At the former capital of Japan, Kyoto, a historical city with more than 2,000 temples it was a destination we had to visit.
There are so many sights to see and with so little time. We picked Kinkaku-ji the Golden Pavilion located in the North. The beautiful zen temple reflected it's golden colours across the large pond and it's gold leaf exterior reflecting off from the rippling water pond. It makes a picturesque backdrop in snowy weather or against a lush green background, it is undeniably one of the most stunning and oldest temples dating back to the 14th Century.
At Gion, the sighting of women wearing kimonos or yukatas amongst the persevered buildings of old, certainly gave a feeling of being transported back in time. It was great to see so many people (tourists and locals alike) embracing the traditional clothes. Kyoto preserves its historical charm and beauty in its buildings, temples, parks, and it's wooden houses.
As mentioned in my previous post (click *here* to read about my experience on Kyoto by night) geisha and maiko have a strong presence here and although they do not generally like their picture taken, they can be seen often wandering the back streets or from one tea house to another, and once they are spotted, there is usually a large paparazzi entourage of tourists trying to capture a fascinating shot of the beautifully traditional yet quite mysterious beings. The picture we captured below is an example of tourists dressing up as geishas and they are common to see. Real Geisha and Maiko have subtle differences to differentiate the two. Usually, the quickest way to determine whether you are seeing a real Geisha or Maiko is the make up on the nape of the neck and the hairpiece and accessories that is used and also, the way they tie their bows on the back of their kimonos.
We also visited another of Kyoto's top sights - Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. It certainly feels like you re in another world, standing amid the soaring tall stalks of bamboo. For an insight into the Japan's most otherworldly bamboo forest, click **here** for my blog post as how I captured the magic of this place.