…separated by time. Both images give us a “bronze lion’s eye view” down Shijo as seen from the entrance to Yasaka Shrine. The first is a recent image painted by my hopelessly romantic friend Ichsan. Do please visit his website to see more of his wonderful paintings. This is the image of Gion with which we are familiar today.
And now here is the same view, as it was over a hundred years ago:
Incredible how much it has changed, isn’t it? The man wasn’t kidding when he said “the past is a foreign country”. If we could transport citizens of 19th century Kyoto to the present day and show them what we’ve done to this city, how do you think they would react? Would they see progress or would they weep? In turn, what would it have been like to live in this city then? Can you imagine the sound of the streets without motorized traffic? Can you imagine being able to see the mountains all around you from the very center of the city? Can you imagine waking up in the morning, walking out onto those streets and greeting the people there? If you are familiar with 21st century Kyoto, doesn’t this picture haunt you? Only a few key buildings from that time remain today, and all the rest has changed utterly… How will this scene look in another hundred years?