Tag Archives: Kyoto

Golden Pavilion and the Kyoto Imperial Palace

22 Aug

What? A Golden Pavilion?

Piggletino was excited to visit the Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) – this time a Zen temple in Northern Kyoto.

An extravagant structure that overlooked a pond of waters, the Kinkakuji is said to have different architectural styles on each level of the Pavilion. Unfortunately, visitors were not allowed to enter the Pavilion to see the first floor built in Shinden style, the second floor in Bukke style, and the upper floors that was in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall.

Piggletino quickly took a snap – it was such a popular area for tourists, there wasn’t even much space to stand and enjoy the view! What a pity!

After the Kinkakuji, Piggletino made his way to the Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所), where the Imperial Family resided until the 1860s.

The complex is highly guarded and one can only enter the palace grounds with a guided tour (be sure to book in advance!) of about an hour. It’s a short and slightly rushed visit, but worth a visit if you’ll like to find out more about Imperial Family and the Palace!



Kyoto Nijo Castle

20 Aug

A short walk from the Nijojo-mae train station, the Nijo Castle (二条城) was built in 1603 for the first shogun of the Edo period.

Piggletino welcomes everyone to the Nijo Castle – first beginning with the traditional Japanese landscape garden, the Ninomaru Garden.



The Nijo Castle has three main areas – the main circle of defense, the secondary circle of defense and the gardens.



You can rent English audio guides to learn more about the Nijo Castle during your visit! Of course Piggletino’s scout went around the tour route that showcased where the highly-ranked visitors of the past would wait for the shogun in the audience rooms, understanding how bodyguards hid in closets to protect the shogun, and other offices or living chambers in the premises.

And Piggletino? That’s right – photos, photos and more photos!

Shrine City – Kyoto

15 Aug

As a historical city of Japan, Kyoto boasts of its numerous shrines and temples.

A popular concentration of shrines and temples in Eastern Kyoto can be found at the Higashiyama district. A great place to experience traditional Kyoto along the slopes of the eastern mountains, Piggletino’s scout visited so many shrines and temples that Piggletino lost count!

He heard several names, such as the Yasaka Shrine next to the Maruyama Park…
the Kodaiji Temple constructed in 1605…

…the Kiyomizudera Temple in the wooded hills…
…the Chionin Temple of Japanese Buddhism…

There were so many places to visit that Piggletino’s scout had a hard time deciding where to go first! And this list wasn’t all there was to the Higashiyama district!

While the scout was figuring out the map, Piggletino was having some difficulties as he busied himself with deciding between…

The sesame or green tea ice creams! If in Japan, don’t forget to grab a green tea ice cream cone, it’s awesome!

Cultural City of Kyoto

13 Aug

Piggletino welcomes everyone to Kyoto! Although ravaged by natural disasters like many other areas of Japan, Kyoto was relatively spared from the destruction of WWII, and today stands as testament to the cultural richness of Japan.



Most of the historical attractions are easily accessible by local train. Only 3 minutes away from the Inari station, this the Fushimi Inari Shrine (recognise the Torii Gate?) No, this isn’t just ‘yet another shrine’ – rather, it is famous for the thousands of orange torii gates that line its walkways and leads into the wooded forests and heads up to Mount Inari.



The Fushimi Inari Shrine is dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. Piggletino highlights the hiking trails behind the main shrine building, which starts with two parallel rows of Senbon Torii – literally ‘thousands of torii gates’ which are donated by individuals and organisations. This forms a covered walkway to the summit of the mountain (it takes 3 hours!) Of course, you can take a 45 minute walk to an opening which offers great views of Kyoto city!