|The sightseeing center of Kyoto, preserving a variety of architecture and gardens, as well as many cultural masterpieces.
The eastern part of Kyoto is generally called Higashiyama, located at the west end of the Higashiyama Mountain Range. As early as the middle of the 14th century, many shrines, temples and aristocrats' villas were built in this area, where a variety of architecture and gardens, artistic and cultural masterpieces such as paintings, crafts and many artistic activities, such as flower arrangement (ikebana), the tea ceremony (sado) and Noh performances, flourished and developed in this area. There are many masterpieces of historic architecture still existing today, which attract a lot of visitors and tourists every year from every corner of the world.
In the southern part of the Higashiyama district, there is a famous temple named Kiyomizu-dera Temple. It is built halfway up a steep cliff and it has a main hall projecting over a precipice. Yasaka-jinja Shrine, which is supposed to have been built around the 10th century, is also well known as the central site of the Gion-matsuri summer festival.
The northern part of the city is known for the Heian-jingu Shrine, where the Jidai-matsuri (Festival of the Ages) autumn festival is held. This is a costume parade presenting costumes, manners and customs from ancient days. This red-painted shrine is colored with Hekiruri (an earthen roof material burned with a green-color glaze) making this structure very graceful. Nanzenji Temple, which flourished in the Momoyama Period in the late 16th century, boasted the highest status amongst the temples of that age. The temple appears in the famous Kabuki play "Sanmon gosan no kiri" with the speech "Zekkei kana, zekkei kana" (What a superb view! What a superb view!). The temple owns numerous excellent properties, such as the 22 meter-high Sanmon Gate (main gate), the 124 fusuma (sliding door) paintings by the Kano Family and the Ho-jo (the abbot's living quarters), a national treasure, which was built when Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace) was transferred and altered. There is a promenade called Tetsugaku-no-komichi (the Path of Philosophy) extending from Nanzenji Temple to Ginkakuji Temple. In Ginkakuji Temple, there is a Chisen-kaiyu style garden (wet strolling garden), which is structured in a sophisticated style representing the Japanese sense of art, and is designated a World Cultural Heritage site.
How to get there?
25 minutes from Shin-Osaka by JR Tokaido-Line. To Kiyomizu-dera temple a 15-minute bus ride, getting off at Gojosaka bus stop. To Heianjingu Shrine, half an hour's bus ride from Kyoto Station, getting off at Kyoto Kaikan Museum bus stop.