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Ishibe-koji Alley

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Kyoto: Historic Higashiyama Walking Tour

1. Kyoto: Historic Higashiyama Walking Tour

The district of Higashiyama is full of Kyoto must-see locations. Higashiyama means East Mountain, and this tour takes place at the foothills of the mountain range that forms the Eastern border of central Kyoto.  Start off your tour at the Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrine located in the Southern part of the Higashiyama mountain range. Pass through the mystical vermilion torii gates that snake up the mountainside. Beyond the gates, you find the Fushimi Inari Taisha which is about Shinto history and culture.  Take a short train ride from Fushimi Inari to Gion and listen to the stories your guide has to share about this colorful, much-storied playground of the geisha and beyond. Gion is a special place as it continues to be an active part of modern-day culture. This district is also known for its evening entertainment.  Stroll through the streets of Higashiyama and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Visit the Kodaiji temple and immerse yourself in the serenity of its gardens and bamboo grove. The temple complex dates back to the early 17th-century.  Take some snacks or souvenirs in the streets along Sannenzaka and walk you way up to Kiyomizu Temple. Once arrived you can enjoy a spectacular view of Kyoto. The temple is famous for its clear, pure water flowing from the mountains into the Otowa Waterfall. Take the opportunity to sample some of the pure water yourself. It is said that the 3 divided streams bring health, wealth, or happiness. Choose wisely as for greedy people none of the wishes will come true.  The tour ends at Kiyomizudera, where you are free to spend more time and discover the area at your own pace.

Kyoto: Private 2.5 Hour Historical Walking Tour

2. Kyoto: Private 2.5 Hour Historical Walking Tour

Meet up in the west gate (red gate) of Yasaka Shrine. At first, the guide will tell you about the history of Kyoto with a map of Kyoto. Start the tour with the explanation about Yasaka shrine. In Yasaka shrine, the guide will explain how to worship at a shrine.  Next, going through Maruyama Park, located next to Yasaka Shrine, you will find a busy street whose name is Nene-no-michi. Nene is the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a political leader in Japan in the late 16th century. Entokuin is a temple associated with Nene. Entokuin is a Zen temple, with beautiful dry landscape gardens, famous pictures depicted on sliding doors of the rooms in the temple. You can see  traditional Japanese rooms. You can enjoy the serene atmosphere of the temple. After going out of the temple, you will find a narrow street called Ishibe-koji. Walking further, you will find red ornaments hung from the eaves of the  entrance of shops and restaurants. The ornaments are the dolls of monkey, a divine messenger of Koshindo. Koshindo is a place of folk religion, which originated in  Asian countries.   A five-storied pagoda, commonly called Yasaka-no-to(pagoda), is located close to Koshindo. You will see the pagoda from outside. Zuigudo is a sub-temple of Kiyomizu Temple. You will get into the basement floor of the temple which symbolizes the womb of Bodhisattva. Wooden balls symbolizing a rosary will lead you to the bottom of the temple. When you get out, you will feel as if you were reborn. The final destination, Kiyomizu temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto. It was originally built in the 8th century. The temple has five million visitors a year from all over the world. The main object of worship is Kannon Bodhisattva. You can see Buddhist statues, including Kannon Bodhisattva. There is a wooden stage attached to the main hall. The stage is a wooden structure without the use of nails. The scenery from the stage is magnificent. From the stage you can see a three storied pagoda. It is called Koyasu Pagoda, or lliterally  pagoda for easy birth.  Women visit the pagoda praying for easy birth. Kiyomiozu literally means "pure water". The stream of water, running down from the mountain behind the temple, has never been dried up.  A lot of visitors stand in line to drink the water. There are an iron stick and iron clogs in the precinct.. They are donated items to the temple. The iron stick is very heavy. Why don't you try to lift it up?  After getting out of the main hall, the tour ends. Before ending the tour, the guide will explain something about Jishu Shrine, a shrine for match making.

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What people are saying about Ishibe-koji Alley

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 42 reviews

Very informative and entertaining

I was lucky to be the only one on the tour (though I get why noone wants to suffer this humid air) so Masumi-San took her time to answer all of my questions about Kyotos but also Japans history. She is very knowledgable about the myths surrounding the two biggest religions and the historical figures involved in the creation of this wonderful country. I highly recommend this tour to everyone!

Amazing and really educational tour!

We were so lucky to have Hisako as a tour guide. She is so kind and knowledgeable. She can tell you every historical detail of Kyoto and the whole of Japan. She is tireless of telling you the most interesting stories! Just incredible!

What a wonderful tour. Our tour guide knew everything and told us so many interesting stories. One of the best tours we made. Highly recommended to all visiting Kyoto.

Hisako has been a great guide, very close and with many stories to tell. He has also given me many suggestions to visit after the tour. I have been delighted!

Really interesting and enjoyable. I learned so much about Japanese history, culture and religion which really helped put the places I saw in context.