We’ve spent six days in Kyoto and depart tomorrow for a long day of travel to Matsumoto, where we’ll volunteer on a farm. Below are a few of N’s photos from our first week of travels.
The Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is one of Japan’s most photographed sites. Thousands of bright orange shrine gates lead up Mount Inari, about 600 feet above sea level. You can’t tell from this photo, but it was snowing pretty hard on our way up.
Kitsune (Japanese for fox) are one of the most common spirit animals seen at shrines and temples.
Rather moody and dramatic, isn’t it?
“Kimono Forest,” Arashiyama train station. These are tall sealed Plexiglas pillars that contain bolts of fabric traditionally used for kimono. As public art goes, it’s pretty spectacular.
Looking up at the bamboo grove in Arashiyama.
What a difference a day makes…eight inches of snow overnight. And we thought we’d left winter behind.
Snow monkey at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Ironically, the humans are inside the “cage” feeding the wild monkeys on the outside.
Matsuo-taisha Shrine, Arashiyama.
Imperial Palace, Kyoto.
Imperial Palace gardens, Kyoto.
Gion’s famous “red lantern district.”
Gion District in Kyoto is known for its geisha culture. Many visitors pay to rent kimono and dress up like geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha). There are dozens of shops offering kimono plus hair and make-up services. You can identify the tourist geisha because they don’t have on the traditional white make-up and they’re willing to be photographed. Current estimates suggest that there may only be about two hundred true geisha and about one hundred true maiko in all of Japan, though accurate statistics are tough to come by. Can you spot the true geisha in the photo below?