Discover Kyoto in Japan
Join Shepherd Entertainment on a wonderful journey to the city of Kyoto in Japan.
Discover Kyoto in Japan
Kyoto was the capital of Japan from more than a thousand years. At the end of the 8th century, the imperial court decided to build the capital in Uda following Chinese patterns. They designed the monumental plan with the checkered board street system and municipal buildings.
Nine wide avenues were built in the south westerly direction and these were intersected by perpendicular main roads. In addition, 18 gates were opened in the city wall made of clay. Streets received numbers instead of names. Building complexes of high state council, ministries and several departments are located on these roads.
In the city, there are 1,600 Buddhist temples and 250 sanctuaries registered. Kyoto is the fifth biggest city of the island and is not only the center of tourism, but the textile, silk, food and chemical industries. The city also has a TV tower opposite the main railway station. It's not much lower than the one in Tokyo and this one also has a lookout tower.
Starting to the north of the tower on Karasu Midori, we soon reached the grandest site, the Higashi Honganji Temple. The largest wooden building of Kyoto was built in 1602, but the command to the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu who played an important role in establishing this holy place.
The temple belongs to the Otani School of the Jodo Shinshu set. Opposite the main gate stands the hall of the founder with Shinran statue. The main building connects here through covered quarters where invaluable art treasures are kept. Kiko Kokei, the garden surrounding the temple complex is an outstanding example of Japanese landscaping construction.
The huge palace of Shogun Ieyasu Tokogawa, the Golden Pavilion is visited by more than a million tourists a year. Its largest part is the quarter system where the squeaking floor warns the guards if assassins were approaching. At this place, we can realize that Samurai, Ronins and ninjas are not merely concoctions of movie script writers.
Not too long ago, they were parts of every day Japan. Foreigners often ask why Japan does not change from difficulty to learned characters to Latin letters. The 3,000 marks once taken over from China and formed by simplifying the images are taught in schools for children for eight years.
The Japanese believed that why learning how to write their dexterity develops to an incredibly high level. The results are shown in calligraphy, engravings and flower arranging, in the art of paper folding, Origami, silk painting, and even in the assembling of tiny electrical parts. Consequently, Japan would not be the country that it is today without these special letters.
There are schools for painter where the message of lines is not based on its meaning, buts its mood, ink style like sea waves, flowers, sanctuaries or landscapes dream of the grace the artist’s rice paper. The intricately detailed ornaments on palace as in temples are the results of such excellent handicraft.
At the entrance of each Shinsu sanctuary, a pool with long-handled wooden ladles can be found to be used for the ceremonial bath. The water spout of the source is usually a dragon which embodies the well-meaning spirit of waters. Its head could be carved from wood and cast from metal; both are outstanding works of art.
Looking at the selection of shops, we’re reminded at the Japanese economic miracle establishing one of the most developed industrial nations on earth from a backward agricultural country in a very short time. Economic researchers have written libraries with their supposed facts and in the end they stated that Japanese experiences are so unique that they're impossible to make use of in Europe or even in America. It may only be successful in another Asian country and also there's a good example of it in Korea.
A part of the Japanese miracle is the Japanese spirit, their thinking process stemming from Buddhism and Shintuism plus the loyalty to their employers and their skills as we mentioned before. The Tokyo stock market opened in 1878 has a symbol of forming capitalism then the country poor in minerals, but with plenty of labor force began a unique way of development which was not free of contradictions either.
In 1945, full destroyed Tokyo started to build without urban planning based on the old pattern and its effect can be felt even today on the face of the city. The labyrinth of small narrow alleys brings an oriental flare into the geometrical order of the checker board avenues. The modern forms of trade were unable to force out the bazaars which are the beehives of social life.
As soon as the sun sets, Geishas appear in the streets of the local entertainment district. There is a lot of misinterpretation regarding Geishas. Some Europeans think that they are the same as prostitutes and this is a big mistake. These ladies are carefully educated from their childhood on to provide pleasant company to men and to entertain them.
The entertainment includes a tea ceremony, instrumental music, singing, conversation, dance and eastern board games. Whether the one strict moral has been loosened to some limited degree. Where and how much people insist on traditions and what happens behind close door? Well, this is everybody’s private matter. But for a tourist, it's good to know that having the company of a Geisha is very expensive fun.
Japanese cities especially Tokyo and Kyoto offer a lively night life. In the theaters, Kabuki, and Noh plays, and Bunraku puppet performances can be seen. There are some who prefer sports events. For them, they are the far eastern martial arts, for example Kendo and you can hardly see a more typical Japanese sport than Sumo wrestling.
Amusement arcades are largely international. The local specialty is the Pachinko. These machines are similar to upright pinball machines even though they're not one armed they're still bandits and you can realize this in a short time. The ball is shot with a spring structure and if it falls into the middle hole it counts zero points, but if it falls into the holes on the sides you get a bonus ball then at the counter you exchange the balls one for various presents. Of course, a dinner spent in a typical local restaurant is also a fantastic experience and if we want to be in style we can go to a Karo Kibara after that.
Although the nickname a Japanese taxi driver is Kamikaze, you don’t have to be afraid when taking a cab. There are plenty of them, relatively cheap and mostly they take us where we want to go. Since they do not always speak English, the best advice is to show the address written in Japanese characters.
Tourist offices can give a hand in doing this, but pedestrians are also very helpful. It's strongly advised to hire a cell phone when you arrive at the airport as it can come in very handy and because it's very likely that your cell phone use at home won't work.
Shinkansen is the Japanese miracle train which is widely known all over the world. This express running between Tokyo and Osaka consists of 515 kilometers of rails and represents the future of transportation. These lines are the Central Japan Railway Company transport 130 million passengers annually.
The first Shinkansen was put into operation in 1964, so tourists visiting the Olympic Games could travel more easily. The trains have undergone several renovations in the past decades therefore they are a little different now. 3,300 trains were produced of the three existing series. A common characteristic of them is that their nose was inherited from a DC8 train. All units consist of 12 coaches with an engine performance of 185 kilowatts. The maximum speed of the train is 220 kilometers per hour.
In the near future, Japan will be selling trains to the Chinese State Railways. Right between Tokyo and Osaka another line will be built next to the existing one. The new super express has been developed after decades of experimentation. This will be the first train without wheels and rails using a concrete trough maintaining super conducting electromagnets. The train will be twice as fast as the current one and its braking will be similar to that of fighter planes. The railway line will take less space than a highway.
Japan has been at the forefront in the modernization of railways and these are built simultaneously with highways offering passengers a choice in transport. The fully computerized trains are so punctual that the one time delay of 10 minutes by one of them made headlines in the newspapers.
Atami station is a busy junction where we can change from the subway to monorail lines or other mode of public transportation. In junctions like this so called PNR parking lots are built and therefore people coming from the suburbs do not have to drive to the city center, thus saving time and parking costs. At the Atami station, we can find several small shops, snack bars, sushi bars, and American style fast food restaurants.
Discover Kyoto in Japan
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