Kyoto, Japan – Shirakawa Canal

Traveling to Kyoto Japan was one of my more challenging trips to plan. Through the help of numerous travel blogs, I ended up staying in the Higashisyama district. Looking back, it was a great location to experience Kyoto.

On my first morning in Kyoto, I went for a run with the intent of running along the Kamo river. Along the way, an inviting canal called for a closer look.

Deeper inside the canal area, I realized I had stumbled across a special location. The canal is lined with willow trees and classic Kyoto architecture.

Combined with the early morning light and empty streets, I was feeling quite immersed in a feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Just one of those magical moments.

After my run, I did a little research and learned that I had been in the Shirakawa Canal area which is within walking distance of the popular Shijo Avenue and Gion District. In addition to the natural beauty of the area, I learned the structures I had seen were actually nice restaurants and ochayas (Geisha tea houses) that blended in quietly along the canal.

Strolling along the canal later in the day, I realized the area was quite popular. I don’t know if the presence of kimonos was a daily event here or if it was a period of Japanese national and/or religious significance. Regardless, there were many men and women along the canal posing for photos by family or professional photographers. The lady in the third image had an interesting mask in her hand but, again, not sure about the meaning.

All along the canal, there are many crossings and points of departure that will take you away from this oasis and back into busier areas of the city…if you have to go. However, the Shirakawa Canal makes a compelling visual case to stay and enjoy its tranquility and beauty.

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