Saturday 11th August 2012
11.08.2012 - 11.08.2012 30 °C
Today we explored Kyoto on foot. We left the hotel and bought the usual breakfast which we consumed on a park bench. As it was incredibly humid, and already wet on the ground, I suggested we went back for the umbrellas, but Chris said we’d be fine, and so we set off for Nishiki Market.
=== Nishiki Market ===
Nishiki market was a permanent market, which was more like an arcade of ver small shops. Within the market, they sold fruit and veg, fish, food and various traditional shops sold the usual authentic Japanese items. In one of these little outlets I bought a glasses case.
We continued to the Gion district where Chris wanted to return later to go Geisha spotting. We crossed the river where we had sat and eaten dinner the night before and admittedly the sky was very grey as it was about to rain, but it just looked so dull and unappealing by day without all the fairy lights turned on in the trees.
=== Yasaka-Jinga Temple ===
We arrived at Yasaka-Jinga temple, just as it began to pour with rain. We took shelter near the entrance and waited for the worst of it to pass. We wandered around the temple before continuing through the park and on to a pretty small lake called Maniyama Koen. It even had a white duck!
We carried on, stopping briefly outside the Higashi-Otani shrine. We got a little lost at one point and found ourselves at a massive cemetery. Once back on course, we continued up the bustling streets of Ninen-Zaka, hoping to find some lunch; however we were clearly on a touris route where 1500+ yen for a lunch menu was the norm. We continued past Sannen-Zaka before arriving at the famous temple of Kiyomizu-Dera
=== Kiyomizu-Dera Temple ===
Kiyomizu-Dera Temple was made up of various smaller temples and was high up on the hillside. It had a 3 tier pagoda towards the font. Inside the temple was a large prayer room where people buying candles to burn , writing their names on to burn away their sins.
Outside on the veranda (in the rain) you had a great view of the mountains behind with Kyoto city in front.
Temple sat on the hillside overlooking Kyoto
We headed back down the hillside and onto the streets. It’s now about half two and we are getting very hungry. We stop at a few places along the way, although they are either not suitable or have stopped serving food.
We arrived at Sanjusangen-Do temple and decided to continue down into town another 250m in search of food.
And then there it was. A McDonalds, still serving food, with air-conditioned seating. We both went for the masala gold burger meal from their Indian themed menu. It was just what we needed to pick us up.
We headed back to the temple in the pouring rain. It was really heavy now, and bought a nice yellow umbrella for 200 yen.
This temple was home to 1000 life sized Buda statues. They were incredibly impressive all standing in lines. Unfortunately photos are strictly forbidden. Behind the statues in a separate corridor was information about the temple.
Outside the temple, we caught a bus to Kyoto train station, where having spent a good half an hour looking at stationery in the best stationery shop ever called Loft. Chris decided he wanted to spend 3000 yen on a notebook in Kyoto station. After he had finally chosen the same notebook he’d wanted all along, we paid and headed to a café as we had about half an hour to kill before needing to return to the Gion district at dusk to possibly see some Geishas.
Finding a reasonably priced café with seats proved fairly difficult but we finally found one. We sat in the main station overlooking the main walkway for some perfect people watching.
Just before half six, we headed down to the buses and managed to find the stop we wanted straight away. The bus took us directly to the Geisha district, where we arrived at dusk, just before 7.
Geisha district by day
Since Kimono have come back into fashion, this made it more challenging to spot a Geisha, but Chris is sure we saw at least one. Either way, as it was Saturday night, there were quite a few girls dressed in Kimono with their hair tied up more ornately than usual.
Geisha or a girl in traditional Japanese dress?
After about 45 minutes, we headed back towards the river where tonight they had these beautiful orange cage like balls with orange lights and wishes inside. The balls varied in diameter, but were approximately 1ft in diameter.
Lanterns on the riverbank
We sat romantically by the river for about half an hour or so before walking back to the hotel.
We picked up some food in the supermarket. I had a very nice pasta in tomato sauce with fish. Chris had some chicken nuggets.