Our day started with a trip tp the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is one of Kyoto’s stand out attractions. It is built on the side of a hill and is set on lots of high pillars. It was first built in 798 and the current buildings we reconstructed in 1633. It comes from another school of Buddhism and is reached by a steep approach called Tea Pot Lane’ which is lined with stores selling all sorts of tourist crap.
We remember this temple distinctly as the last time that we were here was on the day of the great Kobe Earthquake in 1995.We had walked up to here from our hotel without realising how much damage the quake had caused. It was only when we saw the devastation on the TV in the temple office that we decided- that we should- call home and let everyone know that we were OK. Today, everything was quite stable apart from my excitement at seeing a real-life geisha.
At the entrance, we saw a man accompanying a geisha. We weren’t sure whether she was real or pretend. Either way, she is the only geisha I have ever seen, let alone photograph.
Not far from the entrance, we encountered two young ladies who were having a special day out in their kimonos. They were gracious enough to let me take a photo. of them.
After our temple visit, we walked down the hill towards the district of Gion. By coincidence, we came across the same little ’White Lover’ restaurant where David and I stopped for lunch on the day that we visited Kyoto on our `way to or trip to Russia. I think that we even sat at the same table.
Gion is a district in Kyoto that is famous as a fashion and old entertainment district. It has many little laneways with old buildings containing tea houses and galleries. The Lonely Planet Guide says that if you are very lucky, you may get a glimpse o9f a geisha in the late afternoon or evening while she is on her way to an appointment. On our walk, we strolled past the gardens of Kenninji Temple. It was here that we ran across our second pair of geisha who appeared to be having photos taken at various spots around the park.
We continued to saunter around this very quaint area enjoying the streetscapes.
Our final stop for the day was at another temple where we saw two women having their fortune written and our third encounter with geisha.
I couldn’t resist a final stop at the Bic Camera store ( a giant electronics store) near the station before returning to our hotel.