Cherry blossoms (sakura) are called the symbol of Japanese culture, and have been composed in many tankas (Japanese poems) from old times. From March to April, when the news of cherry blossoms flowering is received from south, people travel from all over Japan to see cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms are in bloom in a short period, only 5 days. Kyoto has many good sights for sakura viewing, for example:
- Kyoto Imperial Palace Park -
Kyoto Imperial Palace can be reached in about 10 minutes from Kyoto Station by the Karasuma Subway Line. Get off at Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station.
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple -
Kiyomizudera can be reached from Kyoto Station in about 15 minutes by bus. Take bus number 100 or 206 and get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Gojo-zaka, from where it is a 10-15 minute uphill walk to the temple.
- Heian-jingu Shrine -
From JR Kyoto Station take City Bus 5 to "Kyoto Kaikan Bijitusu-kan Mae".
10 min walk from "Higashi-yama" Tozai line subway stop.
- Maruyama Park -
Maruyama Park can be reached by bus from Kyoto Station in about 20 minutes. Take number 100 and 206 and get off at Gion bus stop. The park is just behind Yasaka Shrine.
- Along Kamogawa -
Gion Corner Traditional...
Gion Corner Traditional Japanese Arts Theatre is a bit expensive at 2800 yen ($27) but worth the price if you are interested in the culture of this country.
Included in the performances are tea ceremony, women playing the koto (Japanese 'harp'), geisha moving with rhythms of Kyomai (Kyoto style dance). Flash photos are allowed. As in most public places, being dressed up is preferred.
The best fried chicken in Japan
The ambiance at the takeout window is pleasant enough. Initially I thought the food looked overpriced, but it's actually a great deal considering the abnormally huge portions. I love からあげ (karaage - Japanese fried chicken) so I always have some wherever I go and this is by far the best. They sliced and fried the chicken right after I ordered it and piled so much in the plastic container that it wouldn't close. The fried chicken lunch box costs 750 and is actually two boxes, one for the rice, and one for the chicken. Salad is also included.
"First temple on the left"
Higashi-HonJi temple is the first one I came across as I walked through Kyoto, just a couple of blocks north from the station.
Only its 2 main halls are open to the public (but it is free entrance), but they count among the nation's largest wooden buildings.
For the main hall, ordinary ropes proved too weak to hoist the roof beams. Female subjects sent in enough hair to put together 53 large ropes, some of which sit encased for show inside.
KYOTO IMPERIAL PALACE
KYOTO PALACE was teh Imperial Palace of Japan in eth EDO Period 1603- 1868.
It is still used for Imperial functions.
Access is restricted and there specific rules for tourists ( ie. 10:00 am to 2:00 pm) . Check before you go or take a tour which will have obtained proper clearances.
Access to buildings is not permitted so a tour is a walk around the central core of buildings.
Interseting but , at say 12:30 , on a hot and humid August day the blazing sun tests your endurance.