A weekend in the Kinki region - Kyoto

The first photo of the day - rain was the theme of the weekend

We decided to visit some parts of Kyoto we'd never been to before, and headed west to Kinkaku-ji (aka the Golden Temple). We were going to have breakfast in a nice café, but it was closed. We settled for a very nice brunch in the French Embassy (random, I know), and hopped onto a bus.

I have to thank Charlotte at this point, for holding the umbrella of a disgruntled photographer. And for putting up with me, too! Well, I managed to take the above photo (click the photo to cycle through three alternate treatments), and we set off walking through the grounds.

We then headed to the Gion district, famous for Geisha and small townhouses. We did spot one Geisha, but I decided not to chase her down the street for a photo. Apparently there have been complaints from the Geisha that tourists are becoming more and more aggressive in their photo taking, almost achieving paparazzi status. I decided not to join the club, and pointed my camera directly ahead and snapped a photo of the nicely turned-out couple just ahead of us.

   Kimono  and  Yukata

 Kimono and Yukata

After an excellent udon dinner, we ventured outside again. This time we walked through the backstreets to visit some of the pagodas, and generally relax amongst the townhouses and dwindling evening crowds.

As light fell, the rain stopped. Clouds parted ways in the far distance, and we could actually see a tiny slither of sky.  

Steam can be seen rising from the rooftops and the forests

Light drops off incredibly quickly in Japan. We headed back down the sparingly lit streets in search of dinner...

We managed to grab a table in a roof-top izakaya overlooking the city. From our table, we noticed another temple down-below, which was still lit up at 10pm, and we decided to go and have a look.

The lit-up temple is in the far left of this photo

It was very relaxing to walk around the grounds of the temple, with everything so beautifully lit, and only a handful of tourists. The crowds earlier in the day reminded me why I tend to avoid tourists hot-spots.  Here in Gion, at night, there are so few people around that I really recommend an evening stroll through the backstreets and temples.

We then decided to grab some ice cream and walk back (45 mins) to the hotel, and get ready for the following and final day.