Rewind: Japanese Culture in Kyoto and Kawaii City Signs


Golden Pavillion of Kyoto.

We catch up on the past travels!  While in Japan for the first weeks of June, we hop on the Shinkasen (fastest bullet train) from Tochigi and travelled south to Kyoto, the refined bastion of Japanese heritage and arts.


Shinkasen- bullet train


Tosa shi Teno- the big four of Tosa

The center of traditional Japanese culture flows out from Kyoto. While in Kyoto we walk through Bamboo Forest paths, visit many beautiful temples and wander through the Entertainment District of Gion where Geishas/ Geikos (women of the arts) perform traditional arts of dance, music, conversation and tea ceremony at tea houses.  Also popular are male and female evening escorts that entertain at modern style bars and lounges.  We were very fortunate to spot a pair of beautiful geishas under their umbrellas on their way to their evening gigs, but were not fast enough to get out our camera!


At the temple gates, near Tochigi


Monks walk down the street


Bamboo Forest expanded for kilometers surrounding the mountains and temples in Northwest, Ryoanji area, Kyoto.



Stu pauses in the romantic alleys of Gion District under a gifted umbrella.  Earlier in the day we were walking near the Golden Temple under the rain.  A young Japanese schoolgirl, perhaps 13 years old, wordlessly bows and presents us with her umbrella.  “Hontoni?” I ask (really?) and she smiles as we take the shield.  She walks back to her group of giggling middle school friends under the June shower.


Schoolgirls wait for the light rail



School boys riding home.  Mags  likes the charm of traditional uniforms worn in Kyoto versus modern wear in Taipei and Tokyo.

We rent bikes and ride among the locals on quiets streets and foot paths.


The Railroad Museum


Mags and the ninja at Edo Wonderland

We love signs that bring attention, make us smile, and think.  Japanese folks appreciate aesthetics in every aspect of life, especially kawaii or cute things.  Even the signs are cute!  Any of our Japanese reading friends are welcome to correct our interpretation of the signs!


Don’t make a racket on the train!


Children at play may fly our of driveway. Be careful!


Calories burned by taking stairs


Fast curves may cause falling off bicycle!


This Romeo exemplifies the Japanese “pretty man” phenomenon in pop culture. So beautiful!



Pretty man Stu warns, “Be careful crossing the street.”


Coming soon, our adventures on Kumano Kodo, a thousand year old pilgrimage trail!

For more photos from this segment of our travels, click here for our picasa page.

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3 Responses to Rewind: Japanese Culture in Kyoto and Kawaii City Signs

  1. Peter Smith says:

    totally cool pics.

    the bullet train – bamboo – rainy alley – ninja pic — stairs. totally awesome.

  2. Mayuko says:

    The ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a performance by Takarazuka Revue, an all-female theatre group.

    So the Romeo is also performed by a woman…cannot be too manly, haha!
    Romeo and Juliet :

    • Mags says:

      Hehe, no wonder Romeo is so beautiful. I admit Stu and I were tricked by other beautiful men on train advertisements. It took a while for us to realize that the Panasonic shower model was male!

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