Indagare member Christiane Deiters recently returned from a trip to Kyoto and Nara.
“1,200-year-old Kyoto is an amazing city. It has some 2,000 temples and shrines and was spared the worst of the bombings during World War II, so it’s incredibly well-preserved. Heian-kyo (which translates to “tranquility and peace capital”) became the seat of Japan’s Imperial Court in 794, at the beginning the Heian period, and Kyoto remained Japan’s capital until 1868.
””Kyoto has a population of nearly 1.5 million people and serves as the headquarter for both Nintendo and Japan’s Kimono manufactures. A great place to see Kyoto’s seamless merging of past and future is Kyoto station, the entry point of many visitors. The country’s second-largest station (after Nagoya), it opened in 1997 and is a gleaming tower of high-rises. However, lovely Higashi Hongan-ji temple, is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the station. When I first visited Kyoto in 2004, I could see the temple’s pagoda from my hotel room; this time around it was hidden behind a new building. In 2007, a new set of zoning laws was passed to protect Kyoto’s heritage (some 20 percent of the country’s national treasures are found here).”