One of Kyoto’s super old areas, Gion, is a short walk away from Kiyomizu-dera. Gion is best known for geisha-spotting; we weren’t fortunate enough to see any, but we did appreciate the old-timey architecture.
The buildings all have traditional sliding doors, and aside from the electrical wires and cars and scooters zooming past, Gion does have a quaint, old-fashioned feel to it.
If you walk straight up Gion’s main street, you’ll end up at the entrance to Yasaka Shrine; we decided to visit it on a whim one evening!
Visiting a shrine at night is a totally different experience from visiting it in the day; it’s so empty and peaceful, and there are glowing lanterns everywhere.
The only other people around were businessmen, rushing to make a quick prayer before heading home, and a lone caretaker.
We happened upon Rokkakudo Temple purely by accident; it’s not a really well known temple for tourists, and it’s hidden down a little side street. I only noticed it because I heard flapping and splashing, and could see glimpses of swans in between a couple office buildings. I got all excited and went running around the corner, and came upon this!
The swans are located in a little pond around the back of the temple; I don’t really know why the temple has them, but they were super pretty.
Kyoto is full of little temples and shrines like this, tucked away in between office blocks and shops, down alleys, even squeezed between tacky chain stores and fast food joints in shopping arcades.
Itty bitty jizo statues surrounded by little birds.