Kyoto was the capital city of Japan from 794-1869. It is a place where ancient traditions meet modern technology. Famous for it's vast arrays of Buddhist Temples, Shinto Shrines, Palaces, Traditional Houses, Kimonos, Arts, Crafts, Tofu, Green Tea, and Geisha. It also has some amazing modern buildings. A number of High Technology companies have their Headquarters in Kyoto such as Omron, Rohm Semiconductor, Kyocera, Murata Manufacturing, and Nintendo.
My aim is to provide you with images and information to help you make the most out of your visit to Kyoto.
I have lived in Kyoto prefecture since 2008. Prior to my move here I visited Kyoto as tourist in 1998, 2005, 2006 & 2007. While the majority of the photos I'm planning to post will come from 2008 onwards, occasionally I'll post some older photos.
Please note the Kyoto watermark will NOT appear on any Prints, Digital Stock or Gifts purchased. You are welcome to link to these images on your own BLOGS as long as they appear in the form they are displayed on this site with the watermark clearly shown to acknowledge where it comes from. If you wish to alter these images or display them without watermarks on your websites you MUST purchase digital stock.
Koyo in Arashiyama
With Koyo (Autumn/Fall colour change season) approaching in another 3 to 4 weeks in Kyoto. I though it was time for a Koyo image to whet the appetite. Today's photo is from Arashiyama an area to the North West of Kyoto where it is possible to step back in time and see a bit more of the traditional side of Japan. However it's quite easy to get to from the cities of Kyoto and Osaka, meaning that on weekends and national holidays it can get quite crowded. I find it's best if you want to really take in the scenery without the crowds to arrive early in the morning and leave at 10am! Although if your prepared to hike a bit further from the trains stations and away from the tourist strip you can still find places of tranquility at anytime of the day.
It's possible to take a special "Romanic Train" from Torokko Saga in Arashiyama to Kameoka then take a boat down the Hozu River back to Arashiyama. It's a very popular thing to do in the Cherry Blossom and Colour Change seasons. It's also possible just to get a boat from Arashiyama and cruise up the river a little and back again. The boats from Kameoka have to be returned their by truck as it's not possible for them to head all the way back to Kameoka on the river. Most locals I've spoken to say Arashiyama is better in the Colour Change season than in the Cherry Blossom season. I would say though there are things to see there at all times of the year, so it's worth placing it high on your itinerary when you visit Kyoto.
Access to Arashiyama: There are three railway lines going to Arashiyama the Hankyu Arashiyama Line, the Keifuku Arashiyama Line and the JR Sagano Line. The Hankyu Arashiyama Line is a good choice if your staying in South Western Kyoto Prefecture (like me) or for day tripping from Osaka or Kobe. The Keifuku Arashiyama Line is a very fun, but slow way to get there in it's light rail cars departing from Shijo-Omiya station in downtown Kyoto. If you're staying near Kyoto Station or Transferring from other parts of Japan via the Shinkansen or other long distance trains then the JR Sagano Line is the best option.
I've been to Arashiyama at all different times of the year, so I'm planning to share with you some more images of this wonderful location later on.
The image I'm sharing today was shot on Fujichrome Velvia 50 film with a Nikon F80 and a Nikon AF Nikkor 35f/2D lens.
Let's Start with Kinkaku-ji
Since it was one of the first places I visited in Kyoto.
Also know as the temple of the Golden Pavilion. Originally this place was a wealthy person's tea house, when he died he gave it over to become a temple. The main building is a modern reconstruction as the original was destroyed by fire. The current building has much more gold coating on it than the original.
This photo was from my visit to Kinkaku-ji in 2007 when I came here as a tourist. Since moving to Kyoto I've been back to Kinkakuji twice, however on both those times I was more busy showing friends around the temple than getting photos, so this photo is my favourite. I also went to this temple on my first visit to Kyoto in 1998, and got a few shots then with my trusty Canon Prima AF-7, I might post one or two of those sometime later.
This photo was taken with a Nikon D50 and a Sigma 10-20f/4-5.6 lens.
Ignore all the travel guides which tell you to catch a bus from Kyoto Station to this temple, you'll waste half your day on crowded buses. The quickest buses to Kinkaku-ji go from near Hankyu's Saiin Train Station or from near Nijo-jo Mae Station on the Subway.