We invite you to join us on a stroll through Fushimi Momoyama, an attractive shopping area that is often overlooked by tourists but it is, in our opinion, one of the most charming parts of Kyoto, with a rich history, famous for producing green tea and sake.
Our first stop takes us to a 300-year-old tea shop. Inhale the gentle aroma of freshly roasted green tea as the proud and friendly staff chat to you about the history of green tea in Japan, discuss the many different types that are available and give you tips on how to brew the best green cuppa.
We will continue our stroll past some fascinating local shops and artisan workshops that represent the best of Japanese culture.
After leaving the shopping arcade, well head to a traditional candy and sweets shop where beautifully crafted Japanese-style sweets have been handmade for centuries. The owners are descendants of the original founders and they love to chat with customers about the history of the shop and the delicious sweets they have invented. Of course, we will not leave before sampling some Kyogashi, as they are known all over Japan.
Sake is next on our list and as we make our way over to our brewery of choice, well wander through the sake district and pass through some of the traditional brewery buildings that are scattered throughout the area. Well stop at one of those historical breweries and after learning about the brewing process you will be rewarded with a sampling of a few of their most highly valued bottles. There will be an opportunity to buy your favourite, if you wish no hard selling on this tour!
As the sun sets, well move by train to another bygone part of the city, Miyagawa-cho. This is the most authentic and least touristy of the five Geisha districts. Hidden in the shadow of the oldest Zen temple in the city, well visit a unique little workshop while were here to witness first hand one of the fading arts of old Japan, kept alive only by a handful of skilled artists and craftsmen.
Ukiyo-e is the traditional art of woodblock printing. The owner and proprietor will introduce us to the last step of the process, the actual printing. If you would like a genuine souvenir, it does not get any better than hand-printed ukiyo-e on authentic Japanese washi paper!
We conclude our little journey at dusk at Gion Corner, home to the local geisha theatre where you can enjoy an authentic performance by geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha). We recommend you stay for the show and then take a stroll through the romantic alleyways of Gion, all decorated with glowing red lanterns.
Before we go our separate ways, dont forget to ask your guide for tips on what else to see and do during your stay in Kyoto.