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【Kyoto Tourism】Gion, Yasaka-dori and Other Top 5 Kyoto Spots to Visit Wearing Kimono

Rental kimono are hugely popular in Kyoto. How exciting to walk around the scenic streets of machiya-style houses and colorful shrines in a kimono! So we've ranked standard areas in Kyoto you'll want to stroll in wearing a kimono. There are many kimono rental shops around these standard areas, so give them a try! <*The information is from the Kyoto Tourism Ranking (issued March 18, 2017)>

<1> Stroll Around the Charming Gion Geisha District

Hanamikoji-dori and Nishi-Hanamikoji-dori are the main streets of Gion, which has streets reminiscent of the past. The streets, which run from Sanjo-dori in the north and Kennin-ji in the south, are lined with established tea shops and authentic Japanese restaurants. If you're lucky, you may pass by an apprentice geisha.

Hanamikoji, to the south of Shijo-dori, is full of the Kyoto atmosphere

A cool sign showing directions

Hanamikoji Dori / Nishi-Hanamikoji Dori

Around Gion-machi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<2> Enjoy Sweets from a Famous Sweets Store at the Stylishly Modern ZEN CAFE

ZEN CAFE is a cafe produced by the famous Japanese wagashi sweets maker, Kagizen Yoshifusa. You can enjoy kuzu-mochi made with Yoshino Hon Kuzu and beautifully colored seasonal wagashi sweets in an elegant environment that melds Japanese and Scandinavian styles.

Seasonal Sweet and Drink Set (1,500 JPY). The sweet in the photo is a kinton of Japanese yam.

A charming Japanese-style interior with a small window and solid Japanese zelkova wood


570-210 Gion-machi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<3>The Festival at Tatsumi Daimyojin Visited by Apprentice Geisha

Shirakawa-Minami-dori is a cobblestone street along Shira River that flows through Gion. It is designated as a preservation district for traditional structures and is a place where you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Gion with the beautiful Tatsumi Bridge and Tatsumi Daimyojin, which enshrines the deity for traditional performing arts.

A charming view with a weeping willow. This is where it merges with Shinbashi-dori

Shirakawa-minami Dori

Around Motoyoshi-cho and Sueyoshi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<4>Take a Photo with the Five-Story Pagoda in the Background on Yasaka Dori

Yasaka Dori is the street leading up to the Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji) and is lined with traditional ryokan inns and popular coffee stands. The 46m high tower, which is a Higashiyama icon, is majestic tiled in the honkawara-buki style. Take your time and enjoy the shops when strolling through this street.

The cafe latte (450 JPY) at % Arabica Kyoto.

Yasaka Dori

Around Yasaka-Kamimachi and Hoshino-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<5> Make a Wish with the Colorful Kukurizaru at Yasaka Koshin-do

Yasaka Koshin-do is the sacred ground of Japan's oldest Koshin folk faith that was established during the Heian period. On the day of Koshin, which comes around six times a year, many worshippers visit for the ceremony of praying for sound health by cooking konnyaku jelly. Dedicating the colorful Kukurizaru (500 JPY each), which is said to shut in desires and make one's wishes come true, is popular.

Pindola Bharadvaja in the shrine

The talisman of nine monkeys (4,500 JPY) for harmony at home.

Yasaka Koshin-do

390 Kinen-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Here's Where to Rent Kimono

Kyokomachi Kimono Rental is right near the Kiyomizu-michi bus stop on the city bus, which is convenient for getting to Gion and Kiyomizu-dera. It offers a wide selection of designs, ranging from the standards to designer kimono. The Kyokomachi Plan (5400 JPY), which gives you a choice from among approximately 200 kimono, is recommended. A skilled staff member will dress you in the kimono.

Kyokomachi Kimono Rental

104 Higashioji-dori Matsubara-agaru Tatsumi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 05.16.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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