Tour Course

Sannenzaka

Sannenzaka

The first part of the tour is the old and historic district called Higashiyama. Walking through the district will turn back the pages of history and put you into the 19th century atmosphere of Kyoto.
We begin by walking down along San-nen-zaka and Ni-nen-zaka slopes with its series of shops which deal in such interesting items as pottery, bottle gourd, antique, rice crackers, incense sticks, dolls and so on. We will visit a beautiful Japanese garden "Seiryuen" which was once part of a famous Japanese inn called "Sakaguchi" along the way.

Yasaka-no-toh

Yasaka-no-toh

Yasaka-no-To (five storied pagoda) and Koshindo Temple are the sites you will enjoy next. The former is Japan's third tallest five-storied pagoda at 49m in height and the latter is a Buddhist temple, rebuilt in 1679, which is dedicated to Shomen Kongo, destroyer of foolish human desires.

Ishibe Koji
Daikokuten

Ishibe Koji & Daikokuten

We then will walk into a narrow alley called Ishibe Koji. Along the alley are traditional Kyoto-styled houses with uniquely designed stone walls (Ishibe).
Following this we will enter the street called Nene-no-michi (Nene's street). It was named so after the fact that the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, dictator of Japan in the end of 16th century, called Nene lived near here when she entered priesthood after the death of her husband. In this area we will also see a tiny Buddhist temple called Sanmendaikokutendo, which houses a unique statue of Daikokuten (Mahaa-kaala in Sanskrit) with three, different faces (Sanmen).

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park

Nene-no-michi leads to the oldest western styled park in Kyoto called Maruyama Park opened to the public in 1886. The garden in the park was designed by the most famous garden designer in the 19th century Kyoto called Ogawa Jihei. There's an 80 year old cherry tree there which blooms evey springtime!

Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine

Walking through Maruyama Park, we will walk into the grounds of Yasaka Shrine and enjoy its old buildings. This Shinto shrine with the history of around 1300 years holds every July the famous Gion Festival. The highlight of its celebration is the procession of 32 beautifully adorned floats through the main streets of the city.

Gion

Gion

On the west of Yasaka Shrine is the biggest of five pleasure quarters in Kyoto called Gion, another historic district with series of traditional town houses. Many of these houses are the ones called Ochaya where one can have a private party with the female masters of traditional art of entertainment, Geiko and Maiko (called Geisha elsewhere). Gion is, of course, the locale of the best seller novel "Memoirs of Geisha". If you're lucky, you might come across Geiko or Maiko on their way to work on the street.

Minamiza Theater

Minamiza Theater

After you walk along various narrow alleys in Gion fully enjoying Kyoto's rich traditional atmosphere, the tour ends at the theater called "Minamiza" which was built at the birth place of Japanese traditional theatrical art called Kabuki.

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from Kiyomizu
to Minamiza Kabuki Theater
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