Kyoto Arashiyama: One Day Sightseeing Course for Ladies Traveling Solo – 1
Kyoto is famous as Japan’s ancient capital. Recently in 2014 and 2015 successively, it has ranked first place for popular cities for sightseeing in the world. As a sightseeing destination today, it has become a place that you cannot skip. “Arashiyama” area is one of the popular places in Kyoto. It is an ideal place for people traveling alone, and there are some atmospheres you can enjoy only because you are alone. Photo by flickr
That being said, let’s get on our way to start our stroll in Kyoto Arashiyama!
1. “UME SAKURA”, a Recommended Rental Kimono Shop
First of all, let’s change our clothes into kimono.
Kimono is a Japanese native dress, but in recent years people have stopped wearing them except for celebrations and other special occasions. If you were hesitatant to try it because it is too expensive or because you don’t know how to wear it, don’t you worry, as when you come to Kyoto you can easily rent a kimono.
It’s two minutes’ walk from Kitanohakubaicho Station on the Randen (Keifukudentetsu Arashiyama Line). Randen provides convenient access to Arashiyama area. You can choose a kimono that is stored on the shelves one by one, and you can select an obi sash and other accessories as you like. If you have trouble deciding yourself, you need not to worry as store staff will offer kind help. The rental includes hair styling, and coming on weekdays is particularly recommended as they offer weekday discounts and student discounts too. (Reservation required.) Information: Map
Now that you have changed into a kimono and are getting into the mood, we can actually start sightseeing in Kyoto Arashiyama.
2. “Tenryu-ji” Temple, a World Heritage Site
Tenryu-ji Temple was built during the Muromachi Period (1338~1573 A.D.) by Shogun Takauji Ashikaga with the help of an eminent monk, Muso Soseki to worship the late Emperor Godaigo. This temple became a turning point to revive diplomatic relationship between China and Japan back then, and it is known as an important cultural heritage of Japan today.
Sogenchi-teien (曹源池庭園), Photo by flickr
When you look at “Unryu-zu”, it is as if the dragon is gazing at you no matter where you stand in relation to the picture. “Sogenchi-teien” is a large garden that Muso Soseki helped design. Admiring the beauty of the garden, let’s try to imagine the atmosphere at the time without being disturbed by anyone. Information: Map
8 Elegant Kyoto Gardens Rich in the Wabi-Sabi Aesthetic
3. Get Your Exclusively Original Zabuton for Souvenir at “Platz”
Photo by flickr
It is said that zabuton (a Japanese flat cushion to sit on) first appeared around the Kamakura Period (1185~1333 A.D.), and in the old days only privileged people used it to show their power. Zabuton has such a long history. You can have your own original zabuton made at “Platz” in Arashiyama by specifying color, pattern and shape.
Zabuton goes well not only with Japanese-style houses and tatami mat but also with western-style interior. As you can put it on a chair to sit on instead of cushions, zabuton makes a practical souvenir to bring home overseas. Information: Map
4. Enjoy “Tai Chazuke Lunch” at Stylish “HANANA”
The standard lunch options in Kyoto may be, tempura, sushi, or Kyo-kaiseki (“kaiseki” is traditional course dishes for tea ceremony). You can certainly select one of them, but trying unorthodox Japanese food that you can eat alone casually is definitely pleasure of traveling alone.
“Taisho HANANA” specializes in tai chazuke (green tea poured over rice, red snapper, etc.), and you can eat delicious tai chazuke at reasonable prices. Seats at the counter are available for casual use by one-person parties, and since there are tables, your dressing in kimono won’t pose any problems at all.
The photo shows the least expensive meal, “Tai chazuke gozen”. It includes cooked red snapper, cooked Kyoto vegetable, homemade pickles, and sashimi of red snapper. You can eat rice as much as you like, and it includes a traditional sweet for desert, too. Three ways of eating tai chazuke are recommended so that you can enjoy it until you are full without getting bored of the taste. Information: Map
Japanese Cuisine Etiquette: Place Setting
5. To Nonomiya-jinja Shrine to Pray for Fulfillment in Love
Photo by flickr
“Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji)” has been a popular love story written during the Heian Period (794~1185 A.D.), and this Nonomiya-jinja shows up in the story, too. The torii gate here is in black, instead of vermillion. This style of black torii made with sawtooth oak without peeling off the bark is known as the oldest style of torii in Japan.
Kamiishi (Kameishi), 神石（亀石）, Photo by flickr
This place has a rock called Kamiishi/Kameishi in addition to the god of matchmaking. It is said that your wish comes true if you stroke this rock while praying.
There are cute paired charms that you can use for accessories or straps, so let’s get them after praying and increase your romantic luck! Information: Map
Continued in 6~10: Kyoto Arashiyama: One Day Sightseeing Course for Ladies Traveling Solo – 2