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Exploring Kyoto: On Foot in the Ancient Capital [Paperback]

Judith Clancy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2008
"Exploring Kyoto by long-term resident Judith Clancy is an excellent guide to exploring Kyoto on foot." —Lonely Planet Japan
Among the world’s most cherished ancient cities, Kyoto, Japan, is perfect for exploring on foot. Richly detailed and small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, Exploring Kyoto is an essential guide to becoming an enlightened pedestrian in the area once known as Yamashiro (“the back of the mountains”).
Thoroughly revised and updated, this edition of Exploring Kyoto offers two new routes and spans a spectrum of geographical and cultural topography, from bustling downtown quarters to remote mountaintops, hip eateries to ancient shrines. Included are:
•Thirty explorations, including the well-known—Mt. Hiei, Arashiyama, Heian Shrine, Ryoanji, Philosopher’s Walk—and many hidden corners
•Detailed maps tracing each route
•Over thirty descriptive photos
Essential tips on etiquette and behavior
•Full index to all sites and attractions
•In-depth information on local history, arts, and festivals

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What began as the author's translation of Japanese-language Kyoto street and informational signs grew into a bountiful little book complete with superstitions, legends, history, and popular culture. The map key foretells the natural details used to guide the visitor through 27 walking tours of this beautiful, ancient city. Pagodas, gates, and shrines are marked, along with waterfalls, springs, cherry trees, plum trees, and lotus flowers. Romantic names such as "Sound of Feathers Waterfall," "Moon-Crossing Bridge" and "Teahouse of Clear Rippling Waves" intimate how highly the Japanese regard the natural world. On each clearly written tour, the author reveals fascinating facts about the city: the lattice-windowed wooden townhouses are called eel houses because of their depth and narrowness, and norens are the split curtains that help distinguish businesses from homes, hanging in the doorways of open shops and restaurants to announce the name of the business and the nature of its trade. Whether or not you're planning a trip to Kyoto, this is a fascinating glimpse into the culture of Japan. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Judith Clancy has lived in Kyoto since 1970, and her interest in the traditions of the ancient capital has led her to study and write about traditional music, the tea ceremony, and Ikebana. While acting as the guide and interpreter for various groups, she established ties with many dedicated traditional artists and teachers.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kyoto is marvellous Dec 4 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently used this book as a guide for about 2/3 of my destinations during a 3 week trip to Kyoto - the choice of temples, gardens and historical sites is excellent. (I also recommend just wandering about, using a Kyoto City map with temples and World Heritage Sites marked.) The sites/sights chosen are varied, including the different types of gardens -- stroll, Chinese-style lakeview, dry landscape, zen rock etc -- Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, a castle, some World Heritage Sites (there are so many!) and are well-described; those that require a bit of physical fitness (the 88 Shrine walk, upper Daigo, Fushimi Inari etc) are duly noted (if you are reasonably fit, nothing is onerous; the 'mountains' are only about a 600 - 1000' climb.) Entry prices were accurate.
If you simply chose destinations from this book for your trip, you would have an incredible experience.
(NB This book does not deal with where to stay or to eat - it is truly a guide to exploration.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best! Jan. 4 2004
Exploring Kyoto is a wonderful guide for the independent traveler to Kyoto. Thanks to Judith Clancy's careful research, I have found places in Kyoto which I never knew existed and explored them in depth. Last month I spent two days in Ohara, a mountain village on the outskirts of the city, using the book as a guide. No other guidebooks in English cover this area but armed with the book, I wandered about finding temples that even Japanese ignored. I have done the same in Fushimi, a sake-brewing area to the south of Kyoto and at Nanzenji, one of the loveliest temples in the city.
If you are adventurous and want to travel on your own, I urge you to purchase this book before you leave and plan your Kyoto visit to include at least one of her fascinating walks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! April 26 2002
By Eric
We purchased several guide books in planning our trip to Kyoto. This book was referred to far more than the others.
If you enjoy exploring on your own and blazing your own, private path, I have not found a book that compares. Its detailed maps, descriptions and histories made our trip a joy. It's not full of information about restaurants and shopping, but the regular guides have plenty of that. As a walking guide or as a fun, insightful history of the city's sights and neighborhoods, it excels. It is also a fun read. We couldn't see all we wanted to in the days we were there, but we eventually get back to Japan, this book will be packed!
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