[Kyoto, Japan] ~ Temples and Alleys

Like a lost kid, I walked somewhere unplanned in Kyoto. – 10.04.15

Planned to cover Kyoto in all compass points but reality (and acceptance that I can get away with train systems but not with buses) kicked in that I had to narrow it down to eastern after FUSHIMI INARI. 

This entry about snapshots from an aimless afternoon walking around the shopping hill to KIYOMIZU-DERA and nearby alleys and then unknown temples until day-end waiting for geishas around GION DISTRICT and window-shopping in SHIJO. 

Afternoon was then for braving the people on the shopping slope on the way to KIYOMIZU-DERA – spot I would want to go back to during season when I feel it would be loveliest. With a can of beer walked my way back until this discovery of another shrine (name to this date a mystery) and while in search of GION, this shrine (apparently called YASAKA) where I tried those fortune sticks on love. Right outside the shrine is a pleasant surprise – view not of the typical temples, but of city in the beat I personally feel it to be. It turned out to be one toward a long strip for shopping called SHIJO – which in one side alley was this geisha district (apparently called HANAMI-KOJI) lined with traditional-looking restaurants. Meals were expensive though that most people were just walking (probably waiting to see geishas) and taking photos.

KIYOMIZU – DERA

Literally called “Pure Water Temple”, a Buddhist temple in Eastern Kyoto interestingly built with use of no single nail

This happened a year ago that I can no longer remember how  I got to this temple (and boo, I do not also have photos to show for it) but I remember walking uphill and walking past a crowded shopping district before reaching the temple.

As also one of the more popular temples in Kyoto, there were also many people in Kiyomizu, including tourists dressed up as geishas. My walk later on that day would reveal shops nearby where costumes and make-up can be availed of.

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This street on the way to the temple

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One of the first things I spotted. Came back for this on my way back

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Got myself one of these

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CROWD

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… and MORE towards the temple

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The shopping alley chaos from the temple stairs perspective

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But first, let me take a selfie 😀

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Towards the main hall

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That intense orange though

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A beaded rope used to ring the bell at the main hall

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Hence, I must come back on those seasons

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Discovered this relatively quiet spot 

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Tourists dressed up as geishas

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Koyasu pagoda a stand-out orange amid all the green from the main hall veranda

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And because I start taking selfies whenever I see something I love – like that orange pagoda

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Someone’s chilling while everyone else busy

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This veranda kind of reminds me of Mines View in Baguio, Philippines

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The veranda from my walk towards the pagoda

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That orange really a favorite

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And this is how it looks like up close

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Rock monster-like

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People from the stage

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Someone’s happy

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One last capture before I say  goodbye after about an hour of walking around the compound

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Shopping District near Kiyomizu

I joined the crowd again this time taking more time stopping by shops selling all kinds of Kyoto souvenirs. I guess I was too busy looking even that I do not have as many snapshots. When tired, I dropped by that Kyoto beer stop near the entrance to the shopping alley. I thought it a cafe I could in but it ended up just a store so I had to drink my beer while walking.

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Buddies

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Tried Kyoto’s craft beer

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I wanted those necklaces but the shop was closed

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Where geishas are ‘made’ (at least, appearance-wise)

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Philippines, represent! Clap clap, San Miguel Pale Pilsen

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Unknown Alleys

I was searching for the geisha district and on my way there, passed by a tourist center and some quiet alleys. I could not know whether I encountered something of historical importance but the neighborhood itself has the smell of much history that it was some walk I enjoyed. Perfect for that mid-afternoon.

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Those wooden structures define this neighborhood’s vibe

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This remains unknown to me but I was drawn to its dark gray color

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As if split

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Luckily passed by this tourist information center where I got my map to be used as reference while searching for the geisha district

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More quiet spaces

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Some photo shoot

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Yasaka Shrine

Also called Gion Shrine, the many lanterns apparently each bearing local business in turn for donations. Has omikuji – which is Japanese fortune-telling based on a strip of paper corresponding to a stick drawn from a box you shake

Further reading about this made me discover that I came across this shrine by accident as it is sandwiched between Higashiyama District (where Kiyomizu is) and Gion (where geisha district is).

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The man hall and the so-called dance hall at the back

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These lanterns are definitely a highlight of this shrine

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Tried this even if I cannot understand Japanese

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You shake this ‘box’ and draw a stick that would tell your future

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More orange posts and stall

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From one of the entrance gates of Yasaka is this view of Shijo

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Kyoto during sunset

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Shijo-dori Street

Literally the fourth street of Heain-kyo and known to be a shopping district

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Kyoto feels with these classy lanterns

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Hanamikoji Street in Gion

Tea shops and restaurants line this geisha district street

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Just one of many mysterious restaurants in the area

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Obviously a favorite among photographers

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Evening in Shijo

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Live street performances are love

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Oh this fun entrance in a restaurant

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CUTE!!

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I was back in Osaka I was a little bit past 9, around 10PM in my airbnb home due to some getting lost at the Osaka loop line. Day cap spent as solo customer in one of the hidden drinking places in the neighborhood, getting all those stamp and food freebies from the kind lady who I had this most memorable conversation in this trip. We were talking in totally different languages but it was one I actually enjoyed.

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Fare adjustment ticket because this Osaka loop line confused me

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 Got myself this free “pulutan” (what Filipinos call appetizers that go with alcoholic drinks)

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This nice lady who owns the small bar I went in

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Evening quiet in my airbnb place

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So planning to go to Kyoto?

Here are some practical tips :

Unless there is only one or two temples you desire to go to, beauty of Kyoto cannot be explored in a day.

Railway may have its purpose but the bus routes are more extensive. You may refer to this link for details on routes. Some planning may have to be done. (Just so you don’t end up using precious time trying to understand the bus map just like what I did).

It also seems that there are seasons when sceneries in Kyoto are most beautiful for most. It is a matter of preference really but some seasons may be more preferred by others so expect crowd. (I was there not during peak season but had my share of tourists already so I can just imagine how those temples look during peak).

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