Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 4: walking Kyoto, part 1

There are so many elements to Kyoto. The elegance of the people, different from Tokyo, though we confess we have not shopped Ginza. The way every corner reveals something different.

The layout of the city is a puzzle on the map at first look when far away. But find the station and downtown becomes easy to follow, a very square pattern, east-west north-south, north of Kyoto station, so if you can keep track of corners turned you know where you are easily enough. If uoiu've done research in advance. That's the point: research hard in advance, plan as little as possible.... or just put yourself in the nads of a guide and skip the interesting bits between the crowded tourist top points.

The walk covered in this blog entry proceeded from near Sanjo Dori, top left, down the narrow lane of traditional buildings mainly restaurants, running on the west side of the Kamo River to the Gion Bridge; between the Sanjo Bridge and the Gion Bridge, then west along Gion dori to the Yasaka Shrine; from there in the next blog entry, by another wending way back to our hotel near Sanjo Dori on Kawaramachi Dori.

Of course you could plan a little better than I, presenting nicely printed reservation information page from, in Japanese, to hotel receptionist, who ducked away for a moment to see the boss and returned to point with standard but wonderful Japanese smiling and voice, to the plain-as-day dates for me to read and agree that yes, they were expecting us last night. But no problem, was the gracious advice, you can stay tonight, no fee for last night. Great relief that they were not booked out!

Anyway, the point is you and companion/s need to have agreement on which direction to walk and when to walk... but then be free to follow what looks interesting. 

At 8 the only thing open was Stealbucks, where we had bland coffee and soggy wrap. Moving on to seek better fare, we came upon this temple and cemetery. Rather fun to see the opportunity to stick your head in a hole and have a silly picture at the door to such places!

An interesting history

We found fish for breakfast around the corner, market arcade setting up after 9am.

After that, a walk, begun at Ponto-cho, where in the evening there has been a hundred dining options.

Everything in this shop with rabbit images.
The name of the shop sounds like Pyo Pyo, Pyom, Pyom - sounds of rabbits
And such a charming gentle man.

This is the view back from the Geon bridge, southern end of Ponto-cho (left bank), running back to the Sanjo bridge over the Kamo River. Heron standing in the river, bottom left, being approached by duck. Heron failed to respond, duck swam away.

onwards eastwards on Gion Dori past fine shops

in fine company

We had just passed the red dot on the map 

when we saw an amazingly mixed-cultural event coming down the street (first item in this film)

The gate to the Yasaka Shrine guarded or lorded over by this imposing figure.

People  select wrapped o-mikuji, unwrap them to see the quality of the wish written thereon and proceed to tied it with others.

We were in the grounds long enough to see two Shinto weddings. This video is a glimpse of one of them. Wikipedia has an informative entry on marriage in Japan.

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