Seven Paths to the Heart of the City
A stunning visual introduction to historic Kyoto,
also packed with practical information.
What better way to see Kyoto than at dawn, when the back streets and alleys of this 1,200-year-old city are still under the spell of the past? Old folks fuss about with their bonsai and laundry poles, pausing to chat on their way to the neighborhood shrine with flowers and morning prayers. Knock-kneed white egrets stalk the stream beds for breakfast, and the giant bronze temple bells awaken the former capital of Japan every morning as they have done for centuries.
Through wars, fires, famines, tyrants, and now rapid modernization, the old neighborhoods of Kyoto are the places where the customs and traditions of this fascinating city, with its confusing blend of old and new, have managed to survive.
American writer and former Kyoto resident Diane Durston introduces seven must-see precincts of this ancient capital city, including four Historic Preservation Districts. Among them are the world-famous geisha quarter, the kimono textile neighborhoods, the sake-brewing area of Fushimi, and the tea-growing region of Uji. Durston weaves together local lore and historical sites to create a panoply of provocative walking tours that take the reader back in time to the elegance of earlier days.
Accompanying each section is a full-color map and the fine photography of Katsuhiko Mizuno, a Kyoto native and one of the city’s most famous photographers. Sections highlighting Kyoto crafts, cuisine, festivals, and tourist essentials round out this attractive volume, making it the perfect introduction —and guide— to one of the world’s most evocative cities.
- Photographs by one of Kyoto’s most renowned photographers
- Locations of the most important Historic Preservations Districts
- Detailed maps and suggested routes
- Scenic and little-known walking paths
- Completely revised and updated information
“Everyone that loves Kyoto knows that Diane Durston is its modern poet laureate.”
“Diane Durston’s books are classics and have not been superseded by more recent publications.”
—New York Times
“... an eloquent look at seven neighborhoods where everyday life in Japan continues despite the crush of modernity.”
“Explore the hidden beauty of historic neighborhoods with seven walking tours that transport visitors back to more elegant times.”
—Endless Vacation, May / June 2003
“Full of walking tour maps, full-color photos, historical information, and tourist essentials, Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City is both a travel guide and a memorable keepsake.”
About the Authors
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, including Old Kyoto: A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants and Inns, now in its fifteenth printing and considered by many a travel classic. Durston has worked extensively as a writer, consultant, and event coordinator on Japanese and Chinese culture for museums, universities, and corporations for the past fifteen years. In 1995, Durston moved to Portland, Oregon, where she is currently the Special Projects Director of the Portland Art Museum.
KATSUHIKO MIZUNO is a professional photographer based in Kyoto. After graduating from Doshisha University and the Tokyo College of Photography, he forged a career shooting traditional scenes in and around Kyoto. He has over a hundred books to his name in English and Japanese, including Landscapes for Small Spaces: Japanese Courtyard Gardens. Mizuno lives in a renovated machiya house in Kyoto, and runs the Machiya Photo Museum.