We made our start at Ginkaku-ji, a Zen temple situated at the north end of the Path of Philosophy, established by the 8th Muromachi Shogunate. The grounds contain a rather large raked stone garden, some Very Important Moss, and a pathway through some beaut garden/forest.
Back out on the street, we spotted the future of Japan's culture, some prospective geiko. Then, some sandwiches for lunch. Why is it that we often eat more while on holiday? Next, the cheap-skate's view of San-mon Gate. Just a quick taste of the gardens and architecture here at Nanzen-ji temple, (I re-visit on Monday) as we were pushing to make it to the dance show in Gion. Briefly stopping in the 7-eleven I spotted some Men's chocolate!
The last shows of the Annual Gion Odori Dances were on that day (Saturday 12th November 2005) at 1:00 and 3:30pm. It was getting close to 3:30pm when we thought we'd better catch a taxi to make it in time. In eastern Kyōto the traffic is always sluggish - I doubt the streets were designed to carry such a variety of transports, let alone simultaneously. People were walking faster alongside the cab! Just about to ditch the taxi and our driver announced we are here, at the Gion Kaikan theater.
The very last 2 tickets we bought and filed into the theater. Quite good seats in fact, but Kate and I were just 2 seats away from each other. The elaborate kimono draped around the make-up clad maiko and geiko girls, came out for 6 songs accompanied by some drums, 3 shamisen players and 3 singers. A little Japanese language up your sleeve helps, but interpretation is not overly difficult given the costumes, action, body language, colours, lighting, sets and the mood of the music... And a brief sentence written in English about each song! A fantastic performance and an easy way to enjoy some of Japan's most reverred cultural traditions.
A quick stop in at Yasaka Shrine, we joined the queue (always neat queues in Japan) to throw a coin, ring the bell and wish/pray for luck, health, a new lover, a bright orange Lamborghini or whatever it is you may want.
Wandering around Gion we decided it was time to eat again. Following yesterday's theme of eating uncultured, tonight's fill was provided by the Ajanta Indian Restaurant. If you didn't pick up (or steal) a copy the Kyōto Visitor's Guide, it's the restaurant with the big neon India flag out the front. Some great curries before we made tracks for the hotel, exhausted. Utilising a neighbourhood vending machine, we'd stocked up on a couple of half-price beers before changing into the hazardous slippers, entering our ryokan hotel well before the 11pm curfew. The hot bath is a welcome relief to tired leg muscles. Wow, what a day!