Kyoto is definitely a must see when you’re visiting Japan, for several reasons. If (like me), you have studied japanese history, it feels simply amazing to be in one of the most important city of the country. If (like me again) you like temples, mindblowing architecture and religious landmarks, that’s the place for you. If (maybe like me?) you get tired of the crowded, busy, noisy Tokyo, Kyoto is also the place you should head to.
Despite being a fairly ‘big’ city, Kyoto has this charming quietness, this very much needed green and feels completely different from the current capital, Tokyo. One of my friends who is living in Kyoyo and working there as a french teacher, tells me every time we meet about how much she likes the city, and it’s fairly easy to understand why after visiting.
I’ve been to the city twice, and it enchanted me twice with its little shops, narrow streets yet also very large and modern avenues, its riverside, the beautiful and iconic temples, the quick and easy daytrips you can take from the city center, the friendliness of the people… If I had to find one negative thing about the city, it would probably be that I find it a lot harder to navigate than Tokyo. Which is weird, so that may be just me, don’t worry.
When my sister and I were in Tokyo, there were nights when I felt a bit down, the atmosphere was slowly but surely turning gloomy and melancholic as the sun was setting and the neon lights turning on. Ultimately, as much as I love Tokyo, it remains a huge and modern city, full of people that look at their phones, quickly cross streets, fall asleep in the metro, and you end up feeling exhausted after a long day of either work or visit, tall buildings surrounding you on your way back home. It feels lonely. None of that happened in Kyoto. Maybe I am getting old, maybe after 6 years of living in Paris I have reached a limit of urban life, who knows?
I still completely love Tokyo, and don’t get me wrong, you can definitely meet people there, relax, have fun and find green spots! But it just all seems so much easier in Kyoto, without sacrificing the benefits of a modern and big city.
Have you ever been to Kyoto? Or would you like to?