It seems that all the cold air is going to Europe at the moment – the weather here is unusually warm for this time of the year. Last Saturday, we had a high of almost 15 degrees, and this afternoon was warm and sunny as well.

So, I went out and did what I have wanted to do for quite a while already: I walked along a (part of) the Lake Biwa – Kyoto canal. Near the Kyoto International Community House, there is a small museum dedicated to the water works of Kyoto. From there you can stroll up the hill along one of the water ways until you can see two huge red pipelines coming out of the mountain. This is a nice and quiet spot with a little park and a statue (possibly of the head engineer?) and now that there are no leaves, you have a nice view over Kyoto.

Anyway, I find the canal itself very interesting. It was started in the Meiji era as a way to halt the decline of Kyoto after the court moved to Tokyo. The canal – now there are three of them – connects Kyoto with Lake Biwa in the North and provides drinking water for Kyoto. In former days, the water was also used to generate power: At some point, Kyoto even had a tramway driven with the electricity from the Lake Biwa canal. Unfortunately, the tramway does not exist any longer, but one of the cars is exhibited in Heian shrine garden (why there I have no idea though – I can’t read the sign…). I will explore Kyoto’s waterways further – my interest is certainly piqued… part of lake biwa canal in nanzen-ji