Photo of the week
Day two began with a lovely meal at the ryokan consisting of multiple small dishes traditionally eaten for breakfast including tofu, a small salad and miso soup. I dropped my bag at the train station before catching a bus to the Yasaka Shrine. I ended up having a bit of a side trip after disembarking the bus because my eye was caught by a small stream flanked by willow trees. I followed the stream a short distance into a neighborhood where a market was opening. I really enjoyed the neighbourhood feel of this market, and I stopped to take several photographs. One of the ladies was really nice and we had a sort of Japanese/English conversation after which I took her photograph. Luckily I had my little Epson POGO printer with me and I printed out a copy of the photograph for her. She was really excited to have that and immediately put it up on her wall.
I walked through the market a little bit more and as I stopped to pat a cat I noticed that I became a part of a Japanese photowalk, with several photographers taking photographs of me with the cat. I then joined them for a short walk as some of them spoke English (which was very good despite their protests to the contrary).
As we returned to the stream I noticed an older lady feeding the pigeons on a little platform, and so I naturally went to investigate. Pretty soon the entire photowalk was taking photographs of the lady who was not at all concerned, and some were cheeky enough to take photographs of me taking photographs of her.
Eventually the photowalk moved on without me and I printed out the above photograph for the lady. I was very proud because I managed to speak to her only in Japanese (it was a short conversation) as I gave her the photograph. She was so appreciative and excited to have the photograph. It was really nice to give her so much joy through my work.
After leaving the lady I walked to the Yasaka Shrine which had another chinowa. This was a large shrine with a number of very nice and colourful buildings, and lots of people. Once I left the shrine I walked on towards Kiyomizudera (pure water) Temple via Maruyama Park which had a large weeping cherry tree and two nice ponds. Winding my way through the small streets was very nice, with most of the buildings being in the traditional style with small manicured gardens. The path that I followed was really good and I would recommend it, although it did include a few stairs. See the Google map below to see the full route that I took.
Eventually I reached Kiyomizudera Temple along with about a hundred school kids on a field trip with several exasperated tour guides/bus drivers also acting as photographers. The temple and the surroundings are very beautiful and offer great views of Kyoto when the smog/haze isn’t too bad.
The Kiyomizudera Temple gets it’s name from Otowa Waterfall next to which it was built in 780AD. It is one of Japan’s most famous temples and it was added to the UNESCO world heritage sites register in 1994. It is known for its large wooden stage that juts out over the cherry trees and Otowa Waterfall below, and the waterfall itself which is divided into three streams. It is said that each stream has a different benefit: longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. Of course if a person drinks from all three they are considered greedy.
It was a really a beautiful setting for the temple and I spent some time just sitting and watching people take photographs and just looking around. At one point some school kids asked to take photos with me in front of the temple which I did without hesitation. They spoke really good English without any hesitation which was good to see.
I leisurely walked back into the city through several little streets to get a quick meal before heading to the train station and the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. I was meeting Eric and his family for dinner which meant I had to take a mid afternoon train back. This time I stayed awake the entire time and I fully got to appreciate the Japanese country side.