Jason in Japan

March Trip

March 20-28, 2006
Tokyo Kamakura Kyoto Nara Eiheiji

Kyoto - Part One

March 22, 2006

We arrived at Kyoto Station at about 6:30 in the morning. After dropping our stuff off at the hotel (just a few blocks from the station), we found a place to get some coffee and breakfast, then headed to the post office near the station to exchange some traveller's cheques. We had some time to kill before the post office opened, so we went back to the station to have a look around. Kyoto Station is a very impressive, modern structure, and is definitely the most striking of all the ones I've seen in Japan so far. It actually stands in rather stark contrast with most of the city, which is otherwise famous for preserving traditional Japanese culture and architecture.

Higashi Honganji

Higashi Honganji

Our first sightseeing stop of the day was Higashi Honganji. This temple — founded about 400 years ago (and rebuilt in 1895) — was just a block away from our hotel. After our first day in hectic Tokyo, quite a few train rides and the long overnight bus trip to Kyoto, we both needed a moment to relax, so we stopped in at the main hall for a short meditation session.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market

Next, we wandered toward Nishiki, a covered market that spans across several blocks. It's packed full of fresh fish, meat, vegetables, and all kinds of other stuff, and the aromas in the air change drastically from one storefront to the next. The lighting is a little bit dim, and many of my photos turned out blurry, so I've only posted a few here.


Teramachi and Shinkyogoku

Nishiki eventually meets with Teramachi, one of two long, covered shopping streets that run parallel (the other being Shinkyogoku). Teramachi is Kyoto's electronics district, while Shinkyogoku is full of clothing stores, but both streets also have many restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment such as pachinko and karaoke, and plenty of other stores. They're connected at several junctions, and together make up a semi-outdoor mall that becomes packed every afternoon and evening (and all day on weekends, of course). Lending the streets an unmistakable "Kyoto" touch are several shrines and temples that are tucked in between the stores.

Kyoto Pages