The first time that I decided to buy a publication on Kyoto was while waiting for my ハンバーグhamburg (hamburger steak) meal to come at とくらTokura in Katsura in late summer of 2006. As a lot of cafés in Japan do, there was a book shelf of reading material which I took advantage of to take my mind off my hunger, and impatience to receive my food. I picked up a Hanako WEST magazine with the title, “京都ストリート案内Kyoto Street An-nai (Guide)” and香椎 由宇Kashii Yuu on the cover; she looked so beautiful wearing a modern kimono and her hair down (a little rare when it comes to a kimono ensemble) and standing in the door of a Kyoto 町屋machiya (traditional townhouse).
Looking through, I realized that although I knew quite a few of the places in the guide, there was a lot that I didn’t know and my desire to know more pretty much started then.
I also kept the 女友達と一泊2日で行く欲まみれの京都旅 (A Satisfying Two-Day & One-Night Kyoto Trip with Girlfriends) booklet that came with my November 2006 LUCi fashion magazine that I bought around the same time.
However, I let life get in the way and didn’t act until this year when I found myself often alone due to an irregular work schedule; instead of staying home because I had no one with whom to go out, I thought that now was the time to try the places that I’ve been wanting to go for the last half decade.
After participating in the Kyoto 朱印めぐりShuin Meguri (Red Seal Tours) and the 数珠巡礼Juzu Junrei (Rosary Pilgrimage) back in 2009, I’ve been to quite a bit of temples and shrines now. However, I could always go to more because there are so many temples and shrines in Kyoto, so I bought TRAVEL❤STYLE 京都Kyoto 2012.
(FYI: There is a newer version out now.)
In my December 21, 2011, issue of an・an, there was a section called 生田斗真さんと一緒に・・・冬の京都素敵案内 (A Dreamy Winter Guide of Kyoto with Toma Ikuta)…I kept that section also for Ikuta Toma!☺
My exploring Kyoto has been very enjoyable and satisfying: not only do I get to experience all kinds of wonderful places to dine or just relax and various parts of the city but I’m starting to think that I’m not such a 方向音痴houkou-onchi (someone who is bad with directions) after all and that I know the city better than I think! Most of all, although it’s fun to experience Kyoto with a good friend or two, doing things alone once in a while is stimulatingly refreshing and relaxing, rather therapeutic!☺
Update: Since I use this TV program as a source quite often, I figure I should explain a bit about it: “LIFE～夢のカタチYume no Katachi (Shape of Dreams)～” is a half-hour documentary show narrated by Kyoto-born and -raised actor 佐々木倉之助Kuranosuke Sasaki that airs late Saturday morning (at least in Kyoto) on 朝日テレビAsahi TV and covers the continuing dreams of primarily artisans, craftsman and experts in certain fields, usually successful and from the 近畿地方Kinki region. I always look forward to watching it because I find the show’s depiction of the artisans and their work quite charming and inspiring. For more on the show, go to their (Japanese-only) site: http://asahi.co.jp/life/index.html