Each top tourist destination in the world has it's major attractions, where tourists by their thousands flock to experience what is on... more » display.London has Buckingham Palace, where you can witness the changing-of-the-guard. Paris has the Champs-Elysees, with it's shops and cafes. New-York has Times-Square, for the theatre buffs. And Kyoto has the Gion District.
The Gion is made famous for it's Giesha (sometimes known as Geiko or Geigi), traditional female Japanese entertainers, whose skills include various Japanese arts as classic music and dance.There are also Maiko (Geisha in training) who, dressed in full regalia, can be seen in the evenings as they move-about through the streets of Gion.Then there are the Machiya (old style Japanese town-houses), faithfully restored to their former glory, along with the many Ochaya (tea-houses).
The Gion district was developed in the Middle-Ages, in an area in front of Yasaka Shrine, and it's main purpose was to accommodate the needs of travellers and visitors to the shrine.
Construction of Yasaka Shrine (once called Gion Shrine) commenced in 656,and soon became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian Period (794-1185).
In this guide I will take you through the four areas that make up the Gion District.Commencing at the intersection of Shijo-dori (Shijo Avenue) and Kawabata-dori (Kawabata Street), we will make our way to Yasaka Shrine, directly in front of you on Shijo-dori. From here we will progress to the Hanami-koji Area, with it's many restaurants and the Kennin-ji Temple. Then we will backtrack to the Shirakawa Area, with the Shirakawa Canal running-through it's centre. The canal is lined with willow trees, with many high-class restaurants and Ochaya overlooking the canal.Then it is off to the Pontocho Area, a narrow street across the Kamo-gawa (Kamo River), with it's tightly-packed restaurants and bars. From here it is back to where we started from.
As you enter each area you will experience a feeling of stepping-back in time. Enjoy the moment. less «