17th May 2015..
This day i wake up early at 6.30 am. And at 07.30 am, i am ready to go. When i leave the guesthouse, i find Takeshi in front of the house. I think he just wake up (still in his sleepy face) and ask me where i am going. I answer, “I am going to Kiyozumi-dera before its get crowded”. He reply, “ Good idea.” He points me to the Kiyozumi-michi bus stop, but i point out to the opposite direction. He is confused but i say to him that i want to go this way. Later on he just nodding his head, still his confused face. Yes, he is pointing out the nearest way to Kiyozumi-dera, but i want to go to the big Lawson store first to buy water and breakfast, before i go to Kiyozumi-dera.
It is indeed a good idea. Kiyozumi-dera is a top must visit destination in Kyoto. So, it will pack up with people, lots of it. Its a bit like when you go to Vatican City, it is always good to arrive in the morning – to avoid the crowd and long queue. In this hour, the place was relatively empty and beautiful to watch. The downside is the shops along the road downtown is still closed. They open around 9.00 am. So if you are looking for shopping experience, this is not an option for you.
A pathways to Kiyozumi-dera is a climbing path to uphill. People says that the higher the temple is the more magical and powerful the temple is. The walk may tiring you, but the scenery uphill is very beautiful. Its even more beautiful during the illumination show. I saw the photo once when my friend went here for its illumination show. But, its only available in Spring and Autumn.
In every temple in Japan, you can buy lucky charms or omamori. It has different variation, like good luck for health, wealth, better fortune and success, longevity, healthy legs, academic achievement, victory, good relationship, children, and for a variety of wishes. However, if you buy one, please also read on how to dispose this charm later on. There is always a superstitious thing about lucky charm in different part of the world. Its better to always follow the local rule. :’)
After went to Kiyozumi-dera, i am heading to Todai-ji Temple through Nennenjaka and Sennenjaka Pathways. Both are the pathways full of traditional heritage Japanese houses in small alleys. They are not only shops, but also restaurants. I arrive in front of Todai-ji and see the complex from a far. As i mentioned earlier, most of famous temple doesn’t allow tourist to go inside the chamber, only limited to restricted place. So, instead, i go to the Pagoda to take some photos. Then, next stop is Fushimi Inari.
To reach Fushimi Inari, you need to ride subway. As far as i know, there is no city bus route to go to there directly from Todai-ji area. If you want to use public transportation, you can use the subway. However, since i want to explore nearby area, I go to the nearest bus stop and walk to the complex area. This allow me to see Tokufuji Temple that lies between the Kyoto Station and Fushimi Inari. I arrive there at 10.00 am and the sky welcome me with a mesmerising cloud and sky scenery. I sit in the corner of the complex, near the vending machine, to have a casual breakfast and enjoy the beauty of the nature.
My mind flows to yesterday. There is one thing that i didn’t tell you on 16th May. Before i went to Yasaka Shrine, i encountered something odd. In one of the intersection, i saw lots of people just standing on where they stand. Their eye focused on one thing, a flipped car in the middle of intersection. I didn’t know how it happened because the car was already flipped when i saw it. One second later, a police car came. I assumed this is a patrol car. The police officer came out of the car and walked near the flipped car.
Other than the flipped condition – which were worrying – the car was fine. No fire. No combustion. However, i was not sure on the passenger inside. Ten seconds later, an ambulance came. Followed with firefighter cars, other police cars (i were not sure which department), and a traffic police car. I waited for some minutes to see what happened – as if they need my help with something.
I took a walk to other side of the street to see the front side of the car. I hope i could see what happened with the passenger. The passenger was a middle age Japanese woman in driving seat. She stood up in frond of car, on top the window glasses – as the car was flipped. At a far, she looked fine. The officers (medic, firefighter, and police) were there, checking up on her. I think, at first, they tried to see if she was injured. Once they think she was okay, they helped her to get out of the car using back side door. I saw she walked using the room above the seats, which was sufficient for her. Once i saw she was okay, i continued walking to Yasaka Shrine.
During the walk, i saw more officer cars came. They brought some tools which i believe the purpose was to close the road, since they need to evacuate the car. I saw the cars driving to the accident spot were turned away by the policemen. Once i arrived in the nearest intersection, i also saw a policeman closed the road using his motorbike. This made me realise that they might close some roads that channeling to the accident location to secure the necessary perimeter.
Of course, no one want to get an accident on their holiday. But, to witness one is quite an experience. More than that, i was very impressed with how fast the public service responded. How professional and thoughtful they were. Witnessing this certainly add another unique memory about Japan.
Once i finish with my day thoughts and breakfast, i went inside the Zen garden in the complex. It is different set up with other Zen garden, but still, beautiful. I come here at spring, but i wondering how beautiful it is if i come at autumn – it will be different beautiful colour. As i mentioned, there is also a Tokufuji temple inside the complex, however we can not go inside. But, we can still pray in front of open window and put some donation in the donation box.
Walking to Fushimi Inari took me another 30 minutes, maybe because i was slow. There is no rush in holiday, unless if i need to catch a flight. Fushimi Inari is beautiful and, of course, crowded. I read in one of National Geographic’s photographer post that it is quite hard to take a photo of Fushimi Inari alone – without any people walk through it. Indeed, it is hard.
Fushimi Inari is famous with its thousands line of Torii, a traditional Japanese gate which symbolically marks the transition from profane to the sacred. The entrance is bottom of the hill and also serve as main gate. The path will get inclined as most of them are stairs. It also will get more narrow, but less crowded. The end of the path is the Main Shrine and top of Inari Mountain. If you really want to reach the end, i suggest to save your energy since the start of your day. It is a long walk uphill. I give up in the middle of the mountain, because my leg sore already. I have walked for 15 km (according to my app). I choose to save my energy to walk back to the next destination, Nishiki Market.
On my way to the next destination, i see there is Kyoto National Museum along the way. I decide to take a look. When you want to know the civilisation of a nation, museum is certainly one of must see place. The general exhibit has collection of historical and art artifacts. This is including the samurai, Japanese traditional clothing, war artifacts, and also daily appliance such as plate, mug, knife, etc.
My next destination is Nishiki Market. The main objective to visit this place is to find my second hostel near Nishiki Market. I believe i will be back to Nishiki Market in the next two days. So, when i found the hostel, i go straightly back to the guest house. My leg is sore. I need to rest and also catch up with my writing. It make sense. By the end of the day, the app sum that i walk 23 km. Quite an exercise, right? See you in the next post! :’)