It is no secret that when I travel, I often don’t want to leave a place and Japan was no exception. Prior to moving to South Korea, I considered moving to Japan to teach English. Now that I’ve visited the country and specifically, Kyoto I feel like I could definitely call it home as an expat for a year.
Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, remains one of its major cities. Yet, it isn’t so large to where you will quickly tire of the hustle and bustle of city life. Like any other city, people are on the move, walking, cycling, hailing taxis, and catching buses to work, school, or what have you. However, it doesn’t feel chaotic as it sometimes feels here in Seoul. No one was intentionally walking or bumping into me as if I was invisible, rather everyone was polite and courteous.
Another thing I really loved about Kyoto is that it is a modern city that hasn’t lost it’s traditional charm despite urbanization. For example, in the heart of the city is Kyoto Station. It was constructed as a 15 story, futuristic glass structure that set the stage for further development of high-rise buildings. It houses many restaurants and cafes, a movie theater, museums, a central post office, government facilities, and a huge shopping center where you can shop for high-end brands such as Gucci and Burberry and everything in between.
However, in spite of said commercialization, you can take a short bus ride from the city center and step back in time escaping the city’s bustle to walk along streets from long ago as well as explore villages with traditional style houses and shops. Truly, Kyoto is a fusion of old and new. And I know it’s charm will allure me back for years to come. Perhaps, sooner than later because there was just too much to see and experience.