Kimono girls Gion Kyoto Japan

Japan: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Date: 22nd March, 2015

After arriving in Kyoto by bullet train and checking in to Shiori-an Guesthouse, I began my sightseeing walk around Kyoto. Nishi and Higashi Honganji, two Shin Buddhism temples, were close to where I was staying, so I first went there.

Kyoto cats neko Japan
Saw a lot of furry cats outside the temples
Higashi Honganji buddhist temple Kyoto Japan
There was massive renovation work undergoing at sections of the Nishi Honganji complex
Plastic covers for shoes Kyoto temple
You cannot enter the temple with footwear. You have remove your shoes, carry them in these plastic bags and only then climb up the steps.
Higashi Honganji wood pillars Kyoto Japan
This temple hall was built in 1895 and claims to be the largest structure made entirely of wood

Or so it claims. I don’t know if it still remains the largest wooden structure, especially after having seen The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya which uses a heck lot of teak wood.

Higashi Honganji temple Kyoto Japan
Photography isn’t allowed inside the hall, so this is all I could shoot from outside
Snow hill Kyoto Japan
On the side, they had displays depicting how workers brought down trees from the nearby hills to be used in the construction of Nishi and Higashi Honganji
Ancient wooden sledge Kyoto Japan
They used to transport the wooden logs on these sledges
Old hair rope Kyoto Japan
The ropes the workers used were made of human hair (believe it or not) as they were deemed to be much stronger. This was one such rope used.
Higashi Honganji renovation Kyoto-japan
The renovation work is set to be complete by the end of 2015
Nishi Higashi Honganji old map Kyoto Japan
An old map of the Nishi and Higashi Honganji temple complex
Nishi Honganji Kyoto Japan
I don’t know if these smaller structures are new
Nishi and Higashi Honganji pigeons Kyoto Japan
There wasn’t much else to see. So I left.
Inside Kyoto bus Japan
I hopped on the local bus to get to Shijo street
Shijo street Kyoto Japan
Shijo street is a major shopping hub
Oioi Kyoto Marui department store Japan
You have several branded stores, eateries and many department stores
Shijo street stores Kyoto Japan
On either side of the street, pavements are covered along the entire stretch
Kimono women shopping Kyoto Japan
Saw quite a few women walking around in kimonos
Stream sakura tree Kyoto Japan
Kyoto’s old city charms are easy to spot
Kyoto Opera House Japan
Although there are modern shops on Shijo Street, you still have buildings with traditional architecture like the Kyoto Opera House
Shamisen player street Kyoto Japan
A street performer playing a shamisen
Kamo river Kyoto Japan
This is the Kamo River
Traditional Japanese restaurant Kyoto Japan
Kyoto’s appeal is definitely how traces of ancient Japan can still be found amidst modernity
Gion entrance Kyoto Japan
Eventually I found myself at the entrance to Gion
Hanami koji Gion Kyoto Japan
Gion is one of Kyoto’s most famous attractions. A neighbourhood full of old-style Japanese houses called machiya. This is the main Hanami-koji street.
Shops Gion street Kyoto Japan
That said, most of these old-style establishments are businesses — mostly eateries and bars
Old Kyoto Japan Gion corner
Gion is also a renowned Geisha district, with a few schools training maikos to become geishas. But geishas out in the public were a rare sight.
Gion photoshoot Kyoto Japan
Photoshoots were going on to get that perfect ‘I’m in a kimono’ picture
Kimono girls Gion Kyoto Japan
After sneaking in photos of women in kimonos, I asked these girls if I could take a photo of theirs after I saw other photographers requesting the same (that creepy ‘school girl’ will make another appearance later)
Geisha school Gion Kyoto Japan
I don’t know if this was a geisha school or not
Gion Corner theater Kyoto Japan
This is Gion Corner, a theater which presents 1-hour shows of seven traditional performing arts of Kyoto. I would return here the next day.
Entrance Kenninji temple Kyoto Japan
At the end of Hanami-koji road is Kenninji temple
Kenninji temple museum Kyoto Japan
I don’t know if this was the Kenninji temple or a museum, but unfortunately I had arrived just as it was closing πŸ™
Kenninji temple Kyoto Japan
Adding to that, it began to drizzle
Path Kenninji temple Kyoto Japan
So I kept walking
Cherry blossom old Kyoto Japan
And on the way out, I saw my very first cherry blossom tree! (Photo captured on my phone)
Old wall Kyoto Japan
I didn’t really know where I was headed on the way out. I just walked.
Toji temple street Kyoto Japan
Despite the drizzle, I found myself walking towards that tower
Toji temple Kyoto Japan
This is Toji Temple. Another Kyoto landmark… and already closed for the day. Tip: Try and visit the temples and historic buildings before 5PM.
Old style Japan house letter box
I opened up Google Maps on my phone and decided to get back to Gion
Wet road Kyoto evening Japan
The rains had stopped
Old Kyoto house Japan neighbourhood
I was loving Kyoto’s traditional look
Weird guy schoolgirl Kyoto Japan
Back in Gion, I again walked past the weird guy dressed up in a school girl outfit with ‘Saw’ make-up on
Wet street Gion Kyoto Japan
It’s no wonder the Gion area is popular for film shoots
Gion Hanamikoji road Kyoto-japan
I was back on Hanamikoji road
Kimono couple Gion Kyoto Japan
Spotted a couple posing for photos. The robe the man is wearing is called the Yukata.

I left Gion and decided to walk to Nishiki Market and check out the shopping arcades before it got too late. That’s the next post.


Next post in this series:

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo β€” and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku β€” views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and exploring Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015 – Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji β€” and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport β€” and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

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