Tom Butt
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  Final Dispatch from Japan - Part 5 Kyoto
October 14, 2022

We spent all day Friday in Kyoto, taking a few local trains but mostly walking some 7 miles.

We started with the Arashiyama Sagano Bamboo Path, which is a park with a bamboo forest where the bamboo is as much as 4-6 inches in diameter, tightly spaced. The path eventually leads to a river and the Togetsukyo Bridge.

Figure 1 - Our hotel in Kyoto

Figure 2 - Bamboo Path

Figure 3 - Togetsukyo Bridge

Next was the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, an important Shinto shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital's move to Kyoto in 794.

Figure 4 - Fushimi Inari Shrine

Figure 5 - Fushimi Inari Shrine. One of many foxes

Figure 6 - Torii gates

Figure 7 - Lunch stop

The most impressive site was the Kiyomizu Temple, a Buddhist temple that is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Figure 8 - In Kyoto, it is a popular thing for young women to rent kimonos for the day and stroll the historic sites

Figure 9 - Entering the Kiyomizu Temple complex

Figure 10 - Pagoda at Kiyomizu Temple complex

Figure 11 - The main temple at Kiyomizu Temple complex

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Figure 12 Inside the main temple

Figure 13 - Main temple with pagoda in background

Figure 14 - Shopping street

Figure 15  Shopping street

Finally, we walked around Gion, Kyoto’ most famous entertainment district and the center of its traditional arts. This is where the geisha culture lives.

Figure 16 - Entering a Gion nighborhood

Figure 17 - Young women dressed as geishas just for the fun of it

Before turning in, we had dinner and drinks at a traditional Irish pub just down the street from our hotel.
Summing up my impressions of Japan:

  • Efficient
  • Friendly
  • Walking
  • Eating
  • Healthy
  • Traditional, modern and ancient
  • Shopping and Consuming
  • Well-dressed and fashionable

Figure 18 - The Japanese have taken disabled access to a new level. These textured paths provide a guide for blind persons using a cane. They are typical on streets and large indoor areas.

Figure 19 - Where there is a door, the path diverges.

Figure 20 - Our hotel shower has a shower and tub in the same enclosure

Figure 21 - There are two shower heads, one of which is in the ceiling like a rainstorm!