Having Fun In A Rainy Day In Kyoto
Are you planning a trip to Kyoto? Have you already had your schedule almost done but been worried about what if it’s rainy? Are you worried about you might not be satisfied when visiting the well-known temples and shrines in a rainy day? Actually even in a rainy day, there are still so many fascinating spots that will make your trip perfect in Kyoto. Let’s take a look!
JR Kyoto Station Neighborhood
To visit Kyoto, the JR Kyoto Station is definitely the most important transportation site you will use. There are plenty of facilities near by or even connected to the station where you can spend all day and no need to worry about being bored.
There are three main areas inside or connecting to Kyoto Station Building. CUBE is a department store located on B2 to 1st floor of the building, not only including shops of fashions and souvenirs, but also many convenient services such us hair salon, flower shop, bookstore, and so on since it is just right beneath Kyoto Station.
PORTA is an underground shopping street beneath the bus station in front of Kyoto Station. Not only fashions or souvenirs, there is also a quite wide area for a food court where you can find Japanese food, Korean food, Chinese food, Italian food, and so on. And of course, you cannot miss the amazing sweets here! Visit ‘Nana’s green tea’ and try the sweets made of matcha from Uji, Kyoto, which is one of the most famous sources of Japanese green tea.
The 3rd part is Isetan Kyoto, another department store basically targeting to higher budget consumers who are looking for really good quality gifts.
After shopping for hours, you must try some ramen at ‘Ramen Koji’, where includes 9 popular ramen restaurants on the 11th floor in Kyoto Station Building. Avoid the rush hour or you might need to line up for quite some time!
Right in front of Kyoto Station, you may find the most famous landmark of Kyoto, Kyoto Tower, which was built in 1964, and was partially reformed for it’s 50th anniversary in 2014. In this commercial complex, there is an observation deck where you may see the view of Kyoto City at 100 meter above ground. You may also enjoy a relaxing night at the beer garden or in the lounge bar in the tower. From the 2nd to B2 floor of Kyoto Tower, it’s called ‘SANDO’, including a food hall where you may enjoy plenty types of cuisines, a market where you may buy special, authentic Japanese snacks or souvenirs, and a workshop where you may experience some Japanese cultures.
If you are fond of Japanese electrical products or just need help on your Wi-Fi during your trip, don’t miss Yodobashi Camera or Bic Camera. They are two of the largest retailers of electrical products and communication products, and are both really close to Kyoto Station. It will totally no problem that you spend all day to search anything you need such as the electrical products, travelling goods, souvenirs, Japanese sake, popular toys and TV games, animation goods, fashions and cosmetics.
The downtown in Kyoto is located at around the intersection of Shijo-dori Street and Kawaramachi-dori Street. On the east side of this intersection, it’s Gion Area, which is well known as the geisha district. On the other side, it’s a huge commercial area composed of many shopping streets. Most of the shopping streets here have roofs connected together so that the visitors may not get wet in rainy days and may amble along the streets.
Besides of department stores, there are shops and stores of any type, such as fashion brands, sportswear, manga or animation goods, cosmetics, sweets, game centers, and karaokes. On Teramachi-dori Street, between Sanjo-dori Street and Oike-dori Street, there are many galleries with art pieces exhibited or sold; meanwhile, on Gokomachi-dori Street, you may find several petit shops selling vintage clothes and creatively designed goods.
You would definitely like to visit Nishiki Food Market, which is located on the Nishikikoji-dori Street, and is called ‘the kitchen of Kyoto’. This traditional market started from 400 years ago. With natural cold spring water, it was functioned as a fish market at the beginning. After the establishment of Kyoto Central Wholesale Market in 1927, Nishiki Food Market turned to its present status. In Nishiki Market, you will find abundance of traditional Japanese flavors, for example, tons of varieties of pickles made of Kyoto local vegetable of which Kyoto people are proud because of the good quality of water, the different kinds of seaweed and miso paste that are indispensable to Japanese dishes, the typical grocery stores where the locals do their daily purchases, and of course, interesting treats and snacks to fulfill visitors’ curiosity.
Experiencing Tradition Culture
When it comes to Kyoto, one of the oldest cities in Japan, which is the capital city of Japan for over 1000 years, you must try something special that can bring you back to the old times—to experience traditional Japanese cultures.
In Gion Area, the most famous ancient district in Kyoto, although you may meet geisha in person, usually it is quite pricy. However, at Gion Corner, you just pay a reasonable price for a ticket then you may see maiko (junior geisha) performing Kyo-mai dance and also the other 6 types of Japanese traditional arts and performance at once, such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement, koto(an musical instrument), Gagaku court music, Kyogen theater, and Bunraku puppet theater. The performance is held two times a day, about 1 hour for each section. They even offer discounts for foreign visitors, so why not take good advantage of it?
If you are not satisfied with just having matcha sweets or watching how people make matcha tea at Gion Corner, we recommend you to make a bowl of matcha tea on your own. In tea ceremony classroom, En (means relation, bonds and karma), the professional teacher will explain and show you that to hold a tea ceremony, how the place should look like, what the tools that should be prepared and how they are used, what the steps are and how the process go, and the spirits and meanings of each action.
Another wonderful thing that we highly recommend you to try is to make Wagashi, Japanese sweets, by yourself. Wagashi is definitely a perfect symbol of ‘omotenashi’, the spirit of treating the guests with upmost hospitality. In Kanshundo, the wagashi maker who has its history for over 150 years, the wagashi expert will arrange different menu according to the seasons, show you step by step how to knead the basic dough, and how to sculpt the delicate shapes or patterns with different tools. After finishing your own wagashi, you may enjoy them with a bowl of hot matcha tea served there.
As the old saying says, ‘ichigo ichie’, which means that an encounter at the place happens only one time and it never repeats. When visiting Kyoto, please cherish the chance and enjoy your unique trip no matter whether it rains or not. Hope you will have irreplaceable memories in Kyoto!