27th October, 2006 - From Kiyomizu Dera, we walked down the reasonably steep slopes of Sannen-zaka (3 year slope) and Ninen-zaka (2 year slope)... these are a series of streets leading from Yasaka-Jinja to Kiyomizu Dera. They are defined on either side by a vast array of craft, tourist and pilgrimage related shops and make for a great place for a spot of touristy shopping. It is popular however, so be prepared for the people. The legend goes that a fall or trip on one of these will bring the corresponding number of years bad-luck.
Thanks to Google Streetview, here's the outside of the cafe (Inoda Cofee) where we had lunch. It's amazing to to see Google Streetview photos of tourists asking directions from an elegantly kimono-clad lady... "'Scooz me love, do you know the way to nearest hostel..."
The cafe had a nice feel to it... nice food, relaxed and yet refined atmosphere, great views and you can enjoy the semi-attached shops which offer some very fine goods... and nothing like getting you in the mood to shop than having a nice lunch. Also check out this blog for some excellent photos of the cafe and gardens...
On the way to Kodai-ji, you see the Ryozen Kannon off to the right. This giant figure dominates the foothills... it was built in 1955 as a memorial to all those that died in World War II. There are 2 million tablets here for each of the Japanese soldiers who died, and for which there are 4 services held each day. Not having time, we stopped to admire the statue of the Kannon, and then quickly moved on.
The Yasaka Pagoda stands proudly on the skyline, Kyoto Tower a distant reflection.
From the hills, one of the more striking structures is Gion-Tower, part of Daiun-in Temple... For all its stark appearance, it's one of those places that doesn't often get visited by busy tourists. We were no exceptions. It is very young, constructed in 1928 by a hotel owner. Makes you wonder if the view isn't of his hotel.