We caught the railroad to Kiyomizu-dera bright and early. The train system in Kyoto is very easy to navigate and found it much easier than Tokyo. Kiyomizu-dera has a spectacular view over the city and in the autumn was simply stunning. It was extremely busy though so I do recommend getting there as early as you can to avoid the crowds. It was definitely not one of the quietest temples, but absolutely worth the trip.
From visiting the temple, we walked to Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka, a pair of sloping lanes that lead down from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Here are beautifully traditional shops and the streets feel very much like old Japan. Situated within the Higashiyama ward, they are known as Kyoto’s most attractive streets. And also, to my delight, there was another Studio Ghibli shop!
From there we walked towards Maruyama Park, but found various temples en-route which we stopped to visit. Ryozen Kwan-on was worth a visit, a war memorial and home to a huge concrete Buddha. The entrance fee is 200 yen and you are given an incense stick at the entrance and you can place this in a large pot by the water. At Maruyama Park we were lucky enough to see some wedding ceremonies taking place. It felt very special and was quite emotional watching them and their families celebrate in this traditional Japanese ceremony. The park is very picturesque and also had a food market of steaming Japanese delicacies.
Next up we headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its vermilion tori gates and sits at the base of the Inari mountain which stands at 233 meters. You follow the trail through the gates and into a wooded forest of the mountain. It is very crowded at the start but the further up the trail you go, there were less people and a better opportunity to take photos. On our way back down, we spotted a sign for Amazake drink which had come highly recommended to me by my brother who visited Japan previously so I was excited to try and it didn’t disappoint!
With tired feet we headed back and went out for a curry that evening in Kyoto at the Himalaya Kyoto Sanjo. The food has essences of Nepal and the staff made us feel very at home and is a very cosy spot after a busy day exploring.