Confessions of A Simple Traveler

Kyoto

Maiko on Classic Kyoto

Difficult is an understatement when selecting just one of Japans abundant destinations. I’ve probably said that one time too many, but it’s true. Setting aside time to visit Kyoto, especially if you can manage to arrive during sakura festival season is a certain bucket list life event checked. In my wildest of dreams, Tokyo is the huge metropolis, and Kyoto is a quaint memorial village to a bygone era. But do not be deceived.

As most Nihonjin are well aware, Kyoto is a massive megalopolis. The train line rivals Tokyo, the central station, Kyoto-eki, is a massive structure, second only to the auto industry centers Nagoya-eki. This structure manages to incorporate a shopping mall, hotel,

Fushimi Inari Shrine torii

movie theater, department store and my personal favorite floor contains several different ramen shops, all this, under one immense 15 story roof. Hiroshi Hara is the man behind this phenomenal structure and is an interesting resource for exploring theoretical ideas on creating livable cities, tapping into Jorge Luis Borges’ concept of magical realism among others. Commemorating Kyoto’s 1,200th anniversary, this station opened its doors in 1997. When I first arrived, I couldn’t help but find myself scaling the steps to the top. A deck near the top gains access to a spectacular view of the city, traditional and the futuristic.

Kyoto is a city, that even in its modernness, remains elegantly poetic. For me, the historic spaces, the well

Kyoto Clouds

maintained temples, bamboo gardens and even the immaculate parks cultivate appreciation, not any feelings of contrived tourist attractions. They are genuine living monuments of their former culture. How do we celebrate and appreciate our former culture, or do we just forget about it like our last sms message? In a refreshingly energizing way, this city is a collection of the poetic. To quote poet Matsuo Munefusa better known as Basho.

Even in Kyoto hearing the cuckoo’s cry I long for Kyoto.

Andrew
Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process & connecting with other creative people.

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  1. Kyoto
    Maiko on Classic Kyoto
    Difficult is an understatement when selecting just one of Japans abundant… http://t.co/4coFyYa4

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