Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city on the island of Honshu. It is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, and traditional wooden houses.
The city is also known for its traditions, for example, the kaiseki dinner, which consists of many dishes prepared according to precise rules, and the geishas, which entertain women who are mainly located in the district of Gion. In the city, as indeed all over Japan, it is easy to find temples of extraordinary beauty with charm and history.
Among these temples we find today what is called the “Golden Pavilion” or Kinkakuji which is a Zen temple north of Kyoto whose two upper floors are completely covered with gold leaves.
Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. Kinkakuji was the inspiration for the name of the Ginkakuji temple (Pavilion of Silver), built by the grandson of Yoshimitsu, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, on the other side of the city, a few decades later.
Another temple is the Toji which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Kyoto; its name literally means “eastern temple” or “east temple” by virtue of its location; in fact, it was built on the east side of the main entrance of the city in opposition to its twin temple, the Saiji Temple (which means “western temple” or “west temple”), which unfortunately no longer exists today. These were the temples guarding the capital.
Another masterpiece is the Byodoin, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Byodo-in temple is perhaps the most loved temple by the Japanese who consider it the symbol of the country so much to portray it on the 10 Yen coins.
Byodo-in is home to two Buddhist schools, Jodo-Shu, also known as Pure Land Buddhism, and Tendai-shu. It is a truly magical place full of symbolic meanings and wonderful natural elements that will drag you into the vortex of Japanese culture..
How to get to kyoto
Kyoto does not have an airport, but is served by Kansai International Airport. To reach Kyoto from the airport there are various means. The first one is J “R Haruka Limited Express” and it is a direct line to be preferred, which in 85 minutes takes you to Kyoto, then there is “JR Kansai Airport Rapid” train connecting the airport to Tennoji or Osaka station (according to the timetable).
If the train arrives in Tennoji you will have to take the Osaka circular line and get off at Osaka Station and then take the train to Kyoto; another method from the airport is “Nankai” Rap: t “+ Subway + JR Kyoto Line” The train connects the airport to Namba (Osaka) station. From here you have to take the subway to Umeda and then take the train to Kyoto. Another alternative is “Nankai Airport Express + Subway + Hankyu Railways”. Take the train to Tengachaya Station and then take the subway (Sikaisuji line) to Awaji. . From here, take the Hankyu train to Kawaramachi station in Kyoto, in the Gion district. The Kyoto Access Ticket can be purchased and includes these three trains. This special ticket can only be purchased at the airport.
You can still go to Kyoto with “Nankai Airport Express + Subway + Keihan Railways”. Take the train to Tengachaya Station (930 Yen) and then take the subway (Sikaisuji line) to Kitahama. . From here, take the Keihan train to Gion-Shijo in Kyoto. Alternatively, taxis are of course the best way to get to Kyoto, although they are not recommended due to the high price or “The limousine bus” which takes about 100 minutes.
If you are in Tokyo, the most comfortable means of transport is the Shinkansen, the high-speed train that connects Tokyo station to Kyoto station in 2 hours and 15 minutes. An alternative to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto is the night bus.