Kyoto, the city of culture!
One country I have always had on the top of my travel list is Japan. Every since I was small I have always wanted to backpack Japan, however it is so expensive to travel in Japan that I have put it off for so long. Another reason is because my name, Nara is actually a city in Japan. It is no ordinary city either. It is the oldest city in Japan and has been one of the touristy cities to see in Japan. It is only 40 minutes away from another must see city. A city that has lately been taking on the major tourist role is Kyoto. Kyoto is a city that is 100 percent filled with traditions, history, and amazing culture. A few places to see in Kyoto include the Tofukuji Temple. Forget the busy life and reality and merge your inner self with life’s goodness. Another words this is perfect place to find a spot of meditative contemplation of the epic Buddha paintings and it’s famous maple trees. The next place you will want to visit is the Art Center in Kyoto. It is said that young Asian artists are the new taste of art in Kyoto. So a taste of the 21-century with the combination of the true traditional art is now the new edgy, creative design.
Japan is also famous for it gardens, so you need to check out Ryoanji. It is the home of the Japanese rock garden. There is a saying that there are 13 stones arranged is such a way that one can never see all of them at once. Plus this is also a great meditative place, so Ryoanji you will not want to miss.
On the west side of the city at the end of Nijo Avenue there is an ancient castle called Nijojo. You should take a peek inside and see how the emperors use to live. As far as castles go, there is also a palace that is a replica of Beijing’s Forbidden city. It is called Himeji. It is a few hours away from the city but keep in mind it is a world heritage site. This graceful castle is one the most popular sites to see by all Japanese tourists. Many Japanese tourists will pause to donate a few coins and say a prayer that ends with a swift of 3 claps. So if you want to see a little more than history, I would take a little trip over to this castle.
As far a entertainment and nightlife goes, take a walk over to Kyoto’s Pontocho Alley. It is located on the other side of the Kamo River and this alley becomes alive in the evenings. Many restaurants and bars are in line of this narrow lane and after dark it becomes Kyoto’s central destination for eating, socializing, and over all ending your day with a little bit of music. So for all those backpackers who will beat me to see this wonderful city, I say Pontocho alley is a great way to end the day. So who wouldn’t want to see this city?!! Plus if you go, you also must hit up the city of Nara!!