Enjoy shopping, etc. at tourist spots in the Kinkaku-ji Temple area!


I'm sure all of you know Kinkaku-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On your first trip to Kyoto, most of you would probably first go see the sparkling Kinkaku-ji Temple. It is a well-known place, but there are many other tourist spots that are not so famous, but are worth visiting. I would like to introduce you to those places. I am sure you will like them.

The area is too good to visit only Kinkaku-ji Temple!

The “Wara-tenjingu Shrine” is located about 200 meters south of Kinkaku-ji Temple. Lions stand on either side of the torii (large gateway), and unlike ordinary shrines, I felt a different kind of atmosphere. No wonder it is called “Tenjin-gu (sky deity shrine).” Its official name is “Shikichi Jinja Shrine,” enshrining the goddess of safe birth, “Konohananosakuya-himenomikoto.” I heard that it was moved from Kitayama to its current place as a tutelary deity when Kinkaku-ji Temple was built.

From old times, many people have been visiting Wara-tenjingu Shrine. Even today, on dog day of a month, expectant mothers and her family visit the shrine to pray for a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Dog day is one of 12 horary signs, repeating every 12 days. Since dogs have safe births, expectant women pray for a safe birth on a dog day in the 5th month of their pregnancy. I hope all the expectant mothers have a safe birth. In the precinct of the shrine, a teahouse sells a Japanese confectionary called “Ubumochi” every month on a dog day. Maybe I will buy one next time I visit.

The name “Kinukake no Michi Road (silk draped road)” comes from Mt. Kinugasa-yama, which is used as part of the scenery of Kinkaku-ji Temple. The name came from an elegant historical event from long ago, when Emperor Uda wanted to see a snowy scenery in the mid-summer, so white silk was draped on the mountain, likening it to a snow-capped mountain.

The road that connects Kinkaku-ji Temple to Ryuan-ji Temple then to Ninna-ji Temple is 2.5 kilometers. It is an 18-minute walk from Kinkaku-ji Temple to Ryuan-ji Temple, and an 11-minute walk from Ryuan-ji Temple to Ninna-ji Temple. It is a great road to take a stroll while admiring Mt. Kinugasa-yama. If you don't have enough time, you can use the bus, too. Not many people walk this road when visiting Kinkaku-ji Temple. Let's see what we have on this road.

You can't just pass by! Shops that you can't resist taking a peek

If you walk a little from Kinkaku-ji Temple towards Kinukake no Michi Road, you will see a shop that stands out, decorated with colorful umbrellas. At the entrance, there is a sign that reads “Wagasa-ya (Japanese-style umbrella shop),” and you'll know right away that it is a specialty shop for Japanese-style umbrellas. There are many types of patterns, too.

The name of the shop is “Hokusai GRAPHIC.” It is a relatively new shop in the area. It has been about six months since it started business. There were many Japanese-style umbrellas displayed in the shop. I was told that they are now able to produce various patterns thanks to modern craftsmanship. A shop assistant told me that the patterns of the umbrellas are unique, but the prices are affordable. Since the shop is new, it may not be on a map yet, but since it stands out, you won't have trouble finding it.

As I walked further from the umbrella shop, I saw a large sign that reads “Mokuhanga (woodprint).” Being able to experience art like this is one of the things to enjoy in Kyoto.

This “Gallery Gado” houses woodprints of Masao Ido and other artists. I was told that they opened the gallery here so that more people will understand each art better. Landscape paintings under the theme of four seasons of Kyoto by artists and craftsmen are also exhibited here.

As a female office worker, the shop that I would especially like to recommend in the Kinkaku-ji Temple area is “Kyo-komono Kinugasa”

Located at the entrance of Ryuan-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage, Kinugasa has been in business for 50 years. In Kyoto, there are many shops that have been in business for several hundred years, but still, having a history of 50 years is an amazing thing. Here, since they first started business, they have been selling small articles and accessories that go well with kimonos.

Many items were being sold in the shop, and they looked beautiful from any angle. I wished I could buy all of them and take them home.

When I was looking at a certain item, the store manager came up to me and showed me how to use it.

So that's how you open them! This is called “Nejiri bako (twisting box),” a nice, cute name. I heard they were first made to put scent bags in them, but of course, you can put your accessories and small items in them, too. You can easily open them by twisting the end. Cute way of opening something, isn't it?

They told me that they started using Japanese-taste designs 6 years ago, and started making items that use Japanese-style designs, and re-created them to be used easily in modern times. They are hand bags and accessories that can be used without wearing a kimono. They also have many original items, and in Japan, the shop is the only place you can buy them. I heard the store manager had the idea to make them, and he designed them, too. Most of the original items use Nishijin-ori fabric, which is very Kyoto-like. I very much liked the small Kyoto items that were re-created because they are progressing with the times while still preserving the Kyoto tradition.

I was there just in time for Japan's Hinamatsuri (doll festival) season. Hinamatsuri has a long history. During the season, people display the dolls in their homes. Generally, the dolls are made from wood and plaster, but this shop's dolls were made from woven fabric. Unlike traditional Hinamatsuri dolls, they are light and durable, easy to take home as a souvenir.

Today, I introduced you to the back street of Kinkaku-ji Temple, and some places that are still not well-known. How did you like them? Aside from taking a stroll, you can use the bus so as to save time and stamina. I hope you will get the chance to visit the area.

●30-6, Kinugasababacho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Gallery Gado
●Hiranomiyajikicho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
●Open year-round

Kyo-komono Kinugasa
●5, Goryo no shita cho, Ryoanji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
●Closed on Tuesdays (except for Tuesdays that fall on a holiday or a busy season)

*The above information was last updated March 7, 2018. For further information, please contact the facility directly.

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