Bring on the Geishas

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Peace House Sakura

Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Monday, April 8, 2013

Our bus arrived in Kyoto at 6 in the morning. With no hostel booked and feeling absolutely drained, we decided to find a nearby budget hotel. On the way we stumbled across this really nice hostel, rang the door bell, spoke to the night staff and let on that we had a booking and were just waiting until 8 for the reception to open and check in. It worked and the next few hours were spent relaxing, showering, updating the blog and uploading photos to a back-up site. It was fantastic! We were delighted with ourselves and slipped out the door without anyone even noticing at noon. Our first stop was the Imperial Palace as it was open to the public for free on this particular day. The place was mobbed with tourists and the palace itself was only ok. After, we hopped on a local bus to the Silver Pavilion Temple which had the "Path of Philosophy" close by. This was really gorgeous due to the ammount of cherry blossoms and small shrines scattered along the way. It took less than an hour to walk so we decided to stay on foot and stroll to Gion- the Geisha area to find accommodation. It took hours of walking around to eventually find a hostel which ended up being quite nice. The beds were Japanese style which basically meant we slept in tiny mattresses placed on tatami mats. One of the lads working there was English and that night all of us went for a drink in "Gaels Irish Pub". He brought us to an area called Ponto Cho after where your more likely to see proper Geisha's (We thought it was an old tradition that has died out but no. There are a select few women who still entertain rich Japanese men through dance, musical instruments and tea parties. Just like the book "Memoirs of a Geisha"). He said that it is very unlikely to see a Geisha and many tourists are left disappointed. Luckily, we got to see two walking with a man from one restaurant to another. It was fascinating! The women had amazing clothes, platformed wooden shoes, white socks, white make up and high hair. You know a Geisha from the other women who walk around in Gion donned in traditional clothes as they never show emotion. You can take pictures away but they will not acknowledge you. Their job is to entertain men and that`s it! We also passed 3 more at a door waving off a man. The next day, we slept in for the first time in ages before popping to the supermarket for breakfast ingredients. Just like home! In the afternoon most of our time was spent at the Golden Pavilion Temple and its surrounding gardens- our favourite in all of Japan! After, we hung around the hostel until around half 9 before getting a metro to the bus station for our 3rd overnight bus in 4 nights. The joys of travelling! Our last morning in Tokyo consisted of Eoin rushing to the Chinese Embassy to collect our passports (Our visas were granted Thank God) and myself booking a hostel for the next leg of our trip- South Korea and booking flights out of South Korea to China. 
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