Among the many blessings of my life in Kyoto, my friendship with Judith Clancy, author of Exploring Kyoto is definitely quite high on the list. Aside from the pleasure of her company, her enthusiasm for life and all that it offers has given her a knowledge base that she willingly and readily shares. No matter what I’ve wanted to do, who I’ve wanted to meet or where I’ve wanted to go, Judith always knows the best and most enjoyable way to get there, who I should see and when would be the best time to go.
Having lived in Kyoto since 1970, Judith eagerly embraced the culture, studying a wide range of Japanese arts. And over the years, she’s become certified in Tea ceremony and well-practiced in the art of ikebana as well as interpretor for a number of international culture groups and translator for several books on Japanese textiles.
All of this knowledge and love for Japanese culture and the city of Kyoto has been distilled into a wonderful Kyoto City guidebook called Exploring Kyoto — on foot in the ancient capital. With the recent release of it’s third printing, the book has been newly revised and updated throughout. Exploring Kyoto will not only provide its readers with a walking guide through Kyoto’s streets and neighborhoods but also guide the reader through the exotic history of one of Asia’s most ancient cities. A quick peek at the reviews on Amazon will show you that it’s also the guide that even we Kyoto residents buy and use.
As an avid traveler herself, Judith can truly appreciate the finer points of tourism — those little details that make traveling a joy instead of a hassle — and she brings that perspective to bear in operating Kyoto Workshops, her own Kyoto-based tour business. Always mindful of the varying needs and interests of her clients, she has successfully arranged personalized tours for a wide range of tastes — Chinese dignitaries, martial arts enthusiasts, and art conoisseurs to name a few.
When not busy guiding private tours or writing her next book on Kyoto restaurants, Judith makes herself at home in an old Nishijin weaver’s studio that she remodeled into a beautiful home nestled in a tiny back alley near Myorenji Temple. Preserving the high beamed ceilings of the weaving studio but installing heated flooring to protect against the cold damp of Kyoto winters, she has turned her home into a perfect backdrop not only for her fabulous art collection but also her exquisite flower arrangements, both of which she changes constantly to reflect the season in perfect Kyoto style.