Shimbashi is single most attractive street in all of Asia, particularly in the evening. When the cherry blossoms are in bloom here, it’s almost too beautiful for words.
The Shirakawa (“White River”) takes a meandering course through the heart of Gion. The section of the canal that runs from Hanami-koji to Kawabata-dori is easily the most beautiful section. A flagstone street (properly known as Minami-Shirakawa-dori) runs alongside the canal and in cherry blossom season its usually so packed with pedestrians that cars don’t even attempt to fight their way through.
The far side of the canal is lined with expensive restaurants, hostess clubs and ryokan, most of which have huge picture windows to enjoy the view (and this goes both ways, because peering in at the company presidents squiring attractive young hostesses or being entertained by geisha is like looking at the exhibits in an extremely exotic high-end zoo). Note that the last 50 meters of the canal, the section between Nawate-dori and Kawabata-dori is truly magical during cherry blossom season. The entire sky will be composed of cherry blossoms, all cleverly illuminated from below.
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
See my complete list of hand-picked recommendations for Southern Higashiyama, including things to do, places to eat and places to stay.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for your Japan trip - book online with World Nomads