Kiyomizu-dera & Gion District

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 17, 2013

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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I decided to start with a Southern Higashiyama tour described in my Lonely Planet Kyoto guidebook. I walked to the starting point of the tour and then headed up the Gojo-zaka slope to Chawan-zaka aka Teapot Lane on my way to Kiyomizu-dera, one of the largest and most popular Buddhist temples in Kyoto.

I eventually reached the temple. It's on a hillside overlooking Kyoto. I headed up the stairs into the temple grounds. I wandered around and soon came to a ticket booth. After buying a ticket I proceeded into the part you have to pay to see. From that point on you follow a one-way path through the temple grounds. I wandered through and eventually wound up back at the entrance.

The tour mentioned something called Tainai-meguri, which was described as being just to the left of the main temple entrance, which I thought was the point where you have to have a ticket to pass. I didn't see it when I was there so when I got back to the beginning I hunted for it and eventually found it.

By entering Tainai-meguri you are figuratively entering the womb of Daizuigu Bosatsu, a female Bodhisativa who can grant any wish. After taking off your shoes and paying your 100 yen (a bit over a dollar) you head down a flight of stairs into the dark and follow a handrail with your left hand thorough the darkness. Eventually you come to an ingraved stone under a light. After passing the stone you're back in the dark again for a while until you get to the stairs that lead up to the exit.

After I exited the womb I tried to follow the path described in the guidebook. Unfortunately, the description and the map are both rather vague. I eventually reached the next point described in the tour. You are then supposed to go down a flight of stairs. Well to get to the point where you're supposed to go down the stairs you've already gone down the flight of stairs. The tour could really use some help.

I continued on the tour to Ishibei-koji, which is described in the tour as possibly the most beautiful street in Kyoto. I haven't seen enough of the streets to have an opinion but it was an interesting little street. The tour then continues to Kodai-ji, a Buddhist temple. It was open for almost another hour but that didn't seem like it would be enough time to see it so I continued on with the tour.

The next spot on the tour is the Otani cemetery and an adjoining park, Maruyama-koen.  I wandered around there for a while.  Since it was getting dark when I was ready to go instead of finishing the last part of the tour I decided to head for the start of the Night Walk Through the Floating World tour also contained in the guidebook instead.

Near the beginning of the tour I came across an Indian restaurant that had an English menu.  I stopped in for a quick dinner before continuing the tour.  Much of the route lead through some old neighborhoods full of restaurants, bars and clubs.  It started to rain partway through the tour.  I rush on until the end and then walked back to the hotel.
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