Gion and Geisha's.
Our first full day in Kyoto, we took a wander round the quite town of Gion where we went in search for some Geisha's.... and another temple.

 It was super rainy during our visit to Gion, which made for a quite visit and unfortunately I didn't see any geisha's wandering around, there were a few young girls walking around in kimonos (no make up) which set the scene nicely. When we first stepped out of the station, the best way I can describe it is like a high street. A long row of shops with side streets coming off them that were even quieter with lots of eateries down them. There were also lots of places to rent kimono's (hair and make up included) so you could get the full geisha experience, you could rent it for an hour or the whole day- a nice fun little thing to do, as I imagine most tourist's are curious as to what it's like to wear the traditional kimono. We took a stroll through what looked like some of the residential areas of Gion which were so quite and peaceful. We heard that there was a temple nearby (naturally) and went in search for it.

It was the Kiyomizu temple that was near by and not really knowing anything about we were pleasantly surprised. I don't know if I've mentioned this before but one of the cons about travelling independently is the lack of knowledge you have regarding things and places you visit. In every temple we visited I looked around for guide books and the like but couldn't really find any so our knowledge of these awesome places is virtually zero. I would've liked to have known all the when, where's, and whys of everything. I think if you went with an organised tour of some kind you would learn a lot more.

Having no idea what to expect from this temple, it turned out to be one of my faves. Set quite literally on the side of a cliff, from the side you could see all the scaffolding from the side. There was a set walking route in this place so you could see the temple from all the angles. Upon entering the temple and walking a round it on the inside (the least interesting bit) and getting a few pics from the open air bit, you walk around to the side for a view of the temple on its scaffolding. I would've loved to have known who, how and why they built it like this because it looked awesome!

After getting pictures from the side, we were able to wall around and down towards the scaffolding so you could get views from the very front and up above. It was a very carefully thought out route and after taking more pictures we left to find some traditional sushi to eat. The restaurant we found served us one of my fave sushi meals. Set out like Yo Sushi, on a revolving conveyor belt that went round the kitchen, it served fresh cuts of salmon, tuna, and eel (I didn't eat the eel). When I got back, one of the most common questions I got asked was, what was the food like? Well, Japanese Sushi is slightly different to what you would expect in the UK, its not so much what you eat out there, (I recognised most of the food and dishes out there) but it was actually how it was flavoured, or lack of. I mainly stuck to eating the fish dishes and found that they don't flavour their out there leaving it really bland. Basically I learned to add soy source to everything!

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Pictures and edits by Jon Barker  


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