I had been to Osaka before (hence the few street shots of Osaka), but this was my first time in Kyoto - renown as one of the great cultural heritage sites in Japan. Not being a very cultured person (I'm more into shopping and eating ... how typically Singaporean I know!), I was expecting to be bored here. To my surprise, I found Kyoto a very charming place. I loved the quaint old streets, the geisha area, the lovely restaurants, and shops selling traditional Japanese handicrafts, delicacies, and shops catering to geisha's fashion necessities ... no wonder everyone I know who has been here loved it!
Here are some scenes from Kyoto:
An interesting shop selling some sort of Japanese style pancake. But what grabbed our attention was this:
I was snapping a photo of the traditional shops in the street of Kyoto when this very modern red Audi zipped past. What a contrast of old and new!
An old-fashioned postbox.
Hanami-koji - the geisha area. We were hoping to see some geishas, but alas spotted none. The area however, was so well preserved that we could easily imagine the geishas shuffling along these quaint streets in their slippers, popping in and out of the guesthouses.
On the grounds of a Japanese shrine/temple:
So lovely, serene and tranquil.
A lovely shop we would have missed had it not been my shopaholic tendency to peer into every shop possible. It was a shop within a shop. The outer shop nearest to the street carried more modern ready-made bags using their own Japanese fabrics. While the inner shop (past the beautiful courtyard) carried cloths which were knotted and folded into lovely traditional style bags.
The fabrics were so beautiful, with the gorgeous flowers reminiscent of those found on kimonos. I was sorely tempted to get one, but without a manual, I was totally clueless as to how to fold and knot one to transform that beautiful fabric into a bag I could actually use.
A shop selling shoes/slippers for geishas! I was surprised to see that they had a glossy base. Wouldn't that be slippery to wear? Especially with their special socks that was designed to separate the big toe from the rest in order to wear them with these slippers. And these slippers weren't cheap either, with a pair costing easily JPY10500.
Beautifully preserved old houses that have been transformed into shops, salons, restaurants (with some still being private residences) line the river bank:
Lovely old stone bridges (each having their own name) spanned this stream flowing down the side of this street. The trees were now bare, but I can imagine how picturesque this street must be when their leaves are green and the flowers are in full bloom.... sigh ...