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.
The sun had set over Kyoto
The shows are held inside Yasaka Hall, next to the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre
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.
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
We all sat down for the show. Other than introductions of each segment in English, everything else would be in Japanese.
The show began with a live demonstration of the tea making ceremony by the side of the stage
While the lady prepared tea, Koto music was playing on main stage while another Japanese art form was being showcased
The art of ikebana — Japanese flower arrangement
Next up was a Japanese classical music theater called Gagaku. All the music was being performed live with instruments that are all really old.
I couldn’t really remember what the theme of this performance was… but this character looked cool!
There was a comedy skit too. Not that I could understand it.
Next up were the Maiko dancers
With their doll-like make up
An their very slow movements. Interesting to watch none the less.
My favourite was the puppet play, known as Bunraku
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.
What the theater looks like after everyone had left
I left the hall as well
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.
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.
I walked past Kamo river. It was a chilly night.
For dinner, I sat down at Mosburger again and had two beef burgers because I really liked their burgers (and I was kinda hungry)
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.
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.
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.
I had to wait around 10 minutes for the 204
The bus fare was ¥230 (₹120/$1.8/€1.7)
From the bus stop, you have to walk for at least 10 minutes to get to the ticket counter
The entry fee to Kinaku-ji costs ¥400 (₹215/$3.26/€3)
As you enter the main grounds, you can see the Kinaku-ji temple in the distance
I swapped lenses and took a close up shot of the Golden pavilion
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.
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.
The train ride to Inari station takes less than 10 minutes. It’s the very next stop.
And as soon as you exit JR Inari station, voila! That’s the entrance to Fushimi Inari-taisha
There is no entrance fee
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.
Everything is of the same colour, including the temples
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