Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Kyoto was the capital of Japan and is the capital of Kyoto prefecture. It is a popular sight seeing destination because of its rich history and art, and many shrines and temples. I have been to Kyoto a half dozen times during my stay in Japan and it remains my favorite place to visit away from home (Yamanashi).

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Women train in the arts of the Geisha - Photos courtesy John Peirce - Kofu, Japan

Reflections of Kyoto station in December

Kyoto Tower at dusk from the front of Kyoto station

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Kyoto subways are elaborately designed and very clean

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Room at Gion Fukuzumi ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn)

The Gion Fukuzumi is located just a couple blocks North of the Yasaka shrine in Gion. Great location, clean rooms, pleasant staff. The phone number is 075-541-5181


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Drummers perform and Maiko-san do a traditional dance at the Gion festival

Gion festival (Kyoto's largest) at Yasaka shrine, July, 2003

Temples of Kyoto

Kiyomizudera temple is huge complex with various temple buildings and even a shinto shrine within the temple grounds. The platform outside the Kannon hall, is built on stilts on the slope of the mountain. This overhanging platform is one of Japan's most photographed scenes.

Kiyomizudera engulfed in a sea of Autumn leaves

The platform of Kiyomizudera temple during a special nighttime event

Bosatsu statue at Kiyomizudera Temple

The city lights seen through the Kiyomizudera temple gate

Beautiful Japanese screens at Daikakuji temple

Viewing one of the gardens from a tatami room at Daikakuji temple

Monks perform their morning chant at Daikakuji temple

Mini Jizo bosatsu who saves people at the entrance of hell

Buckets of water stand ready in case of a fire at Toji temple

In the old towns of Kyoto and Nara you may see red buckets filled with water in front of wooden structures. These are ready in case of a fire. This scene struck me as funny. Three small lonely buckets sitting in front of Toji temples massive wooden gate hundreds of years old. If a fire ever did break out, it would be a 3-engine fire before any one could get to these 3 little buckets.

Phoenix Hall at Byodoin Temple

The image of Phoenix Hall at Byodoin Temple is on the 10 yen coin which is the only coin with the image of a building.

kinkakuji (golden pavilion) at Rokuon Temple

Scenes from around Kyoto

A small rest house used for enjoying a cup of tea or sweet sake.

A water stone at Rakushisha cottage.

Maiko pose in Maruyama Park

While wandering through Maruyama park, I saw a halve dozen maiko (geisha apprentice) and hundreds of photographers standing on ladders, laying on the ground. All asking the maiko to look in there direction for that one unique close-up photo that the other 100 photographers also took. Afterwards, I saw a foreigner playing guitar and singing "Country Road" to one of the maiko. Seeing that combination of cultures is a image I could have done without.

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Two maiko from the the local Gion festival (see poster).

Kyoto at night

Famous weeping cherry tree at Maruyama Park
Famous weeping cherry tree at Maruyama Park

Cherry blossom veiwing festival at Maruyama Park
Hanami matsuri, Cherry blossom veiwing festival at Maruyama Park

Bamboo grove "light-up" at Shorennin temple

Zen garden 'Lightup' at Kodaiji temple
Zen garden 'Lightup' at Kodaiji temple

"Meyame" Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo of eyesight)

A young couple sits on the bank of the river running through Gion

A chanko restaurant sign lights up the night

Chanko nabe is the food of sumo wrestlers, a kind of stew with just about everything thrown in. Fish, crab, shrimp, cabbage, beef, chicken, and tofu just to name a few.

Less than Traditional Ema

An ema is a small wooden plaque that can be purchased at temples. You write your wishes on the ema and hang them at the temple. Emas are usually plain, but sometimes they have simple designs. I went to a restaurant in the Gion area that had many ema on the wall with, well let's say, less than traditional designs...