The Gion Night Walk with Kyoto Fun
Thanks again for joining us on a stroll of the Gion & Higashiyama districts learning about the world of the Geisha (or "Geiko-san" as they are known in Kyoto) and the apprentice Maiko-san. We also hope you enjoyed the chance to see the beautiful streets, temple grounds and shrine in the relative calm of the evening. Here is a little recap on what we usually cover on the Gion Night Walk. Note that due to time constraints we may not cover all the below on every tour.
Places visited on the tour
After meeting up and then crossing the bridge into Gion, we start at one of the quietest districts of the area, the beautiful Miyagawa-cho where the geisha live and work. Here is a great place to talk a bit about the origin of the geisha and their unique world that has developed over the centuries but is still steeped in tradition.
After walking through here and taking in the charming glow of the beautiful lantern lit alleys we went to the grounds of the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, Kennin-ji. This is a really cool place to discover as the nightfall begins with the huge "hondo" hall which houses a painting of twin dragons on the ceiling. The oldest zen temple in Kyoto built in 1202. Here was a good place to chat a bit about Zen Buddhism and about the hard life of meditation and solving funny "koan" riddles too.
After feeling all zen, we then walked up the hill and visited a Shinto shrine. Here I told you more about the native beliefs of the Japanese and how each shrine has a different specialty. And at this shrine, Yasui Kompira Gu, the ladies of the old days used to visit here to try and break off relationships with their lovers. In fact, now people partake in a little ritual where they climb through a large monolith stone to break off bad relationships, not only human ones but also unhealthy habits or disease too.
After the shrine, we strolled further East to the Higashiyama area and saw the beautiful area of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka. Here we also got that postcard view of the Yasaka Pagoda. I told you a bit about the unique structure and we then walked along chatting more about the history and culture of Japan.
We made our way towards the famous Yasaka Shrine and this was beautiful to see with all the lanterns lit up. I showed you how to do a Shinto prayer at this one which promises business success. Then we walked back to the other side of town. On the way back to where we had met we passed by some of the places where the "contemporary geisha" work, the many hostess bars and lounges. The well-heeled crowd of Kyoto likes to come here to play at night.
Finally we (time permitting) took a stroll up to the Shirakawa dori area which runs along a small stream and has a beautiful night atmosphere. We hope you enjoyed discovering this beautiful part of Kyoto at the best time of day to discover it!
Thanks again for sharing some of your precious time in Kyoto with us. We really hope you enjoyed the day and please do remember to write us a review either on facebook or tripadvisor! It means a lot for a little company like ours. http://www.kyotofun.com/thanks-for-the-review.html
And if you got some great photos, please be sure to tag us on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #kyotofunphoto to enter a chance to win a prize as we pick a winner every year for best photo. Hope to see you in Kyoto again soon!