To make up for my absence, here are 44 photos of Kyoto’s shopping and dining hot spots. You’re welcome!
First on the list are Ninen-zaka and San’nen-zaka, two of the most beautiful (and crowded) streets in Kyoto. They’re gently sloping and narrow lanes near Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Nene-no-Michi Lane, lined with traditional looking shops and restaurants. It’s easy to lose track of time while roaming around these streets. There are just so much to see–from souvenirs to kiyomizu-ware (a pottery created around Kiyomizu temple), artwork, Japanese snacks, tea houses and more! Don’t get carried away though and make sure you watch your step as you walk on the flagstones and stone steps of these lanes. Because “Ninen-zaka” and “San’nen-zaka” means “slope of two years” and “slope of three years” respectively, it is said that those who fall down at Ninen-zaka will die within 2 years and those who fall down at San’nen-zaka will die within three years. I didn’t know this at the time I visited but thank God this clumsyhead didn’t trip. For once, my legs and feet didn’t fail me.
Next on the series of photos below is Gion– a district that’s famous for geishas/geikos and maikos (geishas in training) roaming around its streets. Within minutes of being here, I already spotted a few geikos and maikos rushing to ochaya or teahouses where they entertain guests. It’s so surreal seeing them! I couldn’t help but feel like I was at the set of Memoirs Of A Geisha. Majority of the film was actually shot here. I can totally see why. Gion is a dream especially when you stroll around the place at night. The beautiful Shirakawa river, traditonal wooden machiya (merchant) houses, restaurants and tea houses transports you to a different time. When you visit Gion, make sure you go to Hanami-koji Street to dine. Book a reservation in advance though because most of the restaurants (which used to be machiya houses that were transformed into restaurants) serve Kyoto-style kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine) and they only prepare a set number of meals for confirmed guests. Check out the Shirakawa Area as well. It runs along the Shirakawa River, lined with willow trees, nice restaurants and ochaya, many of which have rooms overlooking the river. It provides the perfect ambience to end your day.
Last on the series of photos below are those that I took while shopping and dining around Nishiki Market. It’s Kyoto’s largest and best traditional food market which is why it’s famously known among locals as “Kyoto’s Pantry”. It’s been around for centuries, starting out as a wholesale district for fish. It has now transformed into a retail market selling anything and everthing food-related, from tsukemono (Japanese pickles), fresh tofu, Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetables), wagashi (Japanese sweets), tea, fresh fish, shellfish, dried seafood, knives and cookware and more. A lot of the shops sell skewers of yakitori and sashimi and a few sit down restaurants are present too so make sure you come hungry. I recommend eating at Nishiki Warai. It serves the best okonomiyaki around Kyoto!