Dennis Wright's Blog

Kyoto: the Yasaka Shrine

Posted in Far East Cruise 2007, Japan, Kyoto, Travel by Dennis Wright on November 29, 2007


From the Umeda Sky Building we took a taxi back to Shin-Osaka station, retrieved our luggage from the “check room” and headed off to the part of the station dedicated to the Tokaido Shinkansen, the bullet train.

We followed the colour-coded displays to the right platform and boarded our Kodama Shinkansen for the relatively short journey to Kyoto. Once there we found there was a courtesy taxi service to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency. After checking in we decided to get straight into some serious shrine-visiting, starting with the Yasaka Shinto temple in the Gion district of Kyoto.

Yasaka Kyoto

Yasaka Kyoto

We found our way through the surrounding park to the back-streets of Gion, looking for the Kodaiji Buddhist temple. We came across a courtyard with a couple of shops in it, including an ice cream counter. It was a sweltering hot day and there were little Japanese kids running around licking the green tea flavoured ice cream cornets. The ice cream seller was doing a roaring trade. Naomi held my cornet as well as hers so I could take this picture.

Kyoto green tea ice cream

The courtyard contained a drum (Taiko) which I assume has some religious significance because, as we sat on a bench enjoying our ice cream, a monk entered and proceeded to clatter the drum fairly ferociously for a few minutes before departing just as mysteriously. Maybe a call to prayer?

Kyoto buddhist monk drum

Naomi bought a lace hankie and we headed off, still in search of the elusive Kodaiji temple. The geisha girls were out in force, either in the back of rickshaws or on foot, in the latter case usually in the company of a Geisha Minder. Geisha girls in the Gion area prefer to be known as geiko (woman of art) rather than geisha (artist).

Kyoto geishas

Kyoto geishas

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