Kyoto - Nintendo, Kiyomizu Temple, Gion

(Updated: October 7, 2007 with Google Map; June 4, 2013 with high resolution photos and new descriptions)

On December 27, 2005, I went to Kyoto from Nagoya. Going to Kyoto took about 2 hours by local train, it involved going up a mountain pass. When it was going up the mountain pass, it was snowing hard so it looked really nice. I had to transfer trains at some station in the mountainous area. At the station there was a lot of snow and fresh snow too.

I arrived at Kyoto at around 9 am or 10 am, and I only had 2 places that I wanted to visit, the Nijo Castle (二条城) and the Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺). I wanted to visit these 2 places because the first time I came here in 2004 I had already seen to other stuff. Once again, the Nijo Castle was closed, last year when my family and I came to Kyoto, we went to Nijo Castle late and it was closed and we came back on another day after doing sightseeing elsewhere and we were late and it was closed so this is the 3rd time I came and it was closed. The Kiyomizu Temple was open but since I had all day I wanted to “visit” Nintendo headquarters. I asked the tourist information where it was and it was only 2 subway stops away from the train station.

The following map shows the places that I visited on this day in Kyoto.






Arrival at Kyoto station in the morning. One can't help but be impressed by the scale of the building.

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The area in front of Kyoto station with Kyoto Tower in the background. This is north of the station.

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Observation deck at the top of Kyoto station looking south.

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The Shinkansen (high speed rail) station is located to the south of the station. Here you can see a Shinkansen train pulling out of the station.

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The architecture of the station.

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The interesting thing about the station is that you can walk to the top floor via staircases going up vertically from the ground floor.

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Before I went to the Nintendo headquarters, I went to eat at the “551 Horai” Japanized-Chinese restaurant chain in the JR Isetan department store basement. Last year when we came to Japan to the Osaka area, that place was located near our hotel and it had pretty good Chinese food for reasonable prices. I wanted to try their pork buns since I think it is famous in Japan. I ordered a set for 1000 yen which included seafood stir-fried noodles, 1 pork bun and 2 pieces of fried chicken. I didn’t find the pork bun to be that impressive but I am not a big fan of eating streamed buns. I also wanted to eat their “Ice Candy”, last year during the summer they sell Chinese-style popsicles with favors like red bean, and they are really good. They didn’t sell it; I guess they only sell it during the summer.

Taking the subway to Nintendo headquarters.

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The Nintendo headquarters building is just some big white building in a residential/commercial area of Kyoto. At the security office (it seems all companies here have a main gate and walls surrounding their buildings) I asked the security guard to take a picture of me with the building. At the counter, there was a notice in English saying “I’m sorry but you can not go in”. The security guards asks where I come from and then phones a Nintendo employee to come down. He asked where I was from and said that I could not go in but he helped me take a picture of myself and also gave me a book detailing Nintendo’s financial statements.

Nintendo's headquarters in an industrial suburb of Kyoto.

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It's hard to believe that so much creativity comes from such a boring looking building!

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Picture of myself taken with the help of the Nintendo employee.

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Next I walked to the Kiyomizu Temple, it temple was really far away and located on a mountain. It was a really tiring walk. In my opinion, I think the Kiyomizu Temple is the best attraction of Kyoto because the view of the city gets better and better as you continue walking into the complex. At the heart of the temple, there is a great view of the city along with the temple which was built on the side of the mountain.

From the long walk to Kiyomizu Temple. I passed by a lot of interesting local areas, shrines and temples.

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The path to Kiyomizu Temple.

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Arrival at Kiyomizu Temple.

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The Kyoto skyline.

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The Kanji of 2005, Ai or "love".

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Leaving Kiyomizu Temple. The path from Kiyomizu Temple lead me through some very charming traditional Japanese neighbourhoods.

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I don't know why they have electric wires hanging from everywhere.

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Next I arrived in the main commercial area of Kyoto where I walked past Gion “the geisha district” (I think you never ever see any of them unless at random encounters) to the main shopping district of Kyoto. I walked to the “famous food market” and I didn’t find it that impressive, just lots of small shops selling regular Japanese food items on a narrow covered street.

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Right outside the Gion "geisha district".

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The geisha district of Gion during the daytime.

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After that I walked all the way back to the station and headed back to Nagoya. I was really tired by the end of this day because of all the walking.

Walking through to the Kawaramachi area, the main shopping district of Kyoto on the way back to Kyoto station.

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Heading back to Kyoto station with the Kyoto Tower in the background.

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Taking the local trains on the Seishun 18 Kippu (a ticket sold during holiday seasons which allows the user unlimited usage of local trains for 5 non-consecutive days for 11,500 yen ($120 US)) back to Nagoya.

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Note: Kyoto and Nagoya subway systems are really expensive 200 yen for shortest distance compared with 170 yen on Tokyo subway and 130 yen on JR lines in Tokyo. Also I have eaten McDonalds too many times here because it was the cheapest thing to eat, almost everything else was from 700-1000 yen per meal.

6 comments:

Nobu said...

Looks like you had a decent trip to Kyoto. As I never got to see that much of Tokyo I've always liked Kyoto. I'm not sure why. I guess it just seemed more intimate and easier.

Looking at your pictures I just remembered how slick the train station looks. It also has some passages that go straight through it, for crossing to the other side, that look really nice at night when there are no people (except for the cardboarders).

kinkinsoba said...

Lucky! Even though you didn't go in, I would love to have stood outside the gate of the Nintendo HQ.

I remember Kyoto station, it was pretty crazy and high. I didn't stay there long though.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with ppl above. If you didn't tell me, I would think the Kyoto station is a rocket launch site or something, it looks very impressive.

Mmmm, the Nintendo Head Quarter is such a dull looking building. For a gaming industry whose goal is to bring fun, it certainly looks anything but that!!

DaYvid

Nobu said...

The Nintendo HQ should be touch sensitive and come in a smaller revision every year.

kinkinsoba said...

It would be so cool if you had met my idols Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata!

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