Old Kyoto

A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants, and Inns
[Revised and Updated]

  • Dian Durston
  • Photographs by Lucy Birmingham
  • Foreword by Donald Richie
Old Kyoto

Size: 182×128 mm, 260 g
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 248
100 photos, 50 illustrations & shop logos, 53 maps, glossary, indexes
ISBN10: 1-56836-545-4
ISBN13: 978-1-56836-545-9
Release date: June 1, 2005

List price: $22.00

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20th Anniversary Edition

A completely revised version of the classic guidebook to Kyoto,
with a foreword by Donald Richie.

Down the cobbled paths and behind the tranquil noren curtains of Kyoto, the old way of life goes on, nurtured in the restrained furnishings of the traditional inns and in the old shops where fine handmade items still add a touch of quality to life.

Since the first edition appeared in 1986, this lovingly written travelogue-cum-guidebook has become de rigueurFor knowledgeable travelers seeking to find “the real Kyoto” behind the modern face of the city’s constantly changing boulevards. Old Kyoto focuses on the family establishments that have been in business for at least a hundred years, and in some cases for over ten generations. Astonishingly, many of the old shops and inns of Kyoto can still be found on narrow backstreets, under the heavy, tiled rooftops of traditional machiya dwellings. Here, the adventurous traveler will uncover treasures: the way in which a hand-crafted calligraphy brush is bound, a miniature garden tended, a bamboo basket woven.

For critics and travelers alike, Old Kyoto has long been regarded the essential guidebook to Japan's most cherished city. This second edition of Old Kyoto is completely updated. Shops have been added, and maps, prices, directions, descriptions, and general information have all been thoroughly revised.


“The recommended establishments in Old Kyoto are so consistently good .... and Diane Durston has woven history and legend into her descriptions of Kyoto’s finest and oldest establishments.”
New York Times

“Diane Durston ... leads us into the secrets and hidden beauties of the city with a grace and warmth that are themselves reflective of the vanishing traditions they celevrate. Whenever anyone says he or she wants to see the ‘true soul of Kyoto,’ I say, ‘Buy this book!’”
Pico Iyer

“The wonder is that no one has done what Diane Durston has done, and the delight is that Diane Durston has done it so well.”
The Japan Times

“Durston's book is an eloquent look at seven neighborhoods where everyday life in Japan continues despite the crush of modernity....”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“This lovingly written travelogue-cumgudebook has become de rigueur for knowledgeable travelers seeking to find ‘the real Kyoto’.”
Rafu Shimpo

“A must for travelers seeking ‘the real Kyoto’.”
Metropolis (Japan)

“[This] classic guide feeds you the story in digestible portions as you follow her excellent practical instructions about where to go and what to see.”
The Daily Yomiuri


About the Author

DIANE DURSTON is a writer, lecturer, and consultant on Japan and Asian cultures. She has written three books on Kyoto, where she lived for eighteen years, Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City and The Living Traditions of Old Kyoto are her two other publications. Durston now lives in Portland, Oregon.