Enjoy retro Kyoto while sightseeing of Nijo-jo Castle
Historic Nijo-jo Castle was built in 1603. The world heritage sites in Kyoto are mostly temples and shrines except for this castle. It is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto, and you can enjoy lots of its attractions in a one spot such as luxurious Ninomaru Goten, colorful Karamon Gate which is the main gate, and Ninomaru garden spread out in front of Ninomaru Goten. There are also some other things to enjoy in this area around Nijo-jo Castle. It is a town walking around Sanjo-dori street from Oike-dori street. Shopping is the must-do thing if you come to Japan, but looking around the city is the real pleasure of Japan trip too.
Stop by Japanese sweats shop “Ritsuami” if you visit Nijo-jo Castle!
Let's have a little meal first before starting a town walk. Japanese sweets shop “Ritsuami” is located on Oike-dori street, ten-minute walk from the castle.
The inside of the store is elegant and bright like the exterior. Beautiful packages of sweets are displayed and there is an eat-in space inside of the shop. “Ritsuami” is the flagship product, and it is also the name of the shop.
When I was looking at the products at the shop, a staff came to me and serve me green tea. The small piece of sweets was accompanied next to the warm tea. It was the chestnut sweets “Ritsuami,” which I've just seen. The white lumpy surface was sugar and tasted very refined. It may be for adults because of the bitterness of chestnut skin.
It was so yummy! Well, let's have a look at other interesting sweets. You can buy a combination of Chirimen fabric porch and favorite sweets such as candy, confetti and so on. The contrast of colors between fabric and string of a porch and tiny sweets seem to make people happy.
This time, I bought the recommended seasonal sweet.
When you open the package, the good smell of bamboo will spread out. Outside is jiggly kuzu, and sweet beans paste is inside. If you put on kinako powder, you will be full even if you eat only one piece.
“Chukyo Post office” near Nijo-jo Castle, you can enjoy the old atmosphere
Going forward on Oike-dori street to the end of Karasuma Oike Station, then going down Sanjo a little bit, I found a building with a nice atmosphere. It seemed to be very historical building with nice brown bricks. Is it European style?
Actually, this building is still used as a post office. The outer wall has been kept as the original and only the inside was refurbished. It is truly only ancient Kyoto can be done.
After experience of Kyoto culture near Nijo-jo Castle, let's go shopping for souvenirs!
Then, I came to “Kyoto Bunka Museum (The Museum of Kyoto).” In the general exhibition room on the second floor, exhibitions of traditional crafts, culture, history, festivals, etc. related to Kyoto are displayed. When I went there, I could actually see the decoration used for yamahoko of Gion Festival. You can enjoy the culture of Kyoto more deeply by watching them closely. A foreign language audio guide is available to rent.
On the first floor, there is a street reproducing the landscape of town houses in the end of the Edo period (about 160 years ago) called “Roji Tenpo,” and restaurants and shops are lined up.
“Kyoto Rakushikan” is located on the end of Roji Tenpo. This place has a wide selection of paper, such as handmade Japanese paper and western paper from all over Japan, in various colors and kinds. You can also purchase the pieces made from paper.
When I came into the shop, a Japanese paper doll caught my attention. I felt that the doll of the Japanese design made using glittering pattern Japanese paper were so beautiful. The shop's recommendation was an original product inspired by “The Tale of Genji” written about 1,000 years ago. There were Japanese paper dolls on the right picture, origami paper, memo pads, and postcards.
The annex of Kyoto Bunka Museum was designated as an important cultural property in 1969 as a representative Western-style building in Meiji period. It was originally build as Kyoto brunch of the Bank of Japan. Its brick style seems to be very sturdy. Actually, it is connected inside to the main building which has the modern appearance.
The interior of the annex was beautifully preserved. Lots sunlight comes in and it feels pretty bright. It also characterized by white walls and heavy brown pillars.
The glass was fit into the ceiling and light enters from there a little. Speaking of Kyoto, we may think of temples or kimono, but in fact beautiful historical Western-style buildings have to be mentioned as well.
After looking around the inside of the annex, it is a time of shopping for Japanese souvenirs! In this shop, I found pouches and wallets with a combination of Japanese pattern and dog.
Kyoto is also famous for Maiko. There were various items inspired by Maiko. Cookies, face towels, masking tapes and oil blotting paper, all of them have Maiko's illustrations.
On the way back, using subway from the nearest Karasuma Oike Station is convenient. It is three stops to Kyoto Station and takes about five minutes.
Well, today I enjoyed a town walk and souvenir shopping around Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto. I would be glad if you may find some favorite places. Why don't you come and enjoy strolling around town where the old days’ atmosphere still remains, and shopping for recommended souvenirs.
“Kyo Kasho Ritsuami”
●137-6, Shikiamicho, Oike-dori Aburanokoji Nishiiru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
●9:00 – 20:00
●Open year round
“Nakagyo Post Office”
● 30, Hishiyacho, Sanjo-dori Higashinotoin Higashiiru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
“Kyoto Bunka Museum (The Museum of Kyoto)”
●Sanjo Takakura, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
●General Exhibition · Annex 10:00 – 19:30 (Admission until 19:00)
※ Business hours for shops in Roji may differ depending on shops
*The above information was last updated May 12, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
*Please understand that the products introduced in photographs may not be available, since the products of the shops are always replaced.
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