Nov 15

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Date: 23rd March, 2015

My day of sightseeing across Kyoto began at the famous Fushimi Inari-taisha before returning to the city to visit Kinaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera. And although I felt I had seen enough, I found myself walking towards Gion Corner — a theater that has a daily cultural show showing some Japanese traditions and live theater.

Gion street at night Kyoto

The sun had set over Kyoto

Gion corner Kyoto night

The shows are held inside Yasaka Hall, next to the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre

Gion Corner show information

I was on two minds about attending the show. It’s quite pricey ¥3150 (₹1700/$25/€24) and I assumed there wouldn’t be any tickets for the final show.

Gion Corner crowd Kyoto Japan

But it turns out there still a few seats left for the final show. And since I was already in line, I thought why not, and bought myself a ticket

Gion Corner cultural show Kyoto

We all sat down for the show. Other than introductions of each segment in English, everything else would be in Japanese.

Tea making ceremony Kyoto Japan

The show began with a live demonstration of the tea making ceremony by the side of the stage

Gion Corner traditional music Kyoto

While the lady prepared tea, Koto music was playing on main stage while another Japanese art form was being showcased

Flower arrangement Gion Corner Kyoto

The art of ikebana — Japanese flower arrangement

Traditional Japanese music Gion corner

Next up was a Japanese classical music theater called Gagaku. All the music was being performed live with instruments that are all really old.

Japanese theatre demon Kyoto

I couldn’t really remember what the theme of this performance was… but this character looked cool!

Comedy skit Gion corner culural show

There was a comedy skit too. Not that I could understand it.

Maiko dancers Gion corner Kyoto

Next up were the Maiko dancers

Maiko dancer Kyoto Japan

With their doll-like make up

Maiko dancer girls Japan

An their very slow movements. Interesting to watch none the less.

Puppet play Gion corner show Kyoto

My favourite was the puppet play, known as Bunraku

Puppet show Kyoto Japan theater

The men controlling the puppet dressed in all black and did an impressive job of emoting and movements

Here is a video I took using my zoom lens:

And after that, the show was over. It probably lasted about 40 minutes(?). That’s it. Was it worth it? Meh, I don’t know. It is kinda pricey at ¥3150 but at the same time, it is a good way to see Japan’s traditional performing arts all on one stage, even if you can’t understand much of it. I consider it one of those “done it, scratch it off the list” kind of activities in Kyoto.

Gion Corner theater Kyoto Japan

What the theater looks like after everyone had left

White sakura at night Gion Kyoto

I left the hall as well

Gion street night Kyoto Japan

I walked back down the main Gion road which was getting quite empty

As I reached the entrance/exit, I saw people snapping photos and there was some excitement around this dressed up woman.

Geisha Gion corner Kyoto Japan

It was the elusive geisha! She had a smile on her face, but she wasn’t posing for any photos. And so this is all I got. Oh well, I wasn’t going to chase her or annoy her for a photograph.

Kyoto Kamo river night

I walked past Kamo river. It was a chilly night.

Mosburger Kyoto Japan

For dinner, I sat down at Mosburger again and had two beef burgers because I really liked their burgers (and I was kinda hungry)

After dinner, I walked all the way back to Shiori-an Guesthouse.

Car parking building Kyoto

Saw this parking building on the way back. The whole thing is automated.

Today was an eventful day. I saw quite a bit, but I was tired. Today was also my last full day in Kyoto. I had to leave for Himeji the next day. But I realized there was much more to see in and around Kyoto. I would wake up early tomorrow morning to visit the famous tourism town of Arashiyama. The impressive Bamboo Forest and the Monkey Park are all in the next few posts.

Previous posts in this series:

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

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

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

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

Nov 15

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

Date: 23rd March, 2015

After returning from Fushimi Inari-tasiha, I took the train to Kiatoji station and from there I inquired how to get to Kinaku-ji temple. Fortunately there is a tourism help desk with an English-speaking staff to assist, and I was instructed to take bus 204.

Kitaoji bus station Kyoto Japan

The bus bays are like this. Each door is reserved for specific buses, and it only opens when the bus has arrived at the door.

Bus 204 to Kinakuji Kyoto Japan

I had to wait around 10 minutes for the 204

Inside Kyoto bus 204 Japan

The bus fare was ¥230 (₹120/$1.8/€1.7)

Kinakuji entrance Kyoto Japan

From the bus stop, you have to walk for at least 10 minutes to get to the ticket counter

Kinakuji ticket booklet Kyoto Japan

The entry fee to Kinaku-ji costs ¥400 (₹215/$3.26/€3)

Kinakuji panorama Kyoto Japan

As you enter the main grounds, you can see the Kinaku-ji temple in the distance

Kinakuji reflection pond Kyoto Japan

I swapped lenses and took a close up shot of the Golden pavilion

Kinakuji golden temple Kyoto Japan

The Kinaku-ji is one of the most famous Zen Buddhism shrines in all of Japan. Iconic due to its golden exterior and its location in a pond.

Continue reading “Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple” »

Nov 15

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

Date: 23rd March, 2015

I spent yesterday exploring the shopping areas of Kyoto city center, but today, I planned to see the big attractions. First on my itinerary was a visit the famous Fushimi Inari-taisha temple.

Kyoto city pavement Japan

I walked to Kyoto station, which is just 15 minutes from Shiori-an Guesthouse

Kyoto station panorama Japan

That’s Kyoto station, panorama style

Kyoto station Nara line Japan

It’s very easy to get to the shrine by train. Just buy a ¥140 ticket to Fushimi Inari Station and hop on a train on the JR Nara line.

Kyoto river stream Japan

The train ride to Inari station takes less than 10 minutes. It’s the very next stop.

Fushimi Inari entrance from station

And as soon as you exit JR Inari station, voila! That’s the entrance to Fushimi Inari-taisha

Fushimi Inari-taisha entrance

There is no entrance fee

Fushimi Inari-taisha map Japan

Here is a map of the Fushimi Inari-taisha. There are a few temples below but as you climb the mountain, you will walk through the famous red-ish, orange (vermillion?) wooden pillar gates (called toriis in Japanese) all the way to the top.

Fushimi Inari red temples Kyoto

Everything is of the same colour, including the temples

Fushimi Inari wolf statue Kyoto

Fushimi Inari is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. As per their mythology, foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers. So you will see many fox statues across the shrine and up the mountain

Fushimi-inari taisha tourists Japan

Okay, let the climbing commence!

Continue reading “Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top” »

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