Quirky Kyoto

I LOVED Kyoto. Kyoto is known for being a historically significant city filled with world heritage sites and temples, but that wasn’t really what I loved about it. I just felt at home there almost immediately; something about the city’s vibes was on my same wavelength. As I spent days wandering the random neighborhoods and districts, I kept thinking ‘I could totally live here.'

Here is a list of some of my favourite characteristics of Kyoto-
  • Quaint- You can turn down so many random street corners in Kyoto and end up on an adorable block with gardens and small homes or colorful bicycles or school children playing games in the street. Basically, the city has major points in the cute category.
Spent a whole afternoon in this adorable coffee shop-
  • Tranquil- Things in Kyoto were quiet and calm. That’s not to say it lacked fun events or shopping or even traffic, but it lacked the hectic, frantic energy in most big cities despite having 1.5 million residents. Kyoto had a small town feel to me.

Locals chilling on the river banks near Sanjo Station

  • Bike-Friendly- I really liked this about Kyoto! Public transportation was great, but the cities’ embrace of bike culture was also really heartening. It felt like being back in the Netherlands because of the sheer volume of bicycles.

Notice all the bikes in front of
  • Feel Good Town- Kyoto had very positive vibes. In Hong Kong, we say ‘work hard, play harder’ which sounds fun but actually leads to a lot of stressed out urbanites. People in Kyoto just seemed content, happy, and courteous.

Teramachi shopping arcade in Kyoto-
Lots of leisurely strolling going on here

  • Historical- Kyoto is home to dozens of temples and gardens, and the famous Gion geisha district. Lots of artisan markets sell fans, coin purses, platform sandals, Japanese silks and snacks, etc. You can get a really strong sense of Japanese cultural history visiting Kyoto.

Temple of the Golden Pavilion peeking out above the trees

  • Laid-back- Kyoto didn’t feel as high-strung as Tokyo. People were much more relaxed and it didn’t seem like there was as much pressure to look impressive. Even on a Saturday night downtown, things were happening, but in a much more chill manner. It is more of a pub city than a nightclub city, which is fine by me. Cheers to Kyoto for not being pretentious at all!

Yakitori pub food- chicken skewers


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