Unique Places in Kyoto

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by toonsarah
  • Kumano Shrine
    Kumano Shrine
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Kumano Shrine
    Kumano Shrine
    by Jim_Eliason

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Kyoto

  • A lifetime experience!

    by Giedreb Written May 28, 2014

    Kurama Onsen - after a few days of intensive sightseeing in Kyoto we had a relaxing day in the natural springs Spa. It has two type of onsen - one indoors and the other under the open sky with the view to the mountain. We visited this place in the beginning of April during the Sakura blooming season.The relaxing effect of warm water and the surrounding scenery gave us a memorable experience of Japanese hospitality :)

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    Nonomiya Shrine

    by toonsarah Written Dec 18, 2013

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    Strolling back to the main road of Arashiyama from the bamboo grove our attention was caught by some pictures on the fence to our left of a shrine and wooded garden. We turned in to investigate and found ourselves in a small shrine tucked among the trees. There was no entry gate and no admission fee – this seemed to be more a place of worship than a tourist sight, though it was crowded with Japanese visitors doing a bit of both. We made the suggested donation of 100¥ for a small leaflet (all in Japanese but with pretty pictures) and also threw some coins into a bowl at the shrine. We strolled around and took some photos (as everywhere in Japan we found that the locals had no concerns about us doing so), and admired the pretty moss garden in particular. Later, back home, I read up all about our “discovery”.

    Nonomiya literally means a “field palace” and there were once several shrines with this name, each of which served the same purpose. In the past there was a custom for one of the Imperial princesses to be selected to serve the god of Ise-jingu, the most sacred Shinto Shrine, where only a relative of the Japanese Imperial family could be a high priest or priestess. Once selected, she would undergo a one year period of purification inside the Imperial Palace, and would then move here to the Nonomiya-jinja for a further three years of purification. Only after this long period was she able to go to Ise-jingu.

    Several gods are enshrined at Nonomiya. One of them is a god of marriage and another is a god of an easy delivery. It is no doubt to these gods that the many young women we saw here were praying.

    With more time to spare in Kyoto I would have happily spent a whole day in Arashiyama, but there were other sights on my must-see list and so, somewhat regretfully, we left at lunch time on the Randen Railway.

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    In the back streets of Kyoto

    by toonsarah Written Dec 18, 2013

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    When we got off the Randen Railway train at Ryoanji-michi we found that we had to walk through some residential streets for about 10/12 minutes or so in order to reach the main road. For us, on our first visit to Japan, everything was interesting. Several of the houses had small private shrines in their front gardens such as the one in my second photo. And many of the gardens were very nicely designed and immaculately kept, though small.

    The first stretch led along a street of local shops – this one selling fish for instance. And I also liked the stone posts in photo three but have no idea if they are directional or religious in purpose – can anyone enlighten me?

    Image four shows the route we took (it’s a screenshot, so I apologise for the poor quality). The first (southern) part was where we saw the shops whereas the more northerly part was residential. At the point where you come out on the main road you have to walk down a little path. This brings you out on the main road just a few metres to the west of Ryoan-ji Temple, our destination.

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    Kitchen Mariko: classes for japanese cooking

    by ketaru Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I really like japanese food. And I don't mean sushi, but everyday dishes you eat at home or at an "izakaya". So I was very happy to learn how to make dashi-maki-tamago (egg-roll) and other everyday japanese meals ("o-banzai" or "o-souzai") at Kitchen Mariko.

    The classes are held in English, and Mariko explains also important points that you cannot read in any cookbook.

    I got a copy of the recipes so that I was able to cook these delicious meals at home later. I even bought a frypan for dashimaki-tamago at Tokyu Hands!

    Mariko explaining how to roast sesame
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    Toei Movie Land

    by tompt Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Toei Movie Land is an amusement park about film making. Often real samurai movies are shot here. There are really nice shows, which make you understand more about the japanese samurai film. The ninja show was only in japanese and not like we are used to. So we laughed at the wrong times and missed a few crucial texts. But we learned a lot about japanese humor, and ended up with this picture of our group with the ninja´s.

    More info:
    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/moreattract.cfm?a_id=23819¨
    address: 10 Higashi-Hachigaokacho

    Samurai show in Toei Movie land

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    Goyozaka area

    by Gili_S Written Feb 5, 2010

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    The Goyozaka area and street are not that of the beaten path, it is actually rather known to be a place to stroll around and inspect the architecture and small shops around. It is certainly gaining popularity and business developed to be a crowded place in the coming years. I added here 4 interesting images of this area.

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    Maiko/Geiko for a day

    by sandrafiza Written Jan 15, 2009

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    I went to this shop near Kiyomizu-dera Temple to dress as Maiko. The name of the shop is Studio Shiki. They have two shop - you can check the website for the shop details. I love the experience so much and I love the kimono that I choose. The kimono has a beautiful painting on it but a bit heavy. As an Asian, our skin is a bit dark but it does not show at all, except for my hand. And everybody was surprise when I told him or her that is I. This make me happy knowing that the transformation is a success and I did not waste my money.

    The price is not that expensive and compare to the other shop that you can find in the Internet, this shop offer the best rate. Plus the shop is on your way to Kiyomizu-dera temple. Since everybody will go to Kiyomizu if you go to Kyoto, why not stop by at this shop.

    Please give a try if you have a chance. The experience and memory is price less.

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    Look at the bald spot of the mountain in Kyoto!

    by joiwatani Written Dec 28, 2008

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    If you look closely to the mountain of Kyoto, you will see that there are some Japanese characters on the spot that was denuded. Do you know what this is?

    This is where the residents of Kyoto put tons of firewoods and light them on August 16. The festival is called Gozan Okuribi. This is the lighting fires on mountains to guide the spirits home.

    You have to look closely at the picture because it is hard for me to take a good shot between the two buildings. The picture was taken close to the bus stop on our way back to the hotel.

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    Easy Climb to Mt. Daimonji

    by Kyoto_boy1978 Written Nov 20, 2008

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    If you get sick and tired of seeing temple and shrines but still have plenty of time before leaving, how about trying an easy hike to the peak of Mt.Daimonji? This 466-meter mountain is most famous for its annual okuribi fire festival at August 16th, but it's also a very poplar hiking spot among the local people.

    Starting point is about 20 meters north of Ginkakuji temple. The climb is quite easy. You will reach its top with "Dai" only in half an hour. From there, you can enjoy panoramic view of the entire city.@

    view from the top of Mt.Daimonji kids collecting ash after Okuribi fire festival.
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    There's a cemetary at the left side of the temple!

    by joiwatani Updated Nov 12, 2008

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    My sisters and I were walking towards the bathroom at the Kiyumisudara Temple, when we saw police officers running towards an aisle. There were also people running towards us. We did'nt really know what as going on. There was no chasing or anything involved so w didn't panic.

    We followed the small aisle until we realized that it was leading us to a cemetary! Obviously, we didn't intend to go there but, it was kind of fascinating to see the different headstones in a Japanese cemetary. We kind of sneek in. We didn't know whethe we were allowd there or not. The cemetary was actually different. It was just something that we saw that was kind of out of the ordinary on our tour of the temple.

    %cgThe path leading to the cemetary at the temple %cgThe Kiyumisadara Temple at a distance %cgOne of the many structures at the temple %cgMore buildings at the temple grounds %cgAt the midst of the crowd at the temple%c*
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    Check out the love hotels

    by yukisanto Written Feb 1, 2007

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    Love hotels are usually situated along the freeway, so if you see a cluster of buildings with fancy neon signs and advertising for hourly rests, you're there. There are different kinds, check out the ones with themes like hello kitty etc. Makes for fun exploring. The hotels are totally operated with no human personnel. You drive into the carpark, adn each lot has a panel of a picture of a room. If it is lighted and the lot is empty, the room is empty. You park there and go up the door beside that lot. If there's another car parked there, the panel is darkened.

