Kyoto has been the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years. Meanwhile, not only nobles, including Emperors and royal families but also samurais, especially Shoguns, used to have a deep relationship with Kyoto. With this tour, you can visit gorgeous castles and temples founded by powerful Shoguns of different eras and learn about Kyoto and Japan’s history.
Kyoto also prospered as capital, then the traditional and unique culture, including geishas and a row of townhouses has very well preserved. By visiting the world-famous Gion, you can experience traditional Japanese heritage. This tour starts a little bit early in the morning but enables you to enjoy your day comfortably, avoiding crowds.
In 1603, the shogun relocated his shogunate to Edo, present-day Tokyo. Nijo Castle was built as the castle where the shogun stayed when visiting Kyoto. Inside the castle, there are more than 1,000 gorgeous and unique pictures painted on sliding doors giving you an understanding of the powerful authority of the shogun. It was in this very castle that the last shogun declared to return the power to the Emperor in 1867, after 260 years of his family’s governance. The garden with bonsai-like figured pine trees and rocks in various shapes is outstanding.
This famous Zen temple built in 1397 by 3rd Shogun of Ashikaga shogunate is an icon of Samurai culture and one of the must-sees in Kyoto. The combination of the golden pavilion and its shiny reflection on the pond keeps mesmerizing visitors.
In Kyoto, there are five Kagai (geisha districts), and Gion is the biggest one among those. Geishas are an important part of traditional Japanese culture as they are well trained professional performers and successors. Let’s stroll around Gion district where a row of beautiful, old-style houses are still preserved. If you are lucky enough, you may encounter Geiko or Maiko(apprentices) dressed in gorgeous kimono.
Situated in Gion area, this temple was founded by 3rd Shogun of Kamakura shogunate as the first zen temple in Kyoto. It dates back to 1202. There are two things here not to be missed.
One is its dry garden designed by Kumakichi Kato in 1940 which expresses the wabi-sabi aesthetic sense in Japanese art centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.
The other is a picture of powerful twin dragons painted on the ceiling of the main hall as can be seen in other zen head temples too. They are believed to protect Buddhism. As the painting was so large, it took the painter Junpei Koizumi almost two years to complete it.
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