Memoirs of a Geisha (Kansai, Japan Trip 2012, Day 8)

On the eighth day of our trip, we checked out of our hotel in Osaka, took a train and set off for Kyoto. Kyoto is a place in Japan whereby many traditional buildings and culture survive over the centuries. Here one can do temple-hopping and see real-life geishas or geisha wannabe tourists walking on the streets. A city that is very different from Osaka or anywhere else in Japan.


We decided to explore the Higashiyama (东山) area first. This area includes Kodaiji Temple (高台寺), Ryozen Kannon (灵山观音), Yasaka Pagoda (八坂塔), Sannenzaka Slope (三年坂) and Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺).

Our first stop was Yasaka Pagoda. We bumped into 3 geisha wannabe tourists there and we “secretly” took some photos of them. 😛 Visitors may climb up the inside of the five-storeyed pagoda, which is a rare opportunity as most pagoda can only be viewed from the outside.

We then moved on to Kodaiji Temple and Ryozen Kannon. As Kodaiji Temple charges admission fees, we decided to save some money and visited Ryozen Kannon instead. We spent some time taking photos there as we saw some cherry trees in blossom! Also, the huge Goddess of Mercy statue was very impressive.

After the photo-taking session, we made our way down the cobbled stone paths and steps of Sannensaka Slope to Kiyozumi Temple. This is a “dangerous” pathway as it is dotted by shops selling souvenirs and traditional food. One can easily “loses” his or her way and ventures into the shops. And that’s exactly what we did! We went into a recommended dessert shop (かさぎ屋) and ordered some traditional Japanese red bean dessert to give us energy to complete the walk. What an excuse! 😛

After the sweet treat, we continued our journey and finally reached Kiyozumi Temple. It is one of the well-known temples in Japan and is most famous for the wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 metres above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a beautiful view of the numerous cherry trees that erupt in a sea of pink below it. This stage together with the main hall was built without the use of nails. Amazing!

Another famous attraction in Kiyozumidera is Otowa Waterfall (音羽之泷). It is located at the base of Kiyomizudera’s main hall. Its waters are divided into three separate streams, and visitors use cups attached to long poles to drink from them. Each stream is said to have a different benefit, namely to ensure longevity, gives success at school or work and a fortunate love life. However, drinking from all three streams is considered greedy. We of course queue up to taste the “pure” water too.


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