Historically outside the borders of Kyoto city, Higashiyama-ku ('east mountain district') is separated from the rest of the city by the Kamo river. This geographic detail has saved it from the many fires that ravaged other parts of Kyoto over the centuries and as a result the district is home to some of the most charming and unspoiled historical and religious sites in all of Japan.
This rustic area contains Gion where you might see a maiko apprentice geisha skimming across the stone-paved roads heading to her teahouse. Charming cobblestoned streets are dotted with merchants peddling souvenirs and keepsakes, leading to Kyoto’s most famous cherry blossom viewing site Maruyama Park, or the famous Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine or any number of significant sites in Higashiyama. With a backdrop of the lush eastern mountains it is a scene that has survived the ages.