Another busy day. Not as good as yesterday, but yesterday was hard to beat.
I started off my day by doing laundry at 7:30 a.m. Doing laundry in Japan is kind of handy. I say “kind of” because it has its limits. I’ve noticed that all of the coin-operated washers that I have come across have the detergent built-in, so I don’t have to add any. But they do a really lousy job of cleaning my clothes. So while it’s handy, it’s only handy if I don’t get my clothes dirty.
After that, more free breakfast, then the lady at the desk hooked me up with a big box to send my stuff home in for 300 yen.
I set off for Kamigamo Shrine, in the far Northern part of Kyoto. It’s a kind of a pain in the butt to get to. First, I took the subway all the way to Kitaoji, then I went to the bus station there, then waited 40 minutes for a bus.
When I finally got on the bus, it didn’t stop where the map says it does, and I wound up someplace entirely different.
But the driver helped me and let me know when to get off.
Pro Tip: Ask the bus driver if you don’t know where your stop is. They’re usually great about helping you out, even if you know a bare minimum of Japanese.
I left the hotel at 10:45 a.m., and only got to the shrine at 12:20 p.m., so that was a bit of a bummer.
Kyoto is a pretty cool city, but it can be a pain to get around. Taxis would probably be faster, and after switching train lines so much, the price doesn’t look so bad in comparison. It’s a time vs. money balancing act.
Another thing to keep in mind about visiting shrines on a Sunday– they’re usually packed with people doing stuff like getting married. It’s another double-edged sword, because I don’t want to interfere, but it’s cool to watch, and it also sometimes means parts of the shrines are closed.
This time, there was a wedding and a huge craft fair taking place at the shrine. Both were interesting to check out. The craft fair was cool because people were selling actual things they made with their own hands and skill, and not just stuff in a box from China like you might see at a lot of flea markets. There was also more shichi-go-san visiting taking place, too.
The entrance to the grounds:
As I walked towards the shrine, I saw part of the craft fair going on:
Here’s the entrance to the shrine proper:
Neat bridge in front of the gate in front of the shrine:
Inside the honden:
One last shot of the craft fair. It was pretty big:
On to Shimogamo Shine
After some browsing, I left Kamigamo Shrine and went to Shimogamo Shrine.
I picked the two shrines based on the fact that they both looked pretty in the guidebook I picked up in Nagoya.
Powerful logic there, but it’s one way to narrow down the choices of places to visit.
Another bus ride, another long walk, and a shrine. It was also very visually appealing, very historical, and very crowded.
A torii, so we know we’re entering a shrine:
A close-up of the lantern:
Some of the buildings on the grounds:
The honden entrance:
Some props for taking pictures of kids doing their shichi-go-san visits:
The Sakura Gate, or Sakuramon is stunning:
Coming out the other side:
I came across the stump of a sacred tree on the way out:
And another craft fair:
Then I headed out:
Weddings, shichi-go-san, and another craft festival. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Both shrines feel more like parks than shrines. Shimogamo has better shade trees.
I hopped a train and rode to Ponto-cho for a little stroll there. It has a very nice atmosphere, but it’s also very crowded with tourists.
I went back to the hotel for a snack, and set out again for Arashiyama, but I had to hustle, because it was already 4 p.m., and the sun sets here right at 5 p.m.
Walking along the Ohi river:
I got to the Ohi River bridge just in time… for the sun to already have gone behind the mountain. It was still nice, though.
A view of the Ohi River Bridge:
Some people kayaking in the river, taken from the Ohi River Bridge:
Crossing over to the other side:
Some food stalls set up on the other side:
I took a few shots from the other bank.
Here’s a shot of the bridge:
Another shot of the boaters:
Close up of the other bank:
See, it really is the Ohi River!
Some of the scenery on the other side:
A place to crash before crossing the bridge back to the station:
I strolled around for a bit, then hurried back home because my stomach was cramping. Probably something I ate, or maybe dehydration.
The pink stuff fixed me up. Don’t leave home without it, because you can’t get it here.
Tonight I’m probably going to take it easy. I might saunter to Isetan for a meal there, but I may just sit in my very hot room and sleep, too.
It turns out that they turned off the A/C yesterday. Dunno why, it’s still hot here. But I guess the calendar said, “Turn the heater on,” so now the heater is on. So I had to open the window so I don’t suffocate.
I’m wiped out now.