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Old Kyoto: A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants and Inns

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  11 reviews
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 appe
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Kodansha (first published December 1986)
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Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wanderlust
Two days with this book in Kyoto was clearly, CLEARLY not enough. Especially after you are "temple-ed" out after one day, as those of you who have been to Kyoto very well know. It is a treasure-trove of traditional shops that make everything from artisan paper and paints, noodles, soy sauce, baskets, buckets, combs, tea, and beautiful Japanese textiles. It also includes guides to a few of the ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) and eateries (noodle shops, ramen shops, soba shops - most have a sp ...more
Isaac Lambert
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful travel guide, in the same vein as 'A Time of Gifts', but more about the people. It's a unique story of shinise, shops which have been carried on for at least three generations and one hundred years, normal in a culture rife with specialization. I can't wait to experience a glimpse of the culture, whether it be the youdofu or sweet mochi. When you get to the story of one of the last traditional wooden bucket makers in Kyoto, you will be saddened this is a place you will never be able ...more
Barry Lancet
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
Many consider Kyoto the cradle of Japanese culture and crafts. While much of Japanese culture was created outside Kyoto, there can be no doubt that the “ancient capital” of Japan has much to offer even today. Diane Durston fell in love with Kyoto and lived there for sixteen years. She learned to navigate the demanding rituals and win the trust of the locals.

Even in her day, vast swatches of the traditional neighborhoods were falling to modernization. Durston struck upon the idea of introducing
Aug 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
I have one serious complaint about this book: it frustrated me! I wished I'd had months, no years to follow Durston's recommendations of places to go. I did manage just a few of them, and her observations were spot on. I couldn't help but be saddened, though, at how fast these traditional establishments are disappearing. Lots of history and cultural background to help the visitor appreciate the city more fully. One thing's for sure: by following Durston's recommendations, you won't be on the bea ...more
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone going to Kyoto and the surrounding areas!
When you go to a place as special as Kyoto following the standard guidebooks just feels empty. Yeah the palaces, gardens, and temples are gorgeous and worth seeing, but the soul of the place lies in wandering around, getting lost, and seeing where the people live and work. With this book I came away from Kyoto feeling like I had a much more special experience than if I had just gone to the sights (which are amazing as well by the way, don't miss the Philosopher's Path). In short buy this book! ...more
Mar 21, 2009 added it
Shelves: librarybook
Given the average age of the craftspeople in the photos of this book, the traditional "special things" are almost dead. Which is probably just as well, since the Japanese aesthetic from Day One has been about the eroticism of loss, death, and decay... But if you visit Kyoto soon, you might be able to grab up an indigo-dyed banner, a set of combs, or some traditional pickles using this guidebook. ...more
Jeff Clay
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Whether you are traveling to Kyoto or just want to read about the old capital, Diane Durston's book evokes a palatable sense of what and where the old places are. Kyoto is very special but sometimes you have to dig beneath the busy modern surface to see what makes it so. Wander off the boulevards and glimpses of centuries past are still possible. This book will help put you on that path. ...more
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Old Kyoto: A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants and Inns served as a handy companion on my two-week exploration of the city. I visited many of the shops listed in the book, including fun finds such and the fu (wheat gluten) factory and a traditional tofu stall.
ian kennedy
May 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite guides to Kyoto pointing you to shops off the beaten path.
Will Clodfelter
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great guide to Kyoto. Leverage this along with current maps and restaurants and you'll have a great trip. I've used this guide on 4 different trips to Kyoto and it still helps me find new places. ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan-nonfiction
A fascinating peak at a quickly disappearing traditional Kyoto. More of an add-on to an itinerary rather than an all-inclusive guide book. Great for armchair travelers as well.
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