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Friday, January 1, 2010

Kyoto Adventure: Day 3

This morning I woke up around 8 am, had breakfast, lounged around my hotel room for a while, then headed out to see what I could see.
I took the bus to Heian Shrine and spent some time taking photos and observing Hatsumode.

People lining up to pray.

Tying bad fortunes and trying to forget them.

After Heian Shrine, I took the bus to Ginkaku-ji and literally had to run up the hill because they were closing in 20 minutes. When I came to Japan in college, we visited Kinkaku-ji, which is kind of like Ginkaku-ji's older brother. Kinkaku-ji is plated in gold and apparently, Ginkaku-ji was supposed to be plated in silver, but the plans were never finished. So now it's just brown. Really brown. It's a quaint, quiet little temple, but personally, I prefer the pizazz of Kinkaku-ji.

Not Ginkaku-ji. Just a garden and building before it.

Ginkaku-ji. Brown and also under construction.
As I was leaving, I found a little shrine with a bunch of lamps.

More bad fortunes.
I came back to the hotel for a while to warm up and eat dinner, then headed off to Gion and Pontocho in hopes of spotting a geiko (Kyoto dialect for "geisha") or maiko (apprentice geiko). I read in my borrowed guidebook that the most likely place to see them is Pontocho, so I went there first.

Pontocho lantern with New Year decoration in the background.

Not geiko or maiko - just girls in kimono for Hatsumode.

I saw a lot of foreigners and a few drunk people in Pontocho, but no geiko or meiko. So I walked back to Hanami-koji and walked around for a bit. After a while, I happened to look down a crossing street and lo and behold - I spotted a geiko (or maiko, I'm not quite sure which). I was a little nervous to use my Japanese and ask for a picture, but I asked anyway, and she graciously posed for one shot.

So, I read that geiko have white collars and maiko have red, so I think she might be a geiko, but I'm not sure. Geiko are rarer to see than maiko. Either way, I was really excited to finally have the opportunity to photograph one of these mysterious women.

1 comment:

Louana said...

Wow! Lucky you you got a geiko (or maiko) to pose for you. Can't believe you had the nerve to ask, good job! Lovely picture, too!