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Kyoto – Nara, Gion-Shijo and Giesha

Kyoto – Nara, Gion-Shijo and Giesha

Today we step back in time and visit temples from 700, as well as some magical deer that are supposed to be sent from the gods (or something). Basically that means they wander around like the own the joint… it’s quite the scene as you are about to see. Especially when they chase some little locals around threatening to knock them down.

But alas.

Today starts with a coffee from a shop I swear just popped up out of Melbourne. I think straight out of Melbourne (Compton) isn’t a thing, but the Japanese like to find good sayings and make them their own so I’m going with it.

Post coffee and breakfast in our traditional abode, we walk to Kyoto station, to catch a train out to Nara Park, roughly 40 mins on the express.

Kyoto station

We get there, realise it’s a trek to the temple so we cab it, and arrive at a place that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There are deer just wandering around.

There are temples and gardens galore but with kids we went for the most obvious selection which was “giant buddha in a giant temple” museum.

It was absolutely massive, and apparently the cost to build this buddha, out of copper, included nearly 2.1m people and apparently nearly bankrupted Japan at the time. These photos, do not do justice to the scale of this thing.

Entry way to museum
Big Buddha hall
Giant Buddha – 10 stories I guessed
Big hands
Angry statue with face belt
Non local kids
Deer and daughter

We managed to sneak in a curry for lunch (sans gluten), and then trained it back to Kyoto. A nice whisky highball helped the parental’s warm up for round 2 of the day which is a walking tour of some traditional neighbourhood with real working giesha. I shared this location in yesterdays blog but if you missed it, and you come to Kyoto you must go to Gion-Shiju. It’s smack bang in the center of town.

The giesha area is properly old, where even today there are giesha that learn the traditional ways. You aren’t allowed to take photos down private roads, but we saw some of the lodging houses and some people coming and going 😉

The area is a foodies delight and we plan to eat here tomorrow night. But tonight we’ve booked a gluten free friendly restaurant, Sugarhill Cafe a few mins walk away. Best chicken terryaki ever, but not sure if that’s because of the quality of gin. Ellie agreed best ever and her judgement was not impaired.

Sugerhill cafe / bar Kyoto