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Commercial Kyoto and the Geisha District

Images of the central commercial area of Kyoto in the evening

This chapter follows our journey south by bus into the commercial shopping centre of downtown Kyoto - an experience in itself for the sheer luxury of the higher class establishments and for the bustling life of the vast markets with their diverse and highly specialized produce.

Shijo, Kyoto's busiest shopping street

On the way tot he markets we passed through luxury shopping complexes purveying wares completely out of our class.

Satsuma displays beyond our wildest means

We made a special point of going to Morita Washi (森田和紙京都) the finest paper supplier in Kyoto to buy some rather beautiful Japanese wood block prints of Samurai courtship, again passing through the downtown markets, and pontocho area having already seen a variety of expensive crafts, from the scintillating woven art of Shosui Kaku, through several Japanese craft emporiums to the paper shops.

Current Morita Washi store front with the window posters unchanged from when we visited

Our two best buys from Japan, overlapping Morito Washi
panels in gold of Lords and Ladies in the style of Tale of the Genji

Having passed from Shijo north through the most expensive stores, we came out on a back street leading east into the markets.

Entrance way into the markets

There were market shops with every conceivable kind of food stuff.

Entrance to the Shinto shrine in the center of the markets.

Japanese chop or signature stamp shop

Drummers advertising "Leaf".

Old books and cards on sale.

A back street antique shop

Modern clothing styles giving the V sign back on Shijo

A small corner shrine

A car storage locker

There were many highly specialized mushroom shops

Views heading east from the markets into the alleyways closer to the river.


To the east of the markets and commercial centre stretching to the river Kamo-gawa and over to the Gion district, are old neighbourhoods frequented by traditional restaurants and tea houses where you may also see geisha going to and from appointments in the early evening.

Views walking along Ponto-chö

Small boutique breweries

You see the odd geisha clad in kimono with traditional head dress.

A rather faceless love hotel in central Kyoto, with the usual discrete entry point

A hemp shop

A chique hair style in the subway

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