Following up from ≪In the Streets of Kyoto Part 1≫, on the second morning of our stay in Kyoto, I had a kimono rental appointment at ≪Yume Yakata≫, which was within the same block as our hotel. That was fantastic because I noticed that in Kyoto, we had to take the bus or subway and this kinda bummed me out a little because I really think you can see so much more of the city on foot.
I found out about Yume Yakata from Google search and the way it works is that you decide whether or not you want to rent a yukata, a summer time kimono, or an actual kimono then you fill out their form online and make a reservation. Additional add-ons include getting your hair and makeup done and these require reservations as well. They have different plans too some where you can purchase a yukata and keep it and others where you get locational photo shoots and so on. Their website is pretty straightforward. Give it a look if you’re interested and I’ve also drafted a separate post about the whole process right ≪here≫.
Papa Chen was a little shy to try on a kimono so it was just me but as soon as I got dressed, we headed for Fushimi Inari-taisha!
We reached the shrine around 10:30-11:00AM on a Monday, but it was still rather busy despite the weather being cloudy with a bit of drizzle. It is recommended to visit during early morning week days if you wish to avoid the crowd. However, unlike the Bamboo Grove at Arashiyama, it was fairly easy to get clear shots of the torii without people in the background. Visitors here were also generally more willing to stop and wait for you to take your shot instead of walking right into your photo.
Taken with wide-angle lens mentioned in previous Osaka post.
In the summer, kawadoko, or outdoor riverside dining, is very popular in Kibune. Restaurants are built right above the Kibune River so diners can enjoy the pleasant sounds of the trickling water beneath whilst enjoying kaiseki (multi-course) meals. The most famous is Hirobun (ひろ文) and they actually offer what’s called nagashi somen, which means flying noodles. Diners basically sit in front of a bamboo pipe which carries flowing water from the Kibune River and floating noodles and you grab a blob with your chopsticks, dip it in sauces, and eat it.
I found out about Hirobun from my aunt who visited Kibune a few months before we did. She raved about how fun and exciting the experience was and I was really looking forward. Unfortunately, due to the rain, a lot of these outdoor restaurants were actually closed and that included Hirobun. Consequently, we looked elsewhere and dined at a nearby restaurant.
Following lunch, we checked out Kibune Shrine.
We missed out on quite a few activities here in Kibune. There’s onsens here, there’s hiking trails that lead to Kurama-dera (Kurama temple), and there are those flying noodles as mentioned earlier. There are ryokans here too. Very beautiful destination for a quick getaway from the city. I definitely left feeling invigorated. We called it a day at Kibune and took the densha to Hanamachi district.
Matcha and dango at Tsujiri.
Hanamachi is the name for the Japanese geisha district. There are five in Kyoto which is why it is sometimes also referred to as gokagai. The main ones that I recognized were Gion and Pontocho although I actually wasn’t too sure where the exact boundaries were, but we just enjoyed a nice walk around and discovered a couple interesting shops.
Dinner was at Sushi Tetsu in Pontocho Alley. It was a little hard to find and there were so many other restaurants around and they all looked worth the try. If we stayed in Kyoto longer, I’d for sure come back to this foodie heaven. But yes, Sushi Tetsu. It was divine. We ordered nigiri pieces and the sashimi bits just melted like butter in my mouth. I especially liked the aburi ones where the chefs seared the tops with a torch. Delish!
This last shot was taken in Pontocho by a complete stranger and I had several people ask to photograph me throughout the whole day. A lot of people had also mistaken me as Japanese so very successful(?) kimono experience I’d say.
With yummy in our tummies, we took a casual walk back to the hotel. Casual walk as in a 30-minute walk. Kyoto at night is busy around the food and shopping districts, but as we got closer to residential areas, the crowds died down and the streets got emptier. We also noticed many pachinko parlours. Definitely not a sight you see here in North America.
Before we left for our next city, we paid a visit to Kiyomizu-dera. And of course, gotta start off the early morning with oishii milk! I fell in love with this in Nara, but if you didn’t read that post, oishii milk literally translates into delicious milk.
That white yukata though.
Koyasu Pagoda viewed from the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera
Okunoin Hall under construction ☹
Jishu Jinja Shrine (Shrine of Love). In front of the shrine, there are two stones placed 18 meters apart. It’s said that if you can successfully find your way from one to the other with your eyes closed, you’ll be able to find true love.
Otowa Waterfall. Cups are provided here so that visitors can drink from the fall. There are three separate streams that offer different benefits: longevity, success at school, and good love life. It is considered greedy to drink from all three.
Matcha and yokan (thick, jellied red bean dessert) at the foot of the temple.
The view here overlooked the city and was absolutely astonishing. We actually spent more time here than expected because there was so much to see and every little detail had such an intriguing story. And of course, going to Kiyomizu-dera means visiting the Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka districts as well.
Again, I couldn’t tell where the boundaries were and which part cut off which district, but it was a nice stroll in these traditional Japanese streets.
This pretty much concludes part two of “In the Streets of Kyoto”. Stay tuned for what’s coming next and check out my Japan vlog!