    Other love hotels have the usual lobby with the lighted panels. They also have a loyalty card programme with points reward system, and if you go often enough, you can even redeem a Gucci bag. Hmm...

    We never went into one, but judging from the pictures on the panel, most were quite normal, not the interesting rooms that i've heard bout.. lol

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    Go to a spa

    by yukisanto Updated Feb 1, 2007

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    Near Kyoto, in Sonobe there is a Rurikei Spa. Not an onsen but same concept (See my sonobe page for explanation) You can take a 2D1N package, with dinner and breakfast thrown in and it's really good. They even have a shuttle bus service from the train station. For me it costs around SGD120.

    Directions: Take a JR train from Kyoto station to Sonobe station. Once there, a pre-arranged shuttle bus will pick you up.

    What to do for the spa area:
    Go to the counter, they will give you a locker key, a set of clothes, a swimsuit, and 2 towels. Go into the changing room (separate for guys and gals from this point onwards), put your own clothes into the locker room and one towel into the locker. Walk into the pool area with the small towel, go to the corner where everyone is sitting along the wall on stools and fine one empty spot and do your own bathing. After you have bathed, you go to the warm pool to soak, then the hot pool, then the cold room, then the sauna if you want. no particular order actually.

    No swimsuit needed unless you are going out into the outdoor pool area where both men and women are there. The indoor pools are separated. Everyone I saw was in the nude.

    Outdoor pool area Entrance to Rurikei Spa Wearing a yukata at the place Our appetizer dish for dinner Indoor pool area

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    Shosei-in Gardens, a k a Kikoku-tei

    by Pixiekatten Updated Nov 19, 2006

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    I stumbled upon this garden on my way from my guest house (K's House) one day. Beautiful little garden well worth a visit. Just watch out for the bees ;) (See pic.)

    Make sure to register at entry and give a donation! I wandered right in slightly confused and got chased after by the guard.

    Address:
    Shimojuzuyamachi
    A short distance east of Higashi Honganji temple to which it belongs.

    10min walk from Kyoto station
    5 min walk from city bus stop
    7 min walk from Gojo-eki subway station

    Shosei-in Gardens II. Shosei-in Gardens. Shosei-in Gardens III.
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    Kyoto in April

    by qiuxy Written Sep 7, 2006

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    We lived in a traditional japanese hotel called Luo Cui which only offers 8 rooms for maximum 32 guests. Hotel has a small Garden with exquisite landscape which is visible from all rooms. Room service is awesome and dinner is served in our room. Our room is around 15 square meters having the function of living room, dinning room & Bedroom. *-* We slept on the floor with comfortable mattress underneath called Tatami in Japanese. It's said that this kind of hotel is much more expensive than that of modern style in Japan.

    Luo Cui Hotel Room

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    Try on a Kimono or Hakama.

    by vic&michael Updated Jun 28, 2006

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    Dress up in Traditional Japanese Kimono or Men's Hakama!
    It's fun, and it really put me in a good athmosphere to eat Kaiseki Ryori (10 course traditional meal!) : )
    If you can afford to, you should also eat Kaiseki Ryori, found at Japanese Hotels, and Ryokan. Meal may cost between $150-300 USD per person though. There are many courses of small, beautifully presented traditionally cooked Japanse food, using the freshest ingredients. At first, you may think, "I'm gonna need to pop round to Mc Ds after this!" but by the last dish, you will feel SO full, and surprised that you had a good time chatting in-between the many courses, and that so many small dishes made you so full!

    It's me in the photo with my tea ceremony teacher, I'm already Asian, so I guess I look Japanese in the Kimono : )

    Kimono Kaiseki Ryori Kaiseki Ryori dishes
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Kyoto Off The Beaten Path

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