Ocha-ya (teahouse) No. 5

Another ocha-ya picture for you. I don’t know the name of this place in Miyagawa-cho (south Gion). Peter Macintosh (see menu at right) knows the names of all of them, I think. Miagawa-cho is an area where you can really feel Old Kyoto. In a lot of places, you really have to artfully compose your photos to hide the modern houses adjacent to the traditional. Kyoto tourist brochures are made with photos from carefully selected angles.

Kyoto is not a museum of quaint Japan, although some people want it to be so. It is the 7th largest city in Japan, and ironically it is a high-tech leader. Kyocera, Rohm, Nintendo and other leading companies are headquartered here, along with Kansai Science City and Kyoto Research Park. It is also one of the most international cities in Japan, and I think it is a very hospitable place for foreigners. Kyoto University has turned out almost all of the country’s Nobel Prize winners.

Because Kyoto was the capital for more than 1,000 years (much of that time in name only, however), it has special cultural significance. Also, because it was not bombed to cinders during WWII (almost certainly because it was being saved as a potential target for the atomic bomb), many of its ancient treasures are alive and well. There are even building restrictions here, and SUCCESSFUL protests of development projects.

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