Besides bamboo forest and the golden pavilion, you can stroll around Kyoto on foot. We decided to take a bus to Kiyomizu temple and then walk slowly through a couple of temples to the Gion or Geisha area, and then to downtown.
We took a bus 206 from Kyoto station. And ended up in Gion! Somehow we didn’t recognize the station for Kiyomizu temple and ended almost at the end. Since we like to walk and it was a sunny day we went backwards or original plan.
I actually don’t have a specific wish to see more temples as they don’t have religious meanings for me. And it’s like the pagodas in Myanmar, once you’ve seen a couple, you’ve seen them all (exaggerating a bit :). So we walked around a few temples and shrines, all free entrance, enjoying the nice weather, beautiful parks and ponds. The streets are narrow and clean (not a single trash or even leaf on the road), with beautiful fronts and shops offering a maiko experience (you get to dress like a geisha apprentice for a day- 3000 ¥). The best part is that a lot of Japanese tourist do just this. So you can enjoy these beautiful old streets with geishas walking around.
We heard live music from a music hall and found out that there’s a semi-concert, like an after show of a concert. Members of the orchestra were super friendly and talked to us for a while. We stayed for the show and for half an hour the band was playing only for us 🙂
We slowly got to the small streets, full of souvenirs and sweets, and finally saw the famous orange-red Kiyomizu temple. It was beautiful. But because it was sunday, very crowded. At least we had ‘geishas’ wandering around everywhere 🙂
And tomorrow we start our 4-day retreat in a Zen temple close to Kinkakuji temple. It should be interesting!