Japan Travel in the Know: Why Is Kyoto a Popular Destination in Japan?

A small street crowded by Junior high school students in Kyoto

Almost all the Japanese students go to Kyoto on a school trip

The biggest school event for Japanese students is always a school trip, I’m 100% sure. We go on a trip with all the classmates three times in our lifetime: the sixth grade of elementary school, the third grade of junior high school, and the second grade of high school. It’s a kind of Japanese spring tradition. You can see many students in school uniform in popular sightseeing spots like Kyoto.

It’s a tragedy if you stay in the same hotel as a school-trip group, though people (who used to be students having enjoyed school trips in Japan) don’t have any right to complain, thinking back their own youth days. Having said that, I really feel sorry for the school kids because most of the school trips have been canceled during the COVID.

Many old buildings in Kyoto, though most of the students are not so interested

The most popular destination of high school trips in Hokkaido is Kyoto and Nara, but I felt so bored at that time, to be honest. It required time for high school students including me to appreciate the true value of old temples and shrines. Anyway, Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan. For people coming from outside Japan, Kyoto would be the best place to touch the core essence of Japanese culture and tradition as many people would imagine. On the other hand, for most of the Japanese people, it may be the place to remember the memory of their school trips. I guess this is why Kyoto is popular and always packed with many visitors from home and abroad.

By the way, I’ve been studying property leasing business for few years. One of the keys to success is the management of loan condition and tax saving (depreciation period). The factors are influenced mainly by the legal durable years of properties. Can you believe this? The legal durable year of wooden buildings is stated to be only 22 years in Japan, though Horyuji temple in Nara was built about 1400 years ago and still exists without housing rehabilitation.

Traditional old buildings in Kyoto, supported by ancient wisdom and skills

Japan, with frequent earthquakes and in a climate of high temperature and humidity, is a harsh environment for any type of buildings. The secret of Horyuji temple is to make use of the flexibility of wood in its structure. The main frame was put together without nails to absorb the shakes of earthquakes, and the expansion and contraction of wood by the change in temperature and humidity.

Such wisdom of our ancestors in woodworking is passed onto our products. IPPONGI table is a good example. The tabletop is made from two pieces of wood planks. They are set slightly apart to absorb their expansion and contraction. The anti-warping beam in the back of the tabletop is not fixed but movable in the tapered groove, so that users can adjust it according to the condition of the tabletop. Why don’t you get the table to feel the history of Japanese traditional woodworking?

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.