Fun in Higashiyama
When I go to Kyoto I spend a lot of time on the streets of Gion, Pontocho, Miyagawacho and Gion Higashi trying to get photos of maiko and geiko. Trooping around the kagai (geimaiko districts) is sheer hard work! In contrast, a gentle stroll around the eastern hills of Kyoto; Higashiyama, is pure fun. This area is where I can enjoy all I see, smell, hear, taste (and spend money on) without any of the self-induced stress suffered in the four hanamachi below. There is a magic atmosphere in Higashiyama. Everybody seems to be happy – just like me. Let me show you a little of Higashiyama, experienced from my June 2016 trip. (Click on the photos below to enlarge.)
Blue Stocking dress shop. I am fascinated by the sweetly conservative outfits in the window.
Tiny Cat (4 cm high) is crying to be saved. It is sitting on a stone by the side of the road. I photograph it (not caring that passers-by must think I’m nuts) then scoop it up and bring it back to Australia. (See final photo)
Brides and grooms come up the hill to be photographed as there are so many areas of gorgeousness here…to which they add their own colourful splendour.
A street scene with hydrangeas. (Warm and wet June is hydrangea month.)
Joyful bride and groom.
A couple of henshin (girls dressing up as maiko) pose for one another at a particularly photogenic spot.
Traditional wooden architecture framed by trees; Yasaka Pagoda behind.
I gaze into the window of a shop which sells fine incense. I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of what is displayed behind the glass pane, with outside reflections upon its surface.
Can you see the reflection of the bridal couple walking past this shop window? (Enlarge the photo by clicking on it, then you will.)
Stunning dolls on display in a rather exclusive gift shop window.
From up at Kiyomizu Temple there are expansive views of the basin which Kyoto sits in, surrounded by high blue hills.
Looking down a steep set of steps. (You can stroll but you still have to climb!)
Yasaka Pagoda peeps over the wooden buildings which house tempting gift shops and cafés. Many visitors to Kyoto wear yukata which brings even more colour and charm to a scene.
In the distance, a bride and groom pose under the Yasaka Pagoda.
Ai ai gasa – two under the same umbrella.
Back down on the flat in the hanamachi of Gion Higashi. This urban desert is a stark contrast to lush Higashiyama – just a few minutes walk eastwards and upwards.
P.S. From Higashiyama to Julie’s studio, Tiny Cat among friends.
Higashiyama is a tourist area but it is also a spiritual place, housing many temples, shrines and ancient gardens. Nobody ever tries to grab your attention or herd you into their shops. You can have as much or as little people interaction as you please. Even when it is thronging with people, there is a sense of peace. To me, it is a kind of paradise.
Currently I am working on a drawing sourced from my time spent in Higashiyama. (It has something to do with one of these photos.) When it is finished, it will be unveiled on my next post.
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