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Kodaiji - Kyoto

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Located at 526 Shimokawaracho, Higashiyama District, Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture, Kodaiji (高台寺) is the largest sub-temple of the Kennin-ji branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. 
Kodaiji HistoryFormally called Jubuzan Kodaiji, the temple was established in 1606 by Nene (also called Kodai-in) in memory of her late husband Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was one of Japan's greatest historical figures. After Nene's death, she was also enshrined in the temple vicinity. 


Kodaiji's main hall was originally covered in lacquer and gold. It also features richly decorated interiors surrounded by picturesque Zen gardens. These gardens are presently designated as Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty. The temple also possesses several objects and structures designated as Important Cultural Assets like the portrait of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Main Gate, and the Spirit Hall. 






I got to visit Kodaiji when I was hunting for the 9 Healing Buddha Statuesof Higashiyama during the 4th day of our …

Kyoto's Edo-Style Starbucks Revisited 2019

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It was only last 2018 that my wife, daughter, and I first got to visit Kyoto's famed Edo-style Starbucks. We revisited it again during the 4th day of our 2019 Japan trip. 

For those who are still unfamiliar with the Edo Style Starbucks, this branch is the first-ever Japanese-style Starbucks in the world. That means this branch is designed using Japanese aesthetics like tatami mats and Noren curtains. Since this branch is located in the historicNinenzaka Areawhere the stores and establishments were preserved and still retains the traditional machiya-style Kyoto buildings, it is not a surprise that this branch is housed into one of those traditional buildings as well. 




The machiya where the Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Chaya branch (its official name) was incorporated was actually built over 100 years ago. Surprisingly, Starbucks incorporated its modern facilities in the machiya so well that the historic structure retains more than 90 percent of its original interior and exterior …

Maruyama Park - Kyoto

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Located at Higashiyama District in Kyoto City, Maruyama Park is a vast public park next to Yasaka Jinja Shrine. It is designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty.

Also called Maruyama Koen, Maruyama Park is a famous spot for cherry blossom viewing parties locally known as hanami. Hence, the park tends to be very crowded every first week of April. The park is also a popular spot during New Year's Eve.


Despite having plenty of sakura trees, the star attraction and centerpiece of the park is its shidarezakura also known as a weeping cherry tree in English. To fully appreciate this tree, try visiting the park at night when it is lit up. You'd surely love the illuminated tree which stands out among the other trees in the park.







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