Our first stop on our 5th day in Japan was Kiyomizudera. It’s probably the most well known temple in South Higashiyama, and looked pretty much the same back on our first trip in 2009 as now, just with a heap more tourists.
We took the bus to Gojozaka passing by the Minamiza Kabuki Theatre on the way, where locals and tourists go to catch a Kabuki show.
The uphill path to Kiyomizudera is lined with souvenir shops. One of our favourite to browse through is Kyoto Glass Factory. They sell kanzashi (hairpins), jewellery and other accessories made out of different types of glass, which make for a great gift (or personal treat!).
We followed the throng of tourists up through the main gate of Kiyomizudera.
From the top, there are great views of the temple grounds below as well as Kyoto city.
Tourists line up to drink from the Otowa waterfall, which is believed to have the ability to grant wishes. The sight of the queue from above was quite amazing.
Many tourists also headed to Jishu-jinja, a matchmaking shrine…
and of course, for views of the Kiyomizudera’s famous veranda.
Just outside the main gate of Kiyomizudera are rows of souvenir shops, including a must-visit sweets/cake shop by the name of Malebranche.
We bought matcha biscuits, butter and chocolate castella spheres, and mini chocolate and caramel nut slices. All the snacks were delicious, not to mention beautifully packaged – perfect for gifting to friends and family.
There are shops that rent out kimonos to tourists, so that they can enjoy wandering the streets around Gion in traditional dress.
We mostly followed the JNTO walking route through the narrow lanes of Sannen-zaka and Ninnen-zaka, stopping to browse the plentiful cute and unusual shops along the way.
We did manage to catch a glimpsed of some Maiko, who graciously posed for a photo with a group of kimono-clad tourists.
We didn’t stop by Ryozen Kannon, a war memorial, as we had been there in 2009. It’s worth a visit though, and when we went was quite peaceful, away from the bustle of tourists.
We ended up back near Kodaiji temple and headed to our lunch destination, Hisago, which I had researched to have one of the best oyakodons in Kyoto. When we reached there the queue snaked all the way around the side of the shop.
About 40 mins later, we were called into the tiny shop (hence the wait). The oyakodon came out with a small side of ginger and smelt delicious. The egg was runny and the chicken tender, but I was a little disappointed at the size of the serving, especially given the price. Unfortunately I think the shop might have overcapitalised on its popularity, as I actually had oyakodon which was as good as, if not better elsewhere and for better value.
We headed for Jouvencelle, a café in the vicinity of Hisago, which I had discovered through my internet trawling to be highly recommended especially for their matcha fondue. Unfortunately, when we went there around 3pm there was a 2 hour wait, so we decided to try our luck another time.
We meandered through Maruyama Park, revelling at the numerous animals that inhabit Japan’s immaculately maintained grounds.
We also climbed the steps up to Chion-in and took some snaps of the massive 70 ton bell housed on its grounds.
We started heading back through Yasaka shrine, up Shijo-dori and through Nishiki markets. Unfortunately Grenier D’or was closed, so we stopped at Inoda Coffee, a nice place for a refreshing iced tea and French toast.
As was our routine, we then went to Takashimaya department store’s food basement to takeaway dinner and admire the pretty displays of sweets before going back to the hotel.