Exploring Kyoto’s Old City – Higashimaya District

One of the corners around Higashimaya

Higashimaya District
The thousand year capital temples city has so many temples! Not lying here. In Higashiyama district, the temples are probably only 500 meters away from each other. All the temples aside -I’m not a temple hunter type of person- there are so many things to see around the district. There are parks, attractions, souvenir shops, and all the while help yourself with all the traditional Japanese snack vendors clustered between the Sannenzaka dori and Ninenzeka dori. Then there’s the Gion area, which is just a stone away across the street. You could easily spend half a day here between exploring the streets and visiting the Kiyomizudera temple.

One of the corners around Higashimaya

Ninenzaka dori and Sannenzaka dori

Rickshaws are quite popular to travel around

I saw a lot of places to rent a kimono around the area. The cost ranging between 1,000 Yen to 3,000 Yen for one day rent that includes the hair-do. So a lot of girls (and even men) walking around the area in their colorful kimono, completing the ambiance of the old town.

Girls in kimono

Most of the houses located in these streets are the old traditional Japanese houses that are preserved. Although they are no longer ‘just’ a house now seeing how mostly has transformed into a shop selling souvenirs and local restaurants or snacks. The winding path there was still one of the picturesque places in Kyoto. During the cherry blossom season, the throngs of people bustling the streets are a common sight. So if you want to enjoy its tranquility, come early in the morning before the shops start to open. The shops are open from 9 am.

The sea of people filling up the Ninenzaka dori

Gion

A Maiko walking down the street of Ninenzaka

The place is widely known as one of the local Geisha districts. Many people come here in hoping to meet a Maiko or Geisha. If you are lucky, then probably you could see them walking the streets on their way to their work.

Maiko Show

I wrote it in my previous blog that there’s a Maiko show as an alternative to the pricey banquet with the Geisha, and turns out, I found at least a couple of places that holds an hour tea ceremony event with the Maiko that won’t cost you your hands and legs at 3,000 – 4,000 Yen around the Sannenzaka dori. It looks like that a reservation is definitely a must to secure your slot.

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One of the teahouses (chaya) in Sannenzaka dori

Maruyama Park 

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Hanami in Maruyama Park

The park is one of the best places to enjoy the cherry blossom season. It’s located at the end of the Sannenzaka dori. A lot of local Japanese snack vendor also could be found circling the hanami open area. And during the cherry blossom season, the park open till late and there’s a cherry blossom’s illumination after sunset.

Doing my own version of the hanami with the Takoyaki

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