Autumn in Kyoto

My other pages about Japan:
SUMO Photographs | More Images of Japan
My Life In Japan! | Links About Japan | Books about Kyoto!


Bridge in the garden
Ginkaku-ji Temple

Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 784 - 894 and remained the home of the Emperor and the seat of the Imperial Court even after administrative and political activies were relocated to Edo (now Tokyo). During Kyoto's era of power it was also the center of Buddhism in Japan and many old temples remain, well preserved and painstakingly cared for. Compared with the modern, busy hustle of Tokyo and Osaka, Kyoto remains a tranquil city, with a slower pace of everyday life.

Autumn is one of the best times to visit Kyoto, the weather has cooled, and the abundant red leaves (kouyou) provide an exquisite backdrop to the dramatic architecture of Kyoto's famous temples and gardens.

Temple Guardian

Temple Guardian statue

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle Moat

Stone Lantern

Stone Lantern
Ginkaku-ji Temple

If you are planning a trip to Japan I highly recommend these books:

Gateway to Japan (Kodansha Guide) -- I used this book when I first went to Japan and it was fantastic. It has an excellent introduction to the country and highlights features that a visitor might find useful in organizing a trip - culture, food, history, etc and gives great suggestions of where to see what. Then each regional section has all the details for actually setting up your visit. They also have great walking tour suggestions and excellent choices of restaurants and hotels. If you just take one book, make sure this is the one. Make sure to read this book well in advance of your trip, because the introductory sections will definitely make you want to visit some different places after you read about them!

Memoirs of a Geisha -- A long-standing bestseller, but definitely worth reading. Amazing accuracy of details! This book really transports the reader back in history and will provide historical and cultural background that will make your visit even more enjoyable. Read it even if you never plan to go to Japan!

Lonely Planet Kyoto (2nd Ed) -- Lonely Planet: Kyoto is one of the best investments you can make before your trip to Japan. Like all of the other Lonely Planet books, it is well-organized and interesting to read, with plenty of practical information (where to stay and what to see) plus a thorough section on language, history, and culture. Kyoto, Japan's imperial capital, has over 3,000 shrines and temples--it's essential to have a guidebook that explains, in detail, the form and function of the major ones and offers suggestions for seeing the smaller ones. If you are not planning a specific itinerary, it's easy to "flip and point" in order to find something that looks good on a given day. This is a good all-around book that won't let you down. It considers all budgets and offers suggestions for even the poorest student. If you aren't a native speaker of Japanese, it may help to have a copy of Lonely Planet's Japanese Phrasebook, just in case the guide doesn't go into enough detail.

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All text and photographs Copyright (c)1991-2001 Naomi S. Smith