What to Expect
Tour Time Table -sample-
8:00-8:20 Kyoto Station
8:30-9:30 Fushimi Inari Shrine
10:00-12:00 Imperial Palace
1:30-3:00 Kenninji Temple***
--Modern period and Japan's Industrialisation--
The tour starts at Kyoto station which represents the modern period of Japans history. Kyoto station has been repeatedly rebuilt over the last 140 years during Japan's history of industrialisation. Compared to previously built Kyoto stations, the present station that you will be seeing has an absolute modern style. One of Japan's leading architect, Hiroshi Hara who designed this station has been at the center of a cultural argument; "Is this station suitable for Kyoto which is supposed to be part of Japan's traditional beauty?"
Let's take a walk through the huge station building and discuss what Hiroshi Hara wanted to express by building the entrance of Kyoto like this.
2. Fushimi Inari Shrine
--Ancient time and Shintoism--
We will take a 10 minute JR train to get to the next destination, Fushimi Inari Shrine, which represents ancient period of Japanese history.
You probably know that Buddhism is very popular in Japan. However, before Buddhism existed, there has been a concept in Japan that there are many deities in nature all around us such as mountains, rocks, rivers, and rice. This concept is called Shintoism which is a very important concept to understand Japanese culture in addition to Buddhism.
The deity of rice, whose name is "Inari," is one of the most popular deities among local Japanese people. In fact, there are more than 30,000 shrines that enshrine Inari all across Japan.
Fushimi Inari Shrine, our second destination, is the head of all those shrines. The significant feature of this shrine is thousands of Torii gates, which are red coloured gateways composed of two uprights and two crosspieces. Why are there so many Torii gates? I will tell you more about it on my tour!
After Fushimi Inari shrine, we will take a 30 minute train and subway ride to our third destination, the Imperial Palace, which represents the emperor's and noblemen's prosperity. Since the 8th century, the emperor and noblemen had been a strong influence in the nation until the Samurai warrior overtook them.
Emperor and noblemen lived a lavish lifestyle, wearing gorgeous clothes, surrounded by sophisticated finishings, spending time playing music or reading poems...
The Imperial palace is one of the very rare places where you can see the housing style of this period. The architectural style called "Sinden-zukuri"
After the Imperial Palace we will take a lunch break for about one hour.
Soba, Ramen, Kaiseki, cutlet, Japanese curry, Tofu and so on...
I have many restaurants to recommend and if you have any request I will arrange that for you!
5. Kenninji Temple
--Period of Samurai warriors and Zen buddhism--
After lunch, we will take a 20 minute bus ride and a 10 minute walk to get to the third destination, Kenninji temple. The temple represents the period of the Samurai warriors prosperity.
Samurai warriors who were originally servicemen for noblemen, gradually became powerful and took control of the country by forming its own military government called Bakufu in the 12th century. Along with the Samurai class, the new type of Buddhism called Zen became popular. Bakufu started to build huge Zen temples everywhere in order to show their power and influence. Kenninji Temple is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto city!
Zen temples tend to have significant features such as Sanmon gate, zen style rock gardens, and dragon paint on the ceiling. In Kenninji temple you will be able to see all of those and I will explain why those features are so important.
This is the end of my Time Travel Tour in Kyoto!
Of course, this tour can be organised to fit your needs.
Please share with me your requests and I will do my best to arrange that for you!