Trip Start Jun 16, 2012
106Trip End Oct 14, 2012
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In the searing heat of the day we wandered around and came out at a flagstone-paved shopping street which has such different small shops with any kind of tourist thingy you would want including antiques, ceramics, art etc and at the top of the road we came across a stairway up to the Yasaka-jinia Shrine which is so interesting
From there we crossed the road and followed a stone walkway passed hundreds of traditional Japanese buildings filled with restaurants. At each intersection even if it was a narrow street, there was a points-man on duty showing the tourist when to cross and really controlling the the flow of traffic and people. This road led us to the Kennenji Temple. This is Japan's oldest Zen temple, has huge halls and sand and moss gardens.
The stone road then went uphill and we came out at a really touristy but beautiful streets of restored buildings with stairs at the end called Ninen-Zaka Path ("two-year-slope") leading to more streets of traditional buildings and a another "stepped street" called Sannen-Zaka ("three-year-slope"), which also had shops. Both areas are gorgeous with such a lovely vibe and there are people everywhere! We had to be wide awake because legend has it that slipping & falling over on these streets brings three or two years' bad luck respectively.
We came across lots of Geishas through the day and Al enjoyed having his photo taken with a few of them. This place is amazing and so different to Tokyo! It's much more colourful and quaint and we are just loving walking around and exploring all the touristy areas of Gion but then also taking quiet streets into real residential areas and seeing the lives of these friendly, lovely people
Geisha (芸者) are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills were a combination of actress and prostitute. The geisha worked within pleasure quarters & were essentially imprisoned. By 1800, being a geisha was considered a female occupation and by the 1830s, the evolving geisha style was emulated by fashionable women throughout Japanese society with different classifications and ranks of geisha. Some women would have sex with their male customers, whereas others would entertain strictly with their art forms. After Japan lost the war, geisha dispersed and the profession was in shambles. In the 1960s during Japan's post war economic boom, the geisha world changed and in modern Japan, girls are not sold into indentured service and a geisha’s sex life is her private affair
We then walked on and found this interesting looking restaurant for dinner. Oh my heavens alive did we choose well!, We have just had the best dinner since we left home and that's saying something as we have had some amazing meals! We had fried Kushikatsu, which is 8 skewers of a mixture of tempura jalapeņo, beef, chicken, prawn, eggplant and a mozzarella cheese ball and mussels and then grilled Yakitori which had 6 skewers of chicken. Each skewer was different! One was the skin, one the livers, one minced, one was breast, one was a chicken ball and 2 were just pieces of chicken all grilled on a gas grill in front of us. We also ordered a skewer of mushrooms, one of onions, one of tempura pork and another one of cheese & eggplant. You get all of this with a bowl of dipping teriyaki sauce and a bowl of fresh cabbage leaves and you dip everything into the sauce and eat it. It's really the most amazing mix of flavours we have ever had! The cook reminded us so of Paddy Smuts! He was a delightful, cheery full of fun, boisterous guy that had us laughing all through dinner!
We are now exhausted and in bed with very sore feet.