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Where to go in Kyoto?: A Visit to the Antiquarian Bookstores

Welcome to Japan!
 
Kyoto has a lot of antiquarian bookstores. I highly recommend these antiquarian bookstores as great sightseeing spots! You might ask me… why the antiquarian bookstores although all of their books are in Japanese? That’s absolutely fine. It doesn’t matter if you’re familiar or not with Japanese language.
The minute you enter an antiquarian bookstore, you will recognize the place is full of antique and cultural scents that have been accumulated in its palimpsest history. These scents must immediately bring you towards past classical days of rich cultures. Even this experience will be certainly valuable.
There are in the bookstore very old books, some of which were written by Japanese traditional writing brushes. There, you can pick up one of these cool books in your hands. You, of course, can’t understand what is written in the book. Don't worry, ordinary Japanese people can’t easily read these books like you guys. Again, you don’t have to read the contents. First of all, just take these books, feel the history, and touch the old-fashioned books, as if you usually find importance more in lyrics than in melodies when listening to foreign songs. There you go, you now see what I mean.
Just try to imagine how many years the antique books have waited for your visit. Also, guess what the author notes in the pages you open in your hands. I believe books are not only to be read but also to be imagined. There is invisible spiritual communication between the books. If you like a book at the antiquarian bookstore, that’s already yours. Why don’t you make the book travel to your country and accumulate its new history there? And… don't forget to upload a picture of the book to your Instagram account. It would be very cool with no doubt!
Imagine some years later after your travel in Kyoto, there will be 2 books on your bookshelf, which remind you of your memories. One is ‘Lonely Planet’, and the other is the antique book you bought in Kyoto.
 

<日本語版>

ようこそ、日本へ。

京都には長い歴史を持つ古書店がたくさんあります。私は古書店を観光スポットとして強くお勧めします。え、日本語は読めないし、行ってもしょうがない?いえ、そんなことはありません。古書店には長い歴史の中で蓄積された文化の香りが満ち満ちています。それを体感するだけでも特別な体験になるでしょう。とても古い本だと、毛筆で直接書かれたような本もあります。それらは実際に手に取って触ることができます。中身に何が書いてあるか、それを理解する必要はありません。実際に本を手に持ち、ずっしりとした重さや手触り、そして匂いを感じてみましょう。外国語の歌を聴く時に歌詞よりもメロディを楽しむように。いったい何年間の時代を経て、あなたの手のひらに辿り着いたのか、その本の歴史に思いを馳せてみましょう。きっと、こんなことが書かれているんじゃないかな、と想像が掻き立てられることだと思います。本は読むものじゃなくて想像するものです。もし、あなたの五感にビビッと来た本があれば、もう買っちゃいましょう。Instagramにもアップしましょう。古本は意外とインスタ映えしますよ!

旅行を終えて、母国に帰国してから数年後のあなたの本棚を想像してみてください。そこにはきっと、京都を思い出させる本が二冊残っていると思います。一冊は、ボロボロになった『地球の歩き方』。そして、もう一冊はもちろん、京都で出会った日本語の古い書物です。