Discover Kyoto: Geisha in Gion, Yasakajinja & Tokei-ji Temple

Day 2 


December 29, 2012

Kyoto (DIY Tour)

After eating a vegetarian lunch over at Yudofuya Restaurant, we hopped on the bus using our Kyoto City Bus One-day pass to Gion.

Gion is an entertainment district lined with buildings exhibiting a more traditional, Kyoto-esque style of architecture. You can sometimes see a geisha walking through at night.

Izumo no Okuni

In 1603, Izumo no Okuni presented her Kabuki Odori (Kabuki Dance) here on the Shijo Gawara the dry riverbed along side the Kamogawa River near Shijo. At a time when Kyoto was in disarray after the Battle of Sekigahara, Okuni's performances dressed in flamboyant men's costumes delighted and caught the imagination of the people, receiving tremendous acclaim.

Okuni is considered to  be the founder of kabuki, but her birthplace is unknown. She was a miko (shrinemaiden) at Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane who brought her troupe of performers to Kyoto to solicit contributions. Here in Kyoto, she first gained fame for her shows in the Noh stage at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, then toured around amid growing popularity. 

Later, in the beginning of the Edo period, onna kabuki (kabuki played by women) was banned as a corrupting influence on social morals. Me took over, even playing the female roles (onna-gata), and the resulting shows developed into the kabuki of today.

More Kyoto photos after the break...

one of Kyoto buildings

street food #1

A lot of people were buying this mochi-like street food on stick, DH said we got to try it too. It was eeew when I tasted it. Just imagine eating a mochi dipped in Unaji sauce ; p

Shi jo dori main street


A Shinto shrine that serves as a landmark of Kyoto. Also famous for the Gion Matsuri, one of Japan's largest festivals.

Below were some of the photos I took inside Yasakajinja...

I think these are prayer cards

You can buy one of these cards from the store nearby. After writing down your prayers/wishes, you can post it on one of the vacant hooks as seen above. 

Spotted Geisha # 1 and #2

While walking in and around the shrine, we spotted these two Geisha in costume. I was shy to take their photos so I was only able to take photos when they walk passed by me ; p

statues like these are found in almost every corner of the shrine


We watched first what the others were doing then we just copied ; ) First, throw in a coin then ring the bell. Take a bow and clap twice.

these are the biggest bells found inside the shrine

People were lining up just to ring one of the three bells. I saw some couples ringing the bell together as a sign of luck just like the one you see in the photo above.

lanterns, lanterns and more lanterns

This area is closed. The lanterns surrounding the area caught my attention so I took a photo of it.

Spotted Geisha #3

Spotted Geisha #4

century old lantern... I think ; )

Roaming around the side streets of Kyoto...

Kyoto-esque architecture

In the photo, you can see the poster of the winning candidate for Prime Minister position.

Bengara-goshi - this window style lets light in and allows people to see the outside from inside, but it's difficult to see inside from the street.

 Tokei-ji Temple

While walking along the side streets of Kyoto, we passed by another temple, Tokei-ji. 

Also known as Akiba-san, Tokei-ji is a temple that belongs to the Soto sect of Zan Buddhism.

Akiba-sanjakubo-dai-gongen, the main of worship of this temple, first showed himself some 1,300 years ago in present Nagano prefecture of central Japan and was revered as the incarnation of Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy, for his supernatural divine power.

 The Tokei-ji temple derives its origin from the Shoyo-ji temple located on Mt. Akiba in Enshuu (present-day Shizuoka prefecture) in central Japan. Having existed in the former Okazaki village in east Kyoto from the second half of the 18th century, this temple was transferred to its present site in 1860.Though half destroyed in the turbulent years toward the end of the Edo period before the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the temple was restored at the request of wealthy townspeople of Kyoto witht he 15-generation Rev. Bonjo-Taisen of Tennei-ji temple at the temple district in central Kyoto City, as its caretaker.

Akiba-san Tokei-ji is worshipped in and out of Kyoto as a guardian against fire-related calamities and robbery as well as for safety at home.

 inside Tokei-ji Temple

 another bell

another Kyoto-esque architecture called Kyo-machiya

What is Kyo-machiya?

Machiya buildings remain even today all over Kyoto. Many are used as shops, and can be entered for a closer look.

It has a low ceiling on the second floor called "Tsushi-nikai". Kyo-Machiya has a characteristic window style called "Bengara-goshi". 

The only missing in the photo is a Shoki-san figure on top of the roof. The clay figure on a Kyo-machiya is a God that is meant to protect inhabitants from harm and help with academic.

 carriage drawn by man for hire

 parking fee JPY300/ 30 minutes (PhP150/30minutes) aaack!

 Spotted Geisha #5 #6 #7

Well what can I tell you, when you want to see Geisha, got to Gion ; )

 vendo machines are found on every street corner, I am not kidding!

Spotted beside the vendo machine are trash cans.

 where there's a line, the food must be good or not!

People were lining up in this small restaurant along one of the side streets in Gion. What do we do? Of course, we lined up too ; p

 Noppei Udon/Soba JPY 840/870 (PhP 420/435)

Noppei Udon/ Soba - noodles topped with sweet shiitake mushroom, kamaboko (fish paste), omelette shreds and boiled spinach, in soup thickened with potato starch.

From the list of 27 or so noodles, DH had to choose Noppei Udon. It was not really that bad because I have eaten the lone shiitake mushroom and it was sweet, juicy and oh-so-tasty. I just could not accustom myself to eat the noodles in thickened soup... bleech!

street food #2 photo by mrwilson

Green tea ice cream and vanilla with cookie on top. The best JPY350 (PhP 175) I have ever tasted! Yummy! Yes, the Japanese were selling ice cream during winter and people were buying it ; )

Ok, I have to break my Kyoto post for now hahaha I am saving it for tomorrow's entry. I have so many pictures. Imagine, I took over 400 photos on our first day... ack! I need to sort them out hahaha Plus, DH is complaining because I am not using his photos on my entries hehehe 

You can view the first part of our Kyoto adventure here. To view where we stayed during our 8-day stint in Japan, visit here. Interested where we dine on our first night in Osaka? Then read here. Intrigued about the ultimate camera I bought from Canon? View from this link.

Have a great week, peeps!

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