Tiny trams and kimono forests

We’re headed to see some cheeky monkeys and a kimono forest next but in order to get there we’re heading on an adorable little tram line known as Randen.

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The Randen tramline was founded in 1910. It’s been running for over 100 years and runs from Shijo Omiya to Arashiyama and Kitano Hakubaicho.

The Randen Line operated by Keifuku Electric Railroad and is considered the last tram line in Kyoto.

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I get over excited by the little display of everyone’s favourite depressed egg yolk Gudetama at the tram station!

Dismebarking at Arashiyama we make a brief visit to the kimono forest at the station.

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It is a wonderful display made up of pieces of colourful textiles dyed in the traditional Kyo-yuzen style.

There are approximately 600 examples of Kyo Yuzen in perspex pillars with around 32 different patterns.

It’s a fantastical, colourful slice of tradition but also whimsy. I loved it!

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Also you can take a look at the Atagoike Dragon Pond. This is where people come to pray and make wishes.

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Here’s a close up of just a few of the sumptuous Yuzen patterns.

The forest is lit up at night which makes it even more ethereal and beautiful. It’s also completely free to visit – tourist bonus!

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Glittering glorious temple

Next on our tourist hit list is the shimmering, glittering glory of The Temple of the Golden Pavillion.

This beautiful slice of golden glory is known as Kinkaku-ji meaning the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion” but it is officially named Rokuon-ji “Deer Garden Temple”

It is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto and is a glorious sight when the sunlight reflects off its gilded surfaces.

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The present building dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt after the original was burnt to the ground.

It’s three stories high, approximately 12.5 meters in height and functions as a shariden, a building that houses important relics of the Buddha.

The use of lots of gold is important because of its underlying meaning.

The gold is used to mitigate and purify any pollution or negative thoughts and feelings towards death

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The Pavilion is set in a beautiful garden which uses the idea of borrowing of scenery (“shakkei”)

Shakkei is a traditional East Asian garden design principle which incorporates background landscape into the composition of a garden.

The pavilion extends over Kyōko-chi, the Mirror Pond, that reflects the building giving you a double hit of its shiny wonderfulness.

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The temple is a must see on the sightseeing itinerary, which means that it does get very busy with other temple baggers.

But if you like bling and if you like temples, then it’s definitely worth braving the hordes!

Quaint Kyoto

Here’s a few more snaps from the beautiful back streets of Kyoto. The deep red wooden panels are so pretty and calming.

It’s like stepping back in time to a more cultured, gentle era where everyone is poised and delicate like little dolls.

We happen to stumble upon this gorgeous newly wedded couple in traditional Japanese garb.

I love the lovely floral wedding kimono that the bride is wearing.

These young rickshaw runners really earn their money as they pull their customers along purely using their own strength!

Here’s a few more candid snaps of some local ladies in their lovely colourful outfits.

And, in case it’s not feeling Japanese enough for you, here’s a graceful heron too.

Memoirs of a Geisha bridge

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The small Shirakawa canal crosses the geisha district of Gion in Kyoto.

Several bridges are built over the canal, the largest of them being Tatsumi Bashi.

This tiny bridge has been made a tourist hot spot after featuring in the film Memoirs of a Geisha.

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It’s an adorable little spot with its orange picket fence and old fashioned lanterns.

Lots of newly married couples get their photos taken here and it is also popular with young girls in traditional costumes too.

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The whole area around the canal feels like a picture postcard of traditional Japan. Almost a Disneyesque take on the country.

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Temples and angry hornets

Following on from the frantic traditional shopping streets of Gion we’re heading to another evocative part of Kyoto, the tearooms on the canal sides.

On route we visit another pretty traditional temple that warns of “bees” DO NOT BE FOOLED – these are not our cute little bumble variety, hell no. These are deadly asian hornets – a very different, and evil, beast!

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Sadly I have no idea which of the many Kyoto temples this one happens to be (bad travel blogger I know!) But its style typifies the tranquail, peaceful oasis of calm that these spiritual places offer.

As usual the man serves as my photo prop – stand there, hop on that!

Here’s an adorable little sign, who knows what it is advertising?!

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You spot lots of intriguing sights along the winding little back streets. I enjoyed this odd bric a brac shop that seems to sell everything from war helmets to cart wheels.

Finally we make it to the pretty back water canals where traditional teashops hangover the calming waters.

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KAWAII KITTYS!!!!!

Stop right there, this post carries a serious Kawaii warning! That is all . .  proceed at your own risk . .

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Imagine my delight, on the back streets of Gion in Kyoto  ..  That’s right, it’s Hello Kitty food!!

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Tiny little sugary cute kitten faces with unidentified pink stuff . .

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OMG kitten ice cream and fruit .. thank you Japan – yet another reason to adore this country!!

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It’s a Maccha Latte  . .  with floating Hello Kitty!!

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Is it sugar? Is it savoury . .  guess I’ll never know, all we do know is IT IS CUTE!!!

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Do you have tooth ache yet? It is all so darn sugary sweet and uber Kawaii!!!

Here’s a few none edible cuties as well. These are tiny little good luck charms that bring harmony in all areas of life. I wanted them all . . .

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And finally on our whistle stop tour of Kyoto Kawaii is this gentleman and his simply adorable canine companion . .

Look at his little furry face and tiny traditional costume!! Can it get any cuter . .