2016 Japan summer trip (day 12)

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August 3
7:32 am – Got up

9:10 am – Off we go
I was getting the hang of cycling around Kyoto city.

10:13 am – At Kiyomizu parking lot
I have been to Kiyomizudera a few times already but I always seem to miss visiting Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka.

When I arrived at the parking lot. The attendant told me about the 1-day parking pass. For only 200 JPY, you can park at 9 different locations within the same day. Very handy if you’re traveling by bike to tourist spots near the 9 locations.

Here’s the list where the pass is valid:

  1. Kiyomizuzaka
  2. Arashiyama
  3. Ginkakuji
  4. Takao
  5. Okazakikoen
  6. Nijojo
  7. Misayama
  8. Tominokojirokkaku
  9. Pontocho

The pass can only be bought on the first six locations except for Takao where the pass is only sold in November (probably for fall season). You can find more details here (it’s in Japanese).

I was only planning on visiting Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka that morning. The afternoon was supposed to be Starbucks-hopping as a friend asked if I could browse and possibly buy her a tumbler.

Not this one.

I went a bit crazy with the documentation for Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka. I walked the path back and forth twice as I was trying out something new with the camera.

Stitched photos.

And videos. I separated the walk going north and going back.

[Off topic] I used a simple camera stabilizer on both stitched photos and videos. As it turned out, there were less shaking than if I had used the monopod. I’m probably just nitpicking here, but if I really want totally shake-free videos, I would have to invest in some more sophisticated and most likely expensive equipment. Which probably I won’t do seeing as though I only use the camera probably two or three times a year.

[Not yet done] Also, I should probably be content with this. I wasted a few days looking for and trying out software (free) video stabilization applications. Compared to my earlier videos, the new ones look waaay better (plus there’s Youtube’s video stabilizer).

Anyway, back to the story…

The Ninenzaka/Sanenzaka-visit and Starbucks-hopping were supposed to be separate activities, but after looking at the nearby Starbucks(es?) on the map, I noticed I can squeeze in visiting a few more of Kyoto’s preserved streets as I go from one shop to another.

After Ninenzaka and Sanenzaka, I was on my way to the first shop. On the way there, a Japanese man inviting people to his restaurant talked to me (probably because I looked lost – I wasn’t really – looking at the map on the phone). I can’t recall the exact conversation but here are some excerpts:

  • He asked where I was going, I told him to a nearby Starbucks to check out tumblers.
  • He asked if I’ve ever seen a geisha/maiko, I said yes, and elaborated that it was my 4th time in Kyoto.
  • He asked where I was from, I said Philippines.
  • He asked if I went/will go somewhere else other than Kyoto. I wasn’t sure which one he asked, but I opted to answer the past question so I told the story of the Mt. Fuji climb; how I got to the top late and wasn’t able to see the sunrise and how it rained all the way down.
  • It was around lunch time and he was probably inviting me to eat (he recommended a set meal that he said is usually eaten by geishas/maikos), but I politely declined and said I’ll eat a bit later after dropping by a few Starbucks shops. I also wasn’t hungry yet at the time.
  • We said our ‘nice to meet you’ and ‘goodbyes’ and I was back on my way.

The funny thing was, I forgot to introduce myself.

That short chat just confirmed what I have been noticing: that even with still limited vocabulary, I can express myself in Japanese just fine. Like if I forgot to say ‘cold’, I can just say ‘not hot’. But when it comes to listening, that’s where I trip up pretty bad. During that short conversation, I probably asked him to repeat what he said at least three times.

Honestly, I can’t remember exactly the order and which shops I visited but I did visit Shinbashi dori/Shirakawa-minami dori and Pontocho.

My second visit. I hear the spot near the intersection where the two streets meet looks better during spring.

I’ll have to walk by Pontocho again at night.

I know of five places in Kyoto that looked like scenes from the old days. Hanamaikoji dori going to Kenninji and Ishibe alley round up the five. I could have visited Ishibe alley while I was near Ninenzaka.

aug 3 path
Had I only known then.

I was walking around the Higashiyama area visiting Starbucks and preserved streets on a very hot summer Wednesday afternoon.

3:34 pm – On the way home
I went back to the parking lot near Kiyomizu and rode the bike back home.

4:20 pm – Home sweet home

6:13 pm – Went to the supermarket
Ah, rain.

10:49 pm – Sleep


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