Our first stop in Kyoto is Nijo Jo, or Nijo Castle. More like a large home than a fortified castle, it was created in the 1500's by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and symbolized the power and riches of the newly established Edo(Tokyo)-based Shogunate.
Nijo Castle, Kyoto.
Moat bridge, Nijo Castle.
This lady was selling opportunities to have tea in the Nijo Castle Teahouse.
Kinkaku Ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is one of the most important cultural sites in Japan. Built about 1490 by a Shogun who retired at age 37 to become a priest.
Tours of school children are everywhere in Japan. This group observes the Golden Pavilion across the water.
On the street outside Nijo Castle. Just a little cultural contrast I couldn't resist capturing.
Every temple or shrine has a hand washing station to be used before entering the site. This one is at Ryoan Ji (next photo), home to Japan's most famous rock garden.
Ryoan-Ji was established in 1450. Its rock garden is considered by many to be the ultimiate expression of Zen Buddhism. Lots of visitors, but all very quiet; you're supposed to engage in silent contemplation.
Water feature behind Ryoan Ji.
Ryoan Ji's garden ponds were established before Zen Buddhism arrived in Japan, and offer pleasant, soft contours in contrast to the spiritual rigors of the rock garden.
We arrived in the Gion Geisha district at just the right time of evening when girls were walking to their evening work.
A view from behind as she continues on her way to her evening work at a local Geisha house.
Gion district, downtown Kyoto.
A passing car in the Geisha district yielded this quick shot portrait.
Tending the front of her wooden tea house, or Ochaya, in the Gion Geisha district of Kyoto.
A Geisha in the Gion district, on her way to her evening place of work.
Street capture from the Gion district, Kyoto.
Gion district, Kyoto.
The gion district had many shrines and temples. At this one people leave messages on either wooden paddles or small pieces of paper.
A shrine complex in the Gion district as evening darkness starts to fall.
Fans are really used in Japan, and by virtually everyone! A display in a shop as we climb the steep streets to Kiyomizu-dera temple.