By Abby Berman Mazenod
Kyoto is enchanting. This city’s natural and ancient beauty could not have stuck with me more. Fortunately, with only a weekend to enjoy this magical place, we were able to squeeze in as much sightseeing as humanly possible while still getting to enjoy some of the tastes and culture of the city. A two and 1/2 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, and you land in one of the coolest most modern train stations to ever exist, in the heart of one of the most ancient cities in the entire world. This is absolutely a destination that I need to visit again in the near future… one weekend just wasn’t enough!
Having been the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, this city has a very traditional conservative Japanese way about it. Women are seen dressed in the customary kimonos, and there are too many temples and gardens to count. For the ancient culture of Japan, this is the place to visit.
Niko Castle-The Shogun Temple
The first place on our sightseeing tour was the Shogun Temple. This was the residence of the first know shogun in Japan. Thought the actual exhibits were closed, the outside view was pretty marvelous!
This is a zen temple covered entirely in gold. It is incredible! This experience was actually what I had expected to see when visiting Kyoto. The calming spiritual environment is what anyone would imagine of ancient Japan. The surrounding pond and gardens are beautiful and enormous (my husband and I actually got lost wile wandering through them). We finished off our visit with some super tasty green tea soft serve!
Ryōan-ji-The Famous Zen Rock Garden
I had read that this garden was a bit unexciting… yup… they were right. I had seen pictures of it because it’s so famous. Although it was interesting to see it in person, I can’t say it was exactly thrilling. This was the only temple we went inside of when we visited Kyoto, and that part was really cool and exciting! Any time I can have an inside view of such a devout aspect of a culture, I am all in! The outside gardens were very pretty… but I am still not exactly sure why the rock garden is so famous. (Explain it to me in the comments if you have the time and knowledge 🙂 )
The Bamboo Forest
My favorite place that we visited in Kyoto was the Bamboo Forest! This overwhelming ocean of bamboo is an experience that I’ll never stop dreaming about. It is a perfect creation of nature and a safe haven of greenery that would be impossible not to fall in love with. I miss the Bamboo Forest.
The city itself is so magical and has so much to offer! We found great restaurants, bars, shopping, and the cultural element is intoxicating.
I could not miss this perfectly magical city more. The culture and history, the restaurants and shopping, the beautiful people full of such kindness. I can’t wait to go back! If you’re visiting soon, you can fully expect an incredible adventure!
Happy travels and best wishes!