The place that one has seen in textbooks as a child was just an outdated page of history. It was barely realized back then that Gyeongju has a magnificent cultural heritage, an amazing depth of history, and an extremely beautiful scenery. A city such as Gyeongju can be likened to a person who breathes together with nature. From the moment one steps into Gyeongju, one can witness at every corner the imprint of the Silla Empire that had existed for a thousand years, and the exploration of a completely different world begins. There is a place in Japan that resembles the old capital of Gyeongju. The widely popular Kyoto was the capital of Japan for 1,100 years from 794 when Emperor Kanmu moved the capital here from Nara in order to refresh the administration. The emperor named it Heiankyo on 1869 when the capital was moved to Tokyo, or from the Era of Heian to the Era of Meiji. Its population is only 1.5 million, but history revealed that Kyoto also has approximately 2,000 temples. Kyoto is considered as the cultural capital of Japan due to its unique elegance and traditional culture. With many cultural heritage, both cities are crowded with tourists, but they are also great for meditation as people are naturally awed by their strength of firmly piled strata of time.
Gyeongju and Kyoto embrace a number of world cultural heritage with their archaeological, historical, scientific, and architectural values. They often attract many people during peak and off-peak seasons. However, if one walks outside the common tourist spots, there are several temples, forests, and trails perfect for hikers and bicycles. The cities are beautiful all year round, but the views of the cherry blossoms in full bloom are breathtaking every spring. During this time, the cherry blossom forest and the Bomun Lake area behind Banwol Castle of Gyeongju magically entice the viewers, thereby bringing out their acclamation even from a distance. Kion Street and the Path of Philosophy, which are filled with wooden buildings, are a hundred years old, and the narrow stream also creates an endless tunnel of cherry blossoms every spring. Once entered by the splendor of spring, which can only be described by this picture-perfect view, one will certainly embrace the magnificence of the cultural heritage. It is always advisable to choose the destination of the trip to either Gyeongju for its Bulguksa Temple, where one can observe the harmony among the religious background of Buddhist art, western influence, Seokguram, and Cheomseongdae representing the wisdom of Silla, or Kyoto for its 17 world cultural heritage sites and 20% of Japan’s major cultural assets.