Japan is a fascinating country to visit, because it is a land of contrasts. You’ll find traditional culture, ancient temples, and serene countryside areas, as well as modern, futuristic style, high-rise skyscrapers, and big, bustling cities. The two worlds sit alongside each other, spread across a collection of islands, straddling volcanoes and fault lines. Here, the past and the future seem to collide – comparing the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo shows that contrast so clearly.
Kyoto is brimming with temples, showcasing many aspects of Japanese worship, with the various traditions involved. The iconic vermillion colour of the Shinto religion covers their temples and torii gates.
Amongst the temples you’ll also find traditional homes and other buildings, most often made of wood in the classic Asian architectural style, and with bamboo mat flooring. There are hidden details everywhere, from the bamboo to the kimono forests.
Not far from Kyoto is the town of Nara, famous for its huge deer population, and with many ancient temples hidden amongst the forest in the park, ranging in size and style.
Compared to the serenity of Kansai, Tokyo is big, hectic chaotic city, full of modern skyscrapers and boasting Shibuya crossing, the busiest in the world. There are lights and colours, shops and restaurants, galore, with something new around every corner.
Harajuku is one of the most famous regions of Tokyo, home to the weird and wonderful. It’s awash with colour and pattern, where everyone can show off their own unique style, with dozens of quirky, eclectic shops to cater for all.
But although Tokyo is busy, modern metropolis, it has its own quiet corners as well. Serene parks, with simple wooden temples dotted between the trees, or bright vermillion ones full of incense bang in the middle of city streets – Japanese history and tradition is alive and well in this 21st century city.