Category Archives: Kyoto

Deep Kyoto in National Geographic Traveller UK

Source: deep kyoto

Many thanks to Kavita Favelle for alerting me to the presence of a short piece I wrote in the current issue of National Geographic Traveller Food (UK). For those who are curious enough to buy a copy, you can find me in the “Ask the Experts” section on page 29 answering the question, “Where in Kyoto can I buy a traditional, handcrafted kyusu teapot?”

Gratitude is also due to Chris Rowthorn for hooking me up with the job, and kansha always to Robert Yellin for his actual expert suggestions.

My smug mug can be found on page 28.

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The Mystery of Kyoto’s Big Buddha

Like any city with an ancient past, Kyoto is built on its own ruins. Layers of history remain hidden under the modern streets and houses, with many of the most famous structures lost in fires and earthquakes. Locals have their own ideas about what long-lost piece of the city’s architectural history they would wish to be magically restored. Some might pine over the loss of the Jurakudai palace, glittering with elaborate golden decorations and numerous halls of untold opulence. Others may long for a restoration of Honnoji, the temple where (in)famous warlord Nobunaga met his fiery and mysterious death.

However, nothing looms as large over the city’s lost history as the Daibutsu, a massive Buddhist statue that was once the crowning artistic and religious centerpiece of Kyoto. The fact that this grand piece of culture has been lost to time without a trace left behind (almost) is both astonishing and tragic. The story of its construction, destruction, and legacy is just as fascinating today as the statue itself must have been to the first visitors in the 1600s.

The Kyoto Daibutsu …continue reading