In the Land of the Rising Sun: Part Four

KYOTO

Kyoto is one of the most preserved cities in Japan - 2,000 temples and shrines dot the sprawling town. Nicknamed "the thousand-year capital," Kyoto rivals Istanbul and Rome when it comes to history. I'd like to share with you three iconic locations from this world treasure.

1. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Kyoto's history and preserved culture bring tourists from around the globe. So I went to Fushimi Inari early in the morning and had the place almost completely to myself.

Fushimi Inari rests at the base of a mountain. It is essentially a path of Torii gates and Shinto shrines that spans almost four kilometers. Hiking along the winding path under the gates and through the forested hills, I almost lost all touch with the real world. Luckily or unluckily, occasional striking views of the Kyoto skyline kept me just barely within this realm of existence.

2. Bamboo Grove - Arashiyama Found on almost every list of the most beautiful places in the world, the bamboo forest is best in the morning when there are no crowds. Thousands of the slender, towering stalks rustle in the gentle breeze as the sun comes out for the day and filters soft light down to the trail below.

Once again, I went early in the morning and had the grove almost completely to myself. This time, there were just a few other photographers out and about, trying to get their take on a photo we've all seen a thousand times.

3. Yasaka Pagoda - Gion District When I first got into photography last year, I came across an image of Yasaka Pagoda that just spoke to me on a deeper level. It just seemed to be "quintessential Japan." So of course I'd make it my primary photography goal in Kyoto.

The Hanatouro Lights Festival was underway during my time here. It provided a perfect extra element to the already magnificent Yasaka Pagoda and historic Gion District.

FIN For more photos from Japan and around the world, please visit my website: www.mappingwanderlust.com

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