Kyoto: The Icon of Japanese Culture

27, Apr 2022 |

If one ever does end up foraging the streets of Japan’s cultural capital, the locations below are a staple to extraordinarily experience the city

The culture of Japan needs no introduction, yet one barely hears a peep of the illustrious location that is Kyoto. Kyoto is the centre of Japanese traditions and culture, including the nation's deep affinity with Buddhism. Moreover, the city hosts multiple Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, exuberant palaces and gardens out of which a few have been enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 


If one ever does end up foraging the streets of Japan’s cultural capital, the locations below are a staple to extraordinarily experience the city.


Yasaka Pagoda



Yasaka-no-to, also known as the Hokan-Ji Temple is a 46-metre tall pagoda style temple that lies amidst Kiyomizu-Dera. Lying in the middle of the ancient Kyoto neighbourhood, the Yasaka Pagoda’s foundation dates back to the 7th century. The temple is architecturally elegant with roofs sloping over each tier of the pagoda. The temple is dedicated to the five great Nyorai: Dainchu Nyorai, Shaka Nyorai, Amida Nyorai, Hosho Nyorai and Ashuku Nyorai.


Fushimi Inari Gates






The Fushimi Inari Gates stand at the entrance of an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. The bright vermilion torii gates chaperone a trail through the wooded forest encapsulating the sacred Mount Inari. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. The fox is known to be Inari’s messengers, which is why many fox statues reside across the shrine grounds. Although renowned for its 10,000 gates, there are 32,000 in total. The vermillion tinge to the torii represents the sun according to the priests at the shrine. 





Kiyomizudera translates to "Pure Water Temple" is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan. It was founded in 780 on the wooded hills east of Kyoto next to the Otowa Waterfall and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. The temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Renowned for the wooden stage that hangs over the main hall, the Kiyomizudera offers a beautiful view of the numerous cherry and maple trees. Erupting into a sea of vibrant colours in spring and fall, the beautiful does cascade into the city of Kyoto in the distance. The temple houses a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand-armed Kannon, which is the temple's primary object of worship.


Arashiyama Bamboo Grove



The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is located west of downtown Kyoto and is one of the most popular sightseeing areas in Japan. The grove of tall, bamboo plants towers over a paved path, known as the famous, “Bamboo Alley”. Although the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove consists of two separate thickets, it unites as one unique destination. The length of the grove is 500 m while the width lies at 140m. Within this grove lies the grounds Tenryu-Ji Temple, which is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful Buddhist temples





The Ninenzaka is a stone-paved pedestrian road in Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto. This 150m cobbled road is a major tourist attraction as it preserves the intricate history and tradition of Kyoto. Lined with shophouses and traditional buildings, Ninenzaka is a breath of fresh air and the modernity of the urban cityscape. However, one might find themselves surprised by a Starbucks coffeehouse that has cleverly camouflaged into a two-storey, Japanese townhouse.


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