Home – Blogs – 2018
All 2018 Thangka Art Blogs: Have a Buddhaful New Year | Bintan Island thangka course | The colors of Kyoto | Sacred Calligraphy in Japan | Staying in a Buddhist temple in Japan | Special workshop in Kyoto
Colors and impressions of Kyoto, Japan
Earlier this year I went on my very first trip to Japan, a very interesting country that I have been wanting to explore for a long time.
Kyoto was the capital of Japan for much of the country’s history (794 to 1868).
The photos below give a good impression of my experiences in Kyoto -a much larger city than I expected, and also less nice than I expected- and what it looks like today.
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Even though I stayed in Gion, the geisha district of Kyoto, real geishas can hardly be found anymore in Kyoto.
Due to the enormous growth of tourism in Japan in the past 5 years, real Geishas and Maikos (geisha in training) and can hardly walk the streets anymore, as they are immediately attacked by the cameras and tourists that are following them around.
The picture above of a Maiko was taken at a museum for Japanese culture where she offers a performance in dance, music and tea ceremony every now and then.
The pictures of the ninja and the lantern were taken in the food district in the heart of Kyoto.
My expectations of Kyoto were quite high, I had always imagined a beautiful small city with lots of authentic streets, temples and buildings and full of blossoming gardens and parks.
But I must say that I was quite disappointed when I finally spend some days in Kyoto, and that my expectations were waaaaaay too high….. The city is super large and very modern, even ugly looking, with hardly any trees or parks.
The temples that Kyoto is so famous for can be found on the outskirts of the city, but take a lot of time to travel to. The weather didn’t help either, as when I was there most of the days were rainy and very cold cold. I think if the weather is nice it might be good to rent a bicycle to see some of the temples.
So I was very pleased to accidentally stumble upon this beautiful little temple in between the ugly concrete buildings somewhere in the center of Kyoto – and as the rain had just stopped for a few minutes I think it made a great picture!
The ‘geishas’ that you do see wandering on the streets and at Kyoto’s temples are tourist -mostly Chinese girls- as there are lots of shops where you can rent a kimono and matching accessories for a ‘one day geisha’ experience. It does make some great pictures!
Kyoto is absolutely packed with large groups of Chinese people, that do not always act very respectfully towards the Japanese and their culture. This is currently a difficult and serious issue for the Japanese people that are known for their hospitality and respect towards others.