John Wears: P-HONNYER Pants, JFOLLYER Blazer, J-QUEST Bomber Jacket by DIESEL – Pike Derby Shoes by Dune London x Kit Neale – Sinatra Trilby by Laird London, Sawer Bumbag by Eastpak

Jenna Wears: D-JOSEF-P Jacket, Trainers and Leather Backpack by DIESEL

This marks the second time i’ve been to the humble city of Kyoto. It’s a place that holds a big spot in my heart, as the first time I visited was during my Honeymoon. Although it was once the capital city of Japan it’s very different to the other major cities like Tokyo and Osaka that are known to be very packed and busy. The main differences can be seen in its pride in preserving the traditional that translates throughout all of it’s 11 wards. Streets are clad with old houses and in between those are various mini shrines and temples, that gives it a great mystical atmosphere that sets it apart from other cities. And its grand temple structures are not limited to a small areas but places like Fushimi Inari are built into the sides of mountains. This one in particular takes about an hour to reach the utmost peak of the shrine, walking through over 12,000 tori gates, passing waterfalls, mini shrines and little tea houses situated along the route. We arrived here around 5:00am so we could scale it before sunrise – and what an experience passing through these eery structures in the dark with nothing but fireflies around. If you get here anytime past 8:30am you’ll be met with waves of tourists that will not stop coming till it becomes dark again, so if you do decide to visit – make sure you’re up early!

And if you’re a fan of touristy spots then they come a plenty in Kyoto. Around every corner is an Instagram photo waiting to be taken. We stayed just east of the centre of Kyoto city near the Kamo river and Kiyomizu Gojo station. This area is perfect for getting around with Kyoto’s major food and shopping district just a 10-minute walk away. Here you’ll find a lot of traditional dishes and street food in Nishiki Market, High-end shopping on Shijo-dori and perhaps you might even spot a real Geiko (Geisha) emerging from a riverside tea house in the infamous Gion Corner. I managed to capture a shot of a whole group of them tucked away in a back street. You can tell the real ones from  the intricate paint details on their backs, their hand painted Kimonos and the expensive ornaments tucked into their flawlessly designed hairdos. The Gion area is one of the better examples of how

the traditional can blend harmoniously with the modern. Just East of the river you’ll be able to explore the more city central temples like Yasaka Shrine, Heian Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera. The latter of which makes for a really nice walk. As you walk up to the main shrine you’ll pass a lot of shops selling handmade Japanese products from Kimonos to chopsticks to Bone China and even swords and knives. The buildings – mostly pre-war era give a sense of the old with small side alleys to walk through to get to hidden restaurants and tea houses. And once you reach Kiyomizu-dera temple, you’re able to marvel at the great view of Kyoto city from above. Try and spot Taisanji amongst other towering temple structures poking through the trees on top of the terrace of the temple. And when it gets dark, head to Yasaka shrine where the whole temple is lit by lanterns during the night – If you’re a romantic like that.

Now when it comes to food in Kyoto, there’s a lot! My favourite place to eat (in fact my favourite place in Japan) is Ramen Sen no Kaze; a quaint little ramen shop tucked behind Nishiki Market. The ambience was homely serving around 30 people at a time, smooth jazz playing in the background and if you get to sit at the counter you’ll be able to see the chefs prepare your meal. And trust me… It’s worth the wait (as you’ll probably have to take a number and wait an hour or two at busy times) The pork bone broth is smooth and silky and the noodles have just the right amount of toughness. And this place makes the Chashu pork the way I like it – slightly crispy on the surface! Another place worth visiting is Ippudo – a ramen chain restaurant famous for its Hakata-style ramen. Always have it with a half-boiled egg! Now I know you’re probably wondering – what if i don’t like ramen? Well, theres a plethora of different traditional Japanese restaurants, Izakaya bars that sell Yakitori (fried food on skewers) and Tea Houses that serve the freshest of Sushi dishes – And if you head to the Pontocho Area you could even book a place served by real Geisha – although it’d cost you an arm and a leg.

There’s something about Kyoto that has a sense of magic. And that’s not to do with the sheer size of it’s 2000+ temples and shrines. It’s the people that really brings the city to life – with everyone working together for what’s best for their city. It’s no secret that the Japanese’ attention to detail is flawless but their perseverance to preserve the traditional aspects of old Kyoto and its culture is what makes it a treat for us travellers. They take much pride in their past and to be able to somewhat experience what it was like 100 years ago or more is amazing. That’s why it’s known as one of the best places to visit in the world. Want to walk through a bamboo grove? There’s one in Arashiyama! Check. See a pavilion decked out in gold? Check. Ride bikes along a Japanese river with old-style house either side? Check. So whether you’re a city boy or nomadic seeker of the old, it’s hard not to fall in love with culture and the spirit of Kyoto.


Written  by John Jarrett @_johnjarrett
Shot  by John Jarrett & Jenna Jarrett @sleepingtilnoon

Special Thanks to DIESEL


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