Friday, December 30, 2016

Visiting Gion District and Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto—Personal Experience

Based on Japan National Tourism Organization's (JNTO) publication—Kyoto Walks, it says that, in Kyoto, the best surprises are reserved for those who are willing to walk. Among those recommended routes, it includes
On 12/01/2016, I have visited Higashiyama Area.  In this article, I'll focus mainly on three points of interest in the order of my visit on that day:
  • Gion (祇園) outstanding
  • Sannenzaka (三年坂)/ninenzaka (二年坂) shops outstanding
  • Kiyomizudera (清水寺) 

Gion District

Gion district is located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west.  It is famous for traditional Geisha entertainment, which is probably the largest area in Japan which is associated with this form of entertainment.  It is filled with shops, restaurants and tea houses (茶屋 ).

Geisha is the general term.  In Kyoto, it is known as Geiko and Maiko (geiko apprentices).  Geiko and Maiko are part of Kyoto tea houses' tradition of hospitality.  You can view this video:
for more information.

In below photos, you can see some girls dressed in Geisha's clothes. They are just tourists.  Those clothes can be rent in shops for around ¥3,000.  In the trip to Higashiyama Area, I have seen girls dressed like Geisha and in groups of two or three.  They seem to have fun to take pictures with views and each other.

Yasaka Pagoda

Ninenzaka (二年坂)/Sannenzaka (三年坂) Shops 

In direct translation, Ninenzaka means 'two year hill' and Sannenzaka means 'three year hill'. They are slopes connected to several shrines and temples in that area.  The path is famous for its souvenir shops, tea shops, and restaurants.  Kiyomizuzaka is super-crowded most of the time, but Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka are less so on regular weekdays.

Kiyomizudera (清水寺)

Kiyomizudera temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) UNESCO World Heritage site.[3] It was also one of 20 finalists for the New7Wonders of the World.

On the day of my visit, it was night time.  The light was lit up around 5:30 pm.  


  1. Kyoto Walks
  2. Begin Japanology Geiko and Maiko - YouTube(video)
  3. Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
  4. Japan Travel: Eating in Nara (奈良) (Travel for a Purpose)
  5. Japan: Temple Lodging at Mount Koya (or Koyasan 高野山) (Travel for a Purpose)
  6. Temple Lodging in Koyasan—Personal Experience (Travel for a Purpose)
  7. Visiting Arashiyama (嵐山) in Kyoto—Personal Experience  (Travel for a Purpose)
  8. Visiting Ohara in Kyoto—Personal Experience  (Travel for a Purpose)
  9. Visiting Nigatsudo Hall (二月堂) in Nara—Personal Experience  (Travel for a Purpose)
  10. Visiting Yoshiki-en Garden (吉城園 / よしきえん) in Nara—Personal Experience  (Travel for a Purpose)
  11. Visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)—Personal Experience  (Travel for a Purpose)

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