Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Matthew's Sight Seeing Guide to Kyoto

Miyaka Messe ☆☆☆☆☆
Kyoto Folk Craft Museum
This place is a must see if you are at all interested in traditional Japanese crafts. Exhibits include: textiles, furniture, sake, kimonos, dolls, fans, and ceramics. The work is all top quality and each different craft has a TV playing a looped video that shows a craftsman at work. There is also a nice shop where you can buy things similar to those on display. They even have a library with books on crafts, unfortunately all the books are in Japanese.
No Photography Allowed.

Path of Philosophy ☆☆☆☆☆
A great way to get lost in your thoughts. A couple temples, shrines, shops, and cafes along the way too. Following the gentle brook also serves as a great way to avoid traffic when traveling North or South along Eastern Kyoto.

Nijo Castle ☆☆☆☆
Nijo castle has some great architecture and gardens. The nightingale floors are interesting, too.

Imperial Palace ☆☆☆
Reservation Required
The imperial palace is nice, but you can only see it as part of a tour. As such, you can not enter any of the buildings, a bit disappointing since none of them are in use anymore. You can see some nice screen painting from the outside, though.

Steam locomotive Museum ☆☆☆
The museum itself is rather small and has some mediocre model tables set up. But just outside they have a significant collection of real antique steam engines. So if you like trains, go for, but don't expect a whole lot.

Kyoto City Botanical Garden ☆☆
A nice park, but not so nice in winter. Good collection of Bonsai tree, though, if you're interested in that.

Kyoto Handicraft Center ☆☆
A place to buy really expensive Japanese crafts. you can see a few artisans at work, too.

Maruyama Koen ☆☆
We only stopped into the park briefly, but I would have liked to spent longer here. It is also probably nicer when the weather gets warmer and the leaves come out.

Nishjin Textile Center
Kimono Fashion Show
Similar to the Kyoto Handicraft center, but the textile center has daily Kimono runway shows. Neat!

Notes: WH = UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prices may fluctuate with time.