Today was my last day in Kyoto. Tomorrow I will be checking out of my hotel in the morning and taking the train to Tokyo, where I will spend 2 1/2 days before heading home. I am looking forward to seeing Tokyo, but even more than that, I am looking forward to seeing John and little Henry! But in the meantime, I haven’t even begun to think about being in Tokyo yet–I will look at my guidebook on the train and see what I want to do there: it is such a big city, it is hard to get my head around navigating it. I may or may not have wireless access, so this may be my last post for a few days, too.
So, it was another lovely day in Kyoto, and I didn’t want any big agenda–I just wanted to walk around and enjoy my last taste of this city, which I have come to love very much. I headed north, and ambled through the downtown area, through several outdoor shopping areas–they call them “arcades” here–complete with fish decorations. [I was thinking how great they would be for fish night!] As I kept walking [seeing shrines and temples all along the way–even right next to stores on the street. A few random pictures are below.], I found myself heading back toward the Kamo River, one of my favorite places in the whole city. This time, I picked up the path on this side [the west side] of the river, and kept walking north, aiming for the fork of the Kamo and Takano Rivers. Again, I saw lots of birds, including many eagles flying around, making the crows very anxious and aggressive.
Once I reached the fork, I kept going for a few hundred yards, to the Shimogamo-jinja, a shrine that dates back to the 8th century, dedicated to the god of harvest. The walk up to it was lined with trees and very pretty–my guidebook says that this area is a place where lies cannot be concealed–and the shrine itself was beautiful. This is the first place I have seen the instructions for making ablutions in English, so I included that picture, too. There was a small ceremony going on in the main temple–that is a Shinto priest in the picture.
After walking around the shrine for awhile, I turned around and came back to my hotel along the river, and was tired and happy by the time I got here. Now, to pack up and get organized for Tokyo tomorrow!