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Kyoto Tour Vol. 2

Refer to Kyoto Tour as Vol. 2.
As the same as to Vol. 1, refer to Central Kyoto Again.
Sento Palace
(Sento Palace)

Sento Imperial Palace is located in Kyoto Imperial Park across from the Imperial Palace. It was built in 1630 for the occasion of Emperor Gomizuno's retirement, and became the palace for subsequent retired emperors.
The palace building burned down in 1854 and was not rebuilt; however, Omiya Palace was constructed on the Sento grounds in 1867. Omiya Palace has become the lodging place for the current prince and princess when they visit Kyoto.


Visiting Sento Imperial Palace requires booking a free tour through the Imperial Household Agency, who manages all of the Imperial properties. The tours take visitors through the Sento gardens which are comprised of the North Pond and South Pond areas. Both are beautiful examples of Japanese gardens.
Tours of Sento last about one hour and are conducted only in Japanese. It is not possible to enter any of the Sento Palace buildings along the tour route. However, some of the buildings, such as the Seikatei teahouse, are left open so that visitors can see inside and get an impression of imperial design and style.

Honganji Temples
(Main hall of the Higashi Honganji (before start of renovation works)

Nishi Honganji and Higashi Honganji are two large temples in the center of Kyoto. As headquarters of the two factions of Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land Sect), one of Japan's largest Buddhist sects, they are a place to experience a certain atmosphere of contemporary Japanese Buddhism.
Nishi Honganji (West Honganji) was built in 1591 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, after the former Ishiyama Honganji in Osaka had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga. Nishi Honganji is the head temple of the Honganji faction of Jodo-Shin Buddhism with over 10,000 subtemples across the country and 200 temples overseas.
Nishi Honganji houses several national treasures, has been designated an UNESCO world heritage site and is considered the more spectacular of the two Honganji temples. A recent renovation of the main hall was completed in late 2008.
Higashi Honganji (East Honganji) was built only eleven years after and a few steps east of Nishi Honganji as the head temple of the Otani faction. Its main hall is Kyoto's largest wooden structure, but it is currently also being renovated until the year 2011.

Kyoto Manga Museum
(Entrance to the Manga Museum)

The Kyoto International Manga Museum was opened in November of 2006. It consists of three floors and a basement, and most of its walls are lined with shelves of manga. Browsing this massive collection of manga is one of the museum's main attractions. A small section of the books is dedicated to foreign and translated manga, but the vast majority is in Japanese.
In addition to its massive collection of indigenous manga, the museum also focuses on both the adoption and development of manga internationally. Works of international manga artists are featured, and manga related events at the museum often involve foreign artists.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Manga Museum also features temporary exhibitions on various themes. The building, which now acts as the Manga Museum, was previously an elementary school. Some relics of the former school are on display for visitors.

Kyoto Station

The new Kyoto Station building was built on the occasion of the 1,200th anniversary of the Heian Capital foundation. It was opened to the public in 1997 and stands in perfect contrast with many foreign tourists' image of Kyoto as the capital of traditional Japan.
A department store, hotel, theater, game center, shopping mall, government offices, various restaurants and an observation deck can be found on the facility's 15+ floors.

Kyoto Tower

Standing 131 meters tall just across Kyoto Station, Kyoto Tower is far and away Kyoto's tallest building. It is also one of only a few modern iconic landmarks in a city famous for its ancient temples and shrines. The tower was completed in 1964, the same year as the opening of the shinkansen and the Tokyo Olympics.
A viewing platform is located 100 meters above ground and affords a 360 degree view of the whole of Kyoto and as far as Osaka Bay on clear days. Kyoto Tower stands on top of a typical commercial building, which contains souvenir shops, restaurants and a hotel. In the basement, there is a public bath.

By TS on Apr 14, 2011
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Author:T. SATOH