian period in 778 and its present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered bythe third shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty. Believe it or not,there is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.
In Kiyomizu-dera, there were a lot of young Japanese people wearing Kimono,traditional Japanese garment. I used to have Korean traditional outfit when I was really young but now I don’t have it. Someday, I would wanna walk around old part of Seoul wearing the traditional outfit.
This is how main building looks like. There is an interesting story about this building. The popular expression “to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu” is the Japanese equivalent of the English expression “to take the plunge”.This refers to an Edo period tradition that held that, if one were to survive a 13m jump from the stage, one’s wish would be granted. 234 jumps were recorded in the Edo period and, of those, 85.4% survived. I was a little bit tempted to try to make my wishes come true but the practice is now prohibited.
And here is the picture taken in November from Wikipedia. Maple trees really go well with this building! Unluckily, this perfect spot is now under construction so I had to take the picture of it in different angle.
On the way down back to Sannen-zaka and Ninnen-zaka, you can see how building were able to be constructed without single nails.
Along the way down, there was a water fountain. A lot of people from many parts of the world were queuing to drink some sips of this water. You know, who doesn’t want to be lucky? I guess that is one of the most universal aspects.
Then, my sister and I met these three cute stone family with cute red aprons. And the middle one got a red hat,too! What a fashionista 🙂
We arrived back to Sannen-zaka and Ninnen-zaka and we had some souvenir shopping time. Afterward, we headed to Gion street for lunch.
[To be continued]