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Kyoto in all its Splendour Article and photography by Michael Morcos

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f you want to understand Japan, go to Kyoto! I kept hearing that phrase before embarking on this tour of discovery. Although this was not my first trip to Japan, it would mark my introduction to this amazing city. Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is much bigger than I thought; this was evident upon arrival at the massive train station. Kyoto station is a new structure and an engineering marvel of both art and architectural and an attraction on its own. Located in the dead centre of town, it links passengers to connections throughout Japan by commuter trains and the slick, iconic bullet train.

The Castle, constructed in 1603, was a home for the first shogun of the Edo Period, and its palace buildings are some of the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era. In 1994, it was designated a UNESCO world heritage site and walking around, it is easy to see why. Stone walls and moats surround the grounds, and a traditional Japanese landscape garden with a large pond, ornamental stones and manicured pine trees can also be explored The Castle’s Ninomaru Palace consists of multiple buildings connected to each other by corridors with nightingale floors, which squeak when stepped upon as a security measure against intruders!

Nijo Castle

So little time and so much to see. I would concentrate on the most popular sites, and they do not get any more visited then the Nijo castle. At first glance, it seemed small. This is deceiving as the surrounding walls hide the enormous buildings and gardens found inside.

All the palace rooms are filled with tatami mats and elegantly decorated ceilings and sliding doors. Truly regal. Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion

When they called it the gold pavilion, they were bang on – a site where the main build-

ing is covered in gold leaf. Hard to believe and seeing is believing, I would stand there in awe as this historic and decadent Japanese building glistening in the sun with a magnificent pond beneath it and forest all around. Now a Zen temple, its top two floors overlook the large pond, and each floor has a different architectural style. The first floor has a Shinden style with natural wood pillars and white plaster walls that both contrasts and complements the gilded upper stories of the pavilion. Statues of the historical Buddha are stored here as well. Second floor Bukke style used in samurai residences and the third and uppermost floor is in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall, gilded inside and out, and capped with a golden phoenix. The sight is a site to behold, indeed! Kiyomizudera Temple

Getting to this temple is time-consuming feat. Not because it is far, being located in the centre of Kyoto. It is the countless stores that line the street on the way that would draw my

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Canadian World Traveller Summer 2019 issue  

Now in our 17th year of publishing, Canadian World Traveller explores the culture and history of worldwide destinations, sharing the adventu...

Canadian World Traveller Summer 2019 issue  

Now in our 17th year of publishing, Canadian World Traveller explores the culture and history of worldwide destinations, sharing the adventu...

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