Okonomiyaki

Grilled as you like it

Sannen-zaka and Yasaka Jinja April 22, 2008

colorful saru-bobo adorn this temple, one of my favorite temples in Japan

From Kiyomizu-dera, we walked down Kiyomizu-zaka and Sannen-zaka toward Yasaka Jinja. Kiyomizu-zaka and Sannen-zaka (and also Gojo-zaka and Ninnen-zaka) are usually bustling with tourists after the shops open. Since we had arrived around 8 in the morning, the shops weren’t open and so the streets were quiet as we hiked toward Kiyomizu-dera. By the time we were leaving, the crowds had grown significantly. At the shops here, shoppers can buy the typical tourist baubles that you find everywhere in Japan, but the area is also known for its fine ceramics and unique snacks such as Yatsuhashi, flattened mochi folded into a triangle with sweet bean paste inside and often flavored with cinnamon, green tea, or sesame. In addition to its many shops and shoppers, Kiyomizu-zaka is full of power lines too, a common sight that unfortunately mars many beautiful views in Japan.

Kiyomizu-zaka filled with many shoppers – a monk makes his way through the crowd – near Sannen-zaka

On a side street just off of Sannen-zaka near Yasaka Pagoda is a very small temple that is one of my favorites in Japan, though I actually don’t know the name of it. It is small and quiet, but very beautiful. Hundreds of saru-bobo (monkey baby) dolls are hung from the roof over a statue of a bodhisattva and from the main building of the temple. The saru-bobo symbolize family harmony, and are donated to the temple by people praying for good family relations.

Saru-bobo at a small temple near Yasaka Pagoda – cherry blossoms at Yasaka Jinja

Next, we continued on to Yasaka Jinja, the large shrine of Kyoto’s Gion area. Here, as well as along Sannen-zaka, the cherry blossoms were blooming.

The main gate at Yasaka Jinja – A lantern at Yasaka Jinja

Unfortunately we weren’t able to linger long at Yasaka Jinja since we had to head to the airport. We walked back to our ryokan through the Gion district and Kenninji Temple. Goodbye Kyoto. Next stop, Tokyo!

Yasaka JInja – Yasaka Jinja – a monk at Kenninji Temple in Gion

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