One of the world's most culturally rich cities - Kyoto, Japan.


by Rodolfo Contreras

One’s first impression of Kyoto may be not be so impressive. The rumours one hears and reads of this city, may be true, but it was far more amazing than had ever been imagined. False impressions may occur when one arrives to the city but soon they disappear once one begins the next morning to walk through its streets, to cross with its people and enjoy its architecture. If there is a city that blends and combines modernity and tradition, Kyoto is it. A proud city (pride is not always bad) from its past and it clearly does not intend to relinquish this. On the contrary, it looks to the future.

Once you start wandering around the city, your mind is trapped by the harmony and peace that dominates. The city must infect its people with that way of being, or perhaps to the contrary, maybe it is the people who make the city be so. Kyoto is a city that is unique and has a special soul. It goes beyond what one feels in other cites. There are few special cities and certainly Kyoto is part of that club.

Majestic and delicate, friendly and proud, deceitful and kind, haunting and serene, modern and classic, simple and ritual describe Kyoto. It has been called a lucky city as it has saved from all bombings. Kyoto with its medieval spirit through a modern city represents Japanese culture. Gion district is simply magical; with an abundance of low wooden houses, narrow streets, which today roam should be similar to how it was done centuries ago, including transiting through them geisha and maiko-san, making it even more special and unique. The medieval heritage and traditions go hand in hand with technology in the city without any problems. After leaving Gion, stories of the past come to mind, thoughts of distant times (not necessarily better), pictures of people who lived in the neighbourhood since ancient times. One cannot help but think about the idiosyncrasies of the people of the city. Tradition and modernity have never been so united; architecture and people evolve and move towards the future, with a presence of tradition as not seen anywhere else.

Kyoto (and its people) is not only harmony, tranquillity and tradition, it displays a great respect for the environment, and focus in the progress but paying attention on its past. It is proud to bear its significant cultural standing: imperial capital for more than 1000 years. Their people have made living an art and do so at a leisurely pace, embracing and enjoying life.

Kyoto is perhaps not only one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but the city that has surprised me pleasantly.

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