Nishi Hongan-ji and Gion Odori

Today we went on a walk around Nishi- and Higashi Hongan-ji. The tour was suggested by the city map we got from the tourist information centre. It included several other ancient structures.

When I was in Kyoto 2008, the main hall of the Nishi Hongan-ji was being renovated and was closed to visitors. So I was happy to find out, that the renovations had been finished in 2009 and the hall was open to public again. We took quite some time taking photos of the beautifully decortaed interior. This wasn’t easy at all. The temple halls are somewhat dim and I really don’t like using the flashlight in religious rooms that are actively used. But we still gor some very nice photos 😀

In the afternoon we went to the Gion Kaikan to see a geiko and maiko dance performance. We booked a tea ceremony beforehand, but unfortunately it was a group ceremony and we sat at the back, so we couldn’t see very well. But the sweets were superb and so was the matcha they served – and we got to keep the plate 😀

The dances were chosen from different occasions on which traditional dances could be performed, like New Year Ceremonies or Temple Festivals. We really liked the dances, especially one about a samurai/lord and two women, whom he was in love with – more or less. It was a fun performance and the audience laughed on several occasions. I really liked all dances, although I consider traditional Japanese singing somewhat painful to listen to.

After the performace we strolled through Gion and saw maiko and geiko on their way to work. But there were so many people gathering whereever on appeared, that we didn’t try to take any photos. We just made mental images enjoyed the night, without stress and took some photos of the crowd, which was taking photos of the geiko/maiko.

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