Arashiyama in Autumn

Sitting on the west side of Kyoto, the Arashiyama area is renowned for its mountain scenery, Togetsukyo wooden bridge, vast bamboo grove, and the World Heritage-listed Tenryuji temple.  It is particularly popular in the autumn, when the turning leaves render the mountains even more beautiful. To really enjoy the season, we recommend starting your day … Continue reading Arashiyama in Autumn

Gion Matsuri – centuries-old purification rites (and a great summertime party)

It all started in the middle of the 9th century.  Summer was always the season for increased disasters:  illness, floods, and devastating fires.  So the emperor ordered people to offer prayers for relief at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto's Gion district. Before long, the prayers were being offered with such regularity that the people made an … Continue reading Gion Matsuri – centuries-old purification rites (and a great summertime party)