Feb. 12, 2020 UPDATE
Nishijin District- 西陣地区 -
Guideboards written by English, Chinese and Korean stand many places. There are places to eat and Japanese confectionary cafés, have a break when you are tired of walking.
The Nishijin map boards are available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.
No staff at the location
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Story & Recommendation
Nishijin district is the historic home of Kyoto’s kimono industry
Nishijin is famous for the silk fabrics produced here. Nishijin is west from the Kyoto Imperial palace and is unique in that it has many small alleys. Some of the alleys are too narrow for two cars to pass, while others are dead ends. Sometimes you might feel like you are in a maze. There are many traditional houses around this area so the view is very much ‘Kyoto’. In some places you can still hear the sound of the weaving machines; why not enjoy real Kyoto here?
The Mikami family Roji (alley)
This historic alleyway is where the weavers used to live during the Edo period (1603-1868). There are around ten houses on both sides of the alley that are now used by young artists. There are signs that people are living here: washing machines, bicycles, and buckets.
A wall made of Kawara – a Japanese tile
This is the wall of Honryu-ji Temple, also known as the temple that will not burn, as it was not burned during the two great fires of Nishijin. The wall is built tiles, and all the tiles are old. It is like a work of art, that stands out from the relatively modern surroundings.
Listen to the sounds of weaving machines on Jofuku-ji Street
Weaving machines, or looms, make a rhythmic beat on Jofuku-ji Street. The stone pavement and subdued colors make the street feel special. It is a nice place to visit during daytime, but the faint lights at night make it a place to remember.
Look for the buckets full of water
There are buckets full of water that are prepared in case of fire. Wooden houses burn easily, so everyone must be ready in case there is a fire. From a historical perspective, there used to be many big fires in Kyoto. This is why the curious custom of leaving buckets with water in them around started.
- Manner & Tips -
Nishijin district is a residential area. There is a lot of traffic on narrow streets so be careful of bikes and cars.