If you take a walk into Kyoto, you will be able to almost feel the city go through its eleven centuries of Japanese history. This place used to be the home to the imperial court. Through the years it was also a center for religion, art, culture, music, theater and dance. Most of this happened and probably even peaked during the momachi period. Which was from the thirteen hundreds right to the mid- fifteen hundreds. This city alone is believed to have almost twenty percent of japans treasures. The city has about seventeen hundred Buddhist temples and about three hundred Shinto shrines.
Now, because of the contemporary architecture, most of these are hidden or mostly fall in the background. Unless of course you know what you are looking for and you know where to look. In Japan, there are many small complexes which have many temples and gardens. Like a mini vile in the city.
The ginkakuji temples is about two storys. This place is also called the temple of the silver pavilion. The design was perfected for meditative strolling. There is a beautiful cherry tree nearby which follows a mile long path; this path is quite distinct as it has tablets of philosophy lined through the stretch of it. .
This entire concept was originaly influenced by the original temple of the golden pavilion. Although that temple was destroyed because of arsonists. However today there is an exact same three storey replica in the same place as the earlier original temple. If you walk about half an hour from here, you would reach the ryoanji temple. This temple has golden and white gravel with fifteen rocks surrounded it. This became the symbol of the entire Zen wisdom.
This temple was built in the kiyomizu era. Located on a steep hillside, the temple gives off a spectacular view of the city of Kyoto. Earlier, entire neighborhoods used to be built around specific crafts. The country has many artisans working in this city. Most of them served the imperial count, palaces and even sometimes the feudal lords. If you take a walk today in the back districts of Kyoto, you will be able to find artisan workshops; even today!
Here many of the city’s crafts are available, like silk, woodblock prints, textile goods, lacqureware, paperwork’s and of course dolls. The people making these are still that famous for their crafts and work. And apparently Kyoto is synonymous for fine work.
If you could manage to visit Kyoto during one of its festivals then that would be awesome. The masturi, jidai, the aoi and the gion are the most amazing festivals here in Japan. These are so good that is it almost worth rearranging your itinerary so that you could witness and enjoy the celebrations that happen during this festival.
During the festivals, the locals, display costumes that were around from the early eight century all the way till the present. During spring, the people wear costumes of the imperial costumes to celebrate and pray for the country’s prosperity.
The aio dates back to Kyoto’s history and is probably the oldest celebrated festival. In May the aio festival floats through the city on the floats. Approximately thirty floats that come around on July sixteenth and seventieth make up the very popular gion festival.
Each festival has its own meaning, its own significance and the people here in Kyoto are proud of their culture and rich heritage. They usually are very active during the festivals and even otherwise quite aware of what is happening in their city.
Gion festival is celebrated by the people of Kyoto to pray for the protection and well being of their city. This festival came into being during the ninth century when the city of Kyoto was first almost destroyed by the plague.
Kyoto is otherwise also quite charming and exuberant. It has lovely places to go to, the food here is quite pleasant and the people here are very and friendly. Don’t hesitate to stop and ask for any kind of help or directions or in fact even places to visit.