Gion, Kyoto

If you have a full day in Kyoto, I recommend starting out in Kiyomizudera, which leads to Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, which leads to the Yasaka Shrine in the geisha district of Gion.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

From Yasaka Shrine, you will come into Maruyama Park, a nationally-designated Scenic Place of Beauty and hot spot for cherry blossom viewing with its weeping sakura trees.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Street food at the park is so good and cheap to boot.

An Osaka specialty, takoyaki is ball-shaped batter filled with minced vegetables and octopus and topped with takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo and bonito flakes.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Off the main thoroughfare in Gion, Shijo-dori.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

We barely saw them as they got off their taxi and into their ochaya (tea house). These ladies are the real deal. 

The word geisha's literal translation is artist. In Kyoto dialect they are called geiko, a professional entertainer trained in traditional Japanese arts. Before becoming geiko, young girls move into okiya (training houses) to become maiko (apprentice) for years. There are five main okiya houses in Gion.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

In springtime Kyoto holds an illumination event called Higashiyama Hanatouro (flower lantern road) at Hagashiyama. Lanterns line three miles of evening streets and bamboo forests to make your stroll more enchanting.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

The park at night.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Shijo-dori.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Our ryokan (Japanese inn) experience at Ryokan Motonago starts with a seasonal, multi-course kaseiki dinner.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Laying on a cozy futon, in a warm tatami room, after a hot furo bath, at the end of a long day of walking, is bliss. Good night.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Good morning.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

Time to do it all over again starting with a traditional Japanese breakfast. 

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Syllaphoto credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Syllaphoto credit: Ricci Sylla

The pretty courtyard in between our room and the dining room.

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

 photo credit: Ricci Sylla

photo credit: Ricci Sylla

A new day to explore. Off to Fushimi Inari...


Photos in today's globetrotting story were taken by Dr. Ricci Sylla.

Ricci is an ObGyn by profession, and an avid, snap-happy photographer at all other times. She likes taking pictures mostly of food, but since the recent population explosion in her family, cute nieces and nephews show up much more frequently in her Picasa files. She hearts cake, ice cream, macarons, cotton candy and fancy desserts! 

You can follow Ricci on Instagram.

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Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka

Yasaka Shrine

Maruyama-koen Park

Ryokan Motonago
Higashiyama, Kyoto, Japan
www.motonago.com