Highlights and access methods of Gion District (Kyoto Prefecture)
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Gion, located in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto City, is a traditional district of arts and culture where the old-world charm of Kyoto is strongly preserved. Especially in Hanamikoji Street and the Shirakawa area, it is known for its scenic townscape lined with maiko, tea houses, and old townhouses. Furthermore, the Gion Festival, held every July, is one of the three major festivals in Japan and is famous for attracting a large number of tourists.
In this article, we will explain the attractions of Gion District in Kyoto Prefecture and how to access it for those who are traveling to Japan from overseas.
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Gion, located in Kyoto Prefecture, is known as a district where traditional Japanese culture is strongly preserved. You can see symbolic landscapes of Japan, such as streets lined with maiko and geisha, traditional tea houses, and wooden townhouses. At night, you may even catch sight of maiko and geisha on their way to tea houses.
The main street of Gion, Hanamikoji Street, is lined with traditional restaurants and tea houses. In addition to Kyoto cuisine, there are also Italian restaurants, shabu-shabu, sweets shops, and more, allowing you to enjoy delicious meals not only for dinner but also for lunch. If you have a restaurant in mind, it is recommended to make a reservation. Moreover, in the vicinity of Hanamikoji Street, there are many stores where you can enjoy a variety of dining and shopping experiences.
In the Shirakawa district of Gion, a cobbled street and rows of cherry and willow trees continue along the Shirakawa River for about 200m, creating a very picturesque scene. It is famous as a photography spot, especially around Tatsumi Bridge, where many people take commemorative photos. If you go further to the old gate in front of Chion-in Temple, you can see a different scenery of Shirakawa with a different atmosphere. Please take your time and enjoy a leisurely stroll.
In addition, Gion is also the place where one of Japan's most famous festivals, the Gion Festival, is held. It takes place every July and is characterized by luxurious float processions, and Kyoto city is bustling with stalls and tourists enjoying the festival. Renting a yukata or kimono will surely make your experience even more enjoyable.
The address near the entrance of Gion Hanamikoji is "571 Gion-cho South Side, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto". The nearest station is Keihan Railway Gion-Shijo Station. From the station, it is about a 5-minute walk to the entrance of Gion Hanamikoji. Or Hankyu Railway Kyoto Kawaramachi Station. From the station, it takes about 8 minutes on foot to the entrance of Gion Hanamikoji.
Several notable attractions are located near Gion District.
Located at the heart of Gion, Yasaka Shrine is a prominent religious site where many festivals and events are held throughout the year. It is particularly known for the Gion Festival, featuring a procession of stunning floats. Additionally, the shrine is reputed to bring good fortune in romantic endeavors, making it a popular spot among young people.
A short distance to the south of Gion, Kiyomizu-dera offers breathtaking views from its grand stage. The temple is famous for its holy water, which many visitors partake in for blessings. Designated as a National Treasure, the temple's Main Hall and three-storied pagoda are also impressive attractions, drawing visitors year-round.
Just a short walk from Kiyomizu-dera, Kodai-ji is renowned for its beautiful Japanese garden and tea room. Visitors can appreciate the calm atmosphere and traditional culture here. Particularly during the fall season, the illuminated garden offers a mesmerizing view.
Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka Slopes
These charming stone-paved slopes connecting Gion and Kiyomizu-dera are lined with traditional townhouses and small shops. Especially during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons, these slopes offer picturesque sceneries that charm every visitor.
Official site about Gion District :
Thank you for reading to the end.
( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )