Yukata & Gion Matsuri in Kyoto!
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 7 of 13 › view all entries
The day has come~! It's our Kyoto excursion with AyaKa-chan where we planned to rent a yukata for the day, walk around Kyoto's Higashima District on Kyoto's first day of the Gion Matsuri!
Matt and I with Mike woke up bright and early. Meeting time was at 8am and we didn't want to be late.
After a handful of text/email msgs between Ayaka and I, we finally set a time and place to meet for our Kyoto excursion. Needless to say, there was a misunderstanding. I thought we were going to meet at the Kyoto Station Line in Umeda while Ayaka meant Kyoto Station in Kyoto. We ended up meeting an hour later than planned and off we where to Higashima district to get dressed up in our rented yukata for the day. Matt and Mike went off to the Golden pavilion and we planned to meet up later on.
We found the small shop, tucked hidden away with only a small door and a yukata by the entrance to show the way.
After getting all dressed up and a photo-op at the garden, we walked to Kiyomizerudera, "Pure Water Temple", one of the most celebrated temples in Japan, where one can see a beautiful view of Kyoto. People where taking pictures of us which was disconcerting but eventually we got used to it and just continued to walk around. It was difficult to walk in a yukata with our legs limited to small steps. Ayaka and I found it amusing.
In Kiyomizerudera, there is also the Jishu Temple, dedicated to the deity of love, where with Ayaka's insistence, I attempted to complete the 'stone of love' challenge.
It was very hot and humid. After visiting the Kiyomizerudera, we took a break and treated ourselves to some green tea shaved ice, topped with red bean paste and mochi. Yummy~! We then followed the trail to the Yasaka Shrine where the Gion festival starts. We found some stores so I bought a couple of wakizashis (close combat Japanese swords) to give to friends as presents.
Matt and Mike later joined us. Ayaka and I was exhausted, so after resting, we visited another temple between the Yasaka Temple and Kiyomizudera trail. It was a temple dedicated to Japanese soldier who lost their lives at war in the past 100 years.
Matt had to leave for Osaka to meet a friend, so Mike, Ayaka and I walked around the Gion District to see if we can catch any geishas. No luck. We then walked to where the the Gion matsuri's booths were located. The entire street was closed to traffic and a crowd - young and old, most in yukatas - walked towards one direction.
Huge floats were on the streets. It was great to see everyone (at least most people) in their yuakatas - even the guys although its predominantly the females who were in yukatas.
After walking blocks, and the sun finally setting, Mike headed to Kyoto Station where we will meet him after we dropped off our yukatas.
We arrived before 9pm in Osaka, exhausted and satisfied, said 'matte ne' to Ayaka since we will see her the next day for the TB meet up!