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Scenes from Kyoto: Mitsuru Wakabayashi

Whenever we venture outside our NYC offices to seek excitement and inspiration, we make it a point to never settle for anything less than extraordinary. In our new series of “exploration through photography,” we came across the breathtaking work of Kyoto-based photographer, Mitsuru Wakabayashi. His moving imagery captures the perfect balance of ancient Japanese tradition, while evoking a human element that’s fleeting, but ultimately unforgettable.

Mitsuru provided us with images of his 5 favorite places in Kyoto. Read on below:

Kiyomizu Temple


It’s believed that a gentleman named Sakanoue Tamuramaro built Kiyomizu temple. There are approximately 30 main buildings, which were rebuilt by the Third Shogunate, Tokugawa Iemitsu in the Edo period. The temple is famous for its Kiyomizu stage. The stage has one of the best views of Kyoto, and is especially stunning in spring and autumn. The temple became a world heritage site in 1994.



Popular especially in Spring and Autumn, Arashiyama’s striking view has been admired since the Heian period. From the beautiful mountains and river, to the serene bamboo forest and popular Togetsukyo bridge, Arashiyama is loved by people from not only Japan, but from all around the world.



What makes Pontocho so charming is its Kyoto esq. street. It was known as the entertainment district of Kyoto, and it still remains as one of Kyoto’s most vibrant streets. During spring and summer, you can enjoy a unique dining experience called the “Kamogawa Noryu Yuka.” The Yuka dining experience allows people to enjoy their meals on an elevated platform over looking the river. It is a truly unique Kyoto experience.

Yasaka No Tou


The Hokanji temple is situated right between the Kiyomizu temple and Yasaka shrine . The 5-story pagoda named Yasaka no tou is erected from the Hokanji temple grounds, but now the pagoda is more known than the temple itself.  The pagoda is especially stunning when viewed from the Yasaka no dori st. The view is very popular amongst tourists. This area is actually my favorite place in Kyoto.

Hanami Koji


The Hanami Koji St. is lined with tea houses and residential homes that ooze Gion charm. It’s really calming walking down the street. The street is especially beautiful when accessed from the Shijo Dori St. As you walk along the street you can really see how the traditional stone path and the old buildings work together to create a truly beautiful atmosphere. If you’re lucky you may even spot a Maiko (apprentice geisha) or geisha heading to work.

To see more of his stunning photos, follow Mitsuru on Instagram here.

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