「I want to experience the atmosphere of ancient Kyoto!」
then this article is for you!
Hello! WABI SABI here, to give foreign visitors the information they need in order to enjoy Japan to its fullest.
What we the information brokers of Japan would like to introduce to you is a recommended spot where you can experience the atmosphere of ancient Kyoto: Gion Shirakawa!
Now let’s look right into the miraculousness of Gion Shirakawa that is frequently used to in recording for drama series’ and movies!
What Kind of Place is Gion Shirakawa?
Kyoto has many beautiful places and sceneries that no matter where you think to go, you will enjoy your time.
If you want to specifically want to feel a harmonious atmosphere, then you should come to Gion Shirakawa, which has been used in recording for movies and TV dramas.
If you walk a little bit from Hanami-koji, where many tourists visit, you can see Shirakawa, but that area is called Shinbashi street.
There are even people that go for a walk through here for almost a full year, and taking pictures is encouraged so why not come here?
You can feel its miraculous atmosphere even if it is in the city and you can see the occasional maiko walking as well.
There are also many couples taking pictures before they get married. It really is a sight that you would want to look at.
Let’s Access and Tour Around!
When accessing the place, if you are going by train then riding the Keihan train line to Gion Shijo station is the closest way to get there.
Walk along the Kamogawa river for a bit then take a right.
After you walk from there, it’ll be easier to navigate the roads and you can enjoy the atmosphere.
There are gift shops, cafes, tea shops, and eateries, so when you feel bit tired you can relax there as well.
If you are going by the subway then it will be a bit farther but you can go south from the Sanjo station or the Higashiyama station.
If you get off at Sanjo station then walking along the Kamogawa river will be more convenient, so you can enjoy the Kyoto scenery while walking.
You may feel it a bit far if you walk from Higashiyama station but, depending on the way you get there, you can go through Chion-in, Yasaka Shrine, and Enyama park as well!
A Harmonious Cityscape
Anyone can feel the marvelousness that comes from what can be called a place that represents Kyoto from the houses lined up, the calmly flowing, beautiful Shirakawa river, to the stone path way.
It is designated as a preservation district for traditional buildings in Kyoto and though it is a small district on paper, it is still jam-packed with charm.
There is a small shrine at the middle of the path that used to be known as Tatsumi Shrine.
The faith around Gion is strong and the Maiko go to pray for the betterment of things.
Furthermore, the bridge close to Tatsumi Shrine is called Tatsumi-bashi and it continues into a small alley in Shirakawa.
You can walk calmly through here and still enjoy the air and atmosphere of Kyoto!
After that you can just slowly take in the Gion Shinbashi bridge then enjoy the city of Kyoto to you hearts content!
There are many who wear Kimono or Yukata depending on the seasons so enjoy yourself and be careful when taking pictures.
The vibrant rivers flow is rough and is able to calm the hearts of those who see it.
You can walk at an enjoyable pace, take pictures, and enjoy the sweets at the famous shops here!
The atmosphere differs from the morning, noon, evening and night, so be sure to come at those different times.
You can get something from the gift shops around that area in celebration of going to a famous tourist spot and very easily plan your own tour as it is in a spot where you can get to other famous shrines easily!
No matter how many times you go there you will find something new and refreshing!
Cherry Blossom Season: A Must Go!
Gion Shirakawas beauty is enough to take your breath away all year round, but the Cherry Blossom season is when it gets better.
There aren’t that many Cherry Blossom trees: only about 40 trees. However, the scenery of the pale pink petals dancing through the air is a sight to behold!
However, there are a lot of people during the day so taking pictures without getting their heads or faces or even bodies in frame is relatively impossible.
If you are okay with that, then that is fine, but we recommend that you go early in the morning if you aren’t.
There is more rain during the Cherry Blossom season but when it is luckily a clear day, you can basically take a picture for a postcard or a photo album with how there is nobody there!
After 7am, people will start to walk about, so if you plan accordingly with the early morning visits, then you can look around without wasting time.
At night, the area is lit up, busting out a bewitching atmosphere that differs from the day, showing a different face of the area.
It can be expected that the later it becomes, the less people there are, but as expected of it being downtown, there will be a little bit of people passing through.
The reason you can calmly enjoy Gion Shirakawa, even though there are many people, may be because it is in Kyoto.
It is wonderful that you can take a morning walk, enjoy the view after lunch, eat Japanese sweets as a snack, watch the evening, and feel the rich air at night.
There is an ever present confident air drifting through, that will make you feel calm even if there are many people.
Make the best of the trains, subways, and buses and come visit!
Passing up on Gion Shirakawa would certainly be a waste!