Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots in Kyoto―From Power Spots to Maple Trees

11.May.2019 | SPOT

Kyoto, also called the “old capital,” is known as a cultivator of Japanese culture which it has developed over the past 1,200 years. Today we take a look at some must-visit places when travelling to Kyoto along with some useful sightseeing information.

Motoise, Japan’s oldest power spot

Ise Grand Shrine is located in Mie Prefecture and is home to the inner shrine which is dedicated to Amaterasu, the Japanese goddess of the sun and the universe. Kono Shrine in Miyazu, Kyoto is known as Motoise, or “former Ise,” as it was here that Amaterasu was originally enshrined before being moved to Ise grand Shrine. Motoise celebrates 1,300 years since being erected this year. The shrine houses Amanohonoakari no Mikoto, the sun goddess’s grandchild. Deeper in the vicinity is Manai Shrine which has been a ‘power spot’ for over 3,000 years. The term power spot is Japanese for a spiritual spot where one can feel in-tune with nature and the surrounding elements.

Manai Shrine doesn’t have the usual Komainu guardian lion-dogs at its entrance but Komaryuu, guardian dragon-dogs. As you head deeper in you will come to a well of holy water known as “Amenomanai’s Water” which is visited by many people to receive happiness and blessedness. “Manai” is the highest honorific possible given to water in Japan as it is said to be water from the world of the gods. The water is also known for granting strong marriage ties.

Here there is also the Iwakura, a large rock where Izanagi and Izanami―from Japan’s creation myth―dwell. It is known as the oldest power spot in Japan so is perfect for those wanting to calm down or rediscover themselves.

Aomomiji Tunnel wrapped in fresh verdure

Shuuonan in the city of Kyotanabe gets the name “Ikkyu-ji” as it is the place where Japanese Zen Buddhist monk Ikkyū spent his final years. The location is known by everyone for the autumnal colours in fall, but it is also a sight to behold in spring too when fresh verdure sprouts. A long tunnel of beautiful maple trees whose leaves have not yet turned red rolls out from the main gate. Moss too blooms fresh and lush, wrapping the entire area in bright green hues.

Green arches welcome walkers along the maple shrine road

Also easily accessible from the city is Komyo-ji temple, known locally as “Momiji Temple” for its maple trees. In Autumn, the stone pavement leading up to the shrine is called “Momiji Shrine Road” for the red leaves that adorn the trees. In the spring season however they call it “Aomomiji Shrine Road” as the trees on both sides stretch and form leaf green arches.

A world of green aboard the “Aomomiji Train”

Board the Eizan Electric Railway to experience a slow ride between the “Momiji Tunnel.” Passengers can gaze outside the windows from their seats to admire the green maple trees. For a limited-time this year, the trains will be painted maple green to fit the theme and season.

Fireflies light up the magical summer evenings

Located in the northern part of Miyazu is Tahara which is home to just 20 country fields. In early summer, genji-botaru and heike-botaru fireflies appear from early to late June. Every year the village locals hold a festivals to celebrate them where people can stroll along the fields to see them. Surrounding restaurants also participate in the festival and serve up delicious food made using local ingredients.

 

Kyoto is home to countless wonderful experiences. Make sure visiting it is on your bucket list.

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