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  • Writer's pictureRobin Yong

古都の初夏 Early Summer in the Ancient Capital

Updated: Jan 14

The Philosopher's Walk (哲学の道, Tetsugaku-no-michi, lit. Path of Philosophy) is a pedestrian path that follows a cherry-tree-lined canal in Kyoto, Japan between Ginkaku-ji and Nanzen-ji. First opened in 1890 and extended again in 1912, the path follows the course of a shallow irrigation channel bringing water from the Lake Biwa Canal. The route is so-named because two 20th-century Japanese philosophers and Kyoto University professors Nishida Kitaro and Hajime Tanabe are thought to have used it for daily exercise. The path passes a number of temples and shrines such as Hōnen-in, Ōtoyo Shrine, and Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the walk, although many people spend more time visiting the sights along the way. On the northern part of the walk, there are good views of the nearby Daimonji. The walk is a popular destination for tourists and locals, especially during hanami.

Kyoto in the summer is both very hot and humid, yet this prefecture of Japan is a favorite time of year for many locals. During the summer months, visitors can experience the rainy season from early-June to late-July in Kyoto. But during this time, the city is beautiful and with abundant green maple leaves and many colorful flowers in full bloom. Most foreign tourists are replaced by local high school students so most buses and cabs are surprisingly all booked out by the students.

I visited my Geisha friends once again and did the usual temple visits and garden strolls. For us, summer time is less busy and a more enjoyable time. This is also the period of the lesser known but very iconic firefly season...

More photos to come as I start to process them slowly....

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