2016 Japan fall trip (day 7)

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We got hit by a strong typhoon over the holidays…

It really doesn’t have anything to do with this story. I’m just making a note of it here so I’ll know what took me so long to continue writing this.

Moving on,

December 3

6:28 am – Got up
One more thing I liked about the guesthouse: free breakfast.


Kitchen is on the second floor


Lotsa choices

7:44 am – Off we go
I did a ton of walking that day starting with this one.


A little over 6 kilometers to Ginkakuji’s entrance

I used main roads because these have trees lined up along the sidewalks.


Trees along Kitaoji dori


Gingko trees along Horikawa dori


Another giant yellow tree (still at Horikawa dori)

8:44 am – Kyoto Gyoen National Garden
I also passed by the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. The green rectangle on the lower part of the map above is only a part of it. The entire area is huge.

The Kyoto Imperial Palace is inside these grounds.


Kyoto Gyoen National Garden Information

I didn’t really explore the area as I was only looking for a bathroom. I found one on the northeast side of the Garden.


The north entrance


On the way to the bathroom

I passed by a baseball field where kids were practicing.


Saturday fun day

This was awesome: there’s an anti-slip material on the wall where people can lean their umbrellas against.



I also passed by Kyoto University on the way to Ginkakuji.


Hello students!

It always makes me smile when I end up somewhere I’ve been to before (either by accident or just passing through).


Philosopher’s Path


Entrance to Ginkakuji is just up ahead

I wasn’t really going to Ginkakuji. I was going up Mt. Daimonji. The start of the hike is somewhere near the temple’s entrance.

10:01 am – Hike to Mt. Daimonji
I have gone up to Mt. Daimonji before; last January. It was a side trip along the Kyoto trail and I came up from a different starting point.


Welcome to Ginkakuji

After arriving at the entrance, I turned left. There’s a torii gate a few meters ahead.


Turn right here

I then turned right at the corner just before the torii gate.

This sign board will tell you if you’re on the right trail.


Going up Mt. Daimonji


Another sign board

There’s actually a small bridge behind the sign board above. After crossing it, a series of log stairs followed.


Going up


A flat section before another incline


Part of the trail with historical significance


Stairs near the top


Colorful trees just before the viewing point

10:58 am – Kobo Daishi Shrine
There’s a small shrine at the viewing point.


Kobo Daishi shrine

There’s also an X-shaped stone fireplace in front of the shrine. This is one of the many fireplaces that is lit up during the fire festival.

This is the center of the Dai (大) character. The arms of the character stretch towards the left and right side of this. If you look down you can see the legs. The top of the character is located on the hill above the shrine.

Here’s some more info on the festival (Daimonji Gozan Okubiri / Daimonji Five Mountain Obon Fire). It’s held on August 18th at 8 in the evening.


This is called ‘Hidoko’

You can see Kyoto’s west mountains from here.


A bit cloudy though


Concrete and colors


One of the 大 character’s legs


Fireplaces along the 大 character’s arms


Picnic areas

That wasn’t Daimonji’s peak yet. There’s another set of stairs behind the Hikodo and it’s another 20 or so minutes of hiking.


Almost there

12:04 pm – Mt. Daimonji


This is the view from the summit


It’s also an excellent picnic area

During my winter visit, I didn’t see the height marker. Turns out it was attached to one of the trees up there.


Mt. Daimonji: 466m

12:18 pm – Descent
It’s the same way going down.


Route going down

Also, on the way down, I came across a few people running up the trail.

1:14 pm – Ginkakuji entrance
It took me a little over three hours for the whole hike.

2:08 pm – Kyoto station
I didn’t have anything planned for that afternoon so I decided to look for a specific pen my sister asked me to find. Since I had no idea where to start the search, I figured Kyoto station would be a good place to start.

There was an Aeon mall near the station’s Hachijo guchi side. I went there and looked at the mall’s shop directory. I didn’t go in the mall as I had no idea which shops sell stationery.

After a few minutes of brainstorming, I decided to google ‘where to buy pen in Kyoto’. In hindsight, this should have been the first thing that I did.

According to Google, I can find pens at Tokyu Hands and Loft. I visited both but was unable to find the pen. I mean, there are pens, lots actually, but the specific item that I was looking for wasn’t there.

After that, I went to…

4:58 pm – Kiyomizudera
Since the Kyoto Loft shop was in the Higashiyama area, I decided to walk to Kiyomizudera. It was only around 3 kilometers (still within my limit).

On the way there I passed by Sannenzaka as I was curious what the place would look like late in the afternoon.




Excuse me…


Lots of people

I came back to Kiyomizudera for the fall illuminations. December 4 was the last day and I figured I’d go before the last day as I thought most people would be going on the last day.

But then I realized it was a Saturday…

…and I made the mistake of deciding to wait for a bit before getting a ticket.

As a result:


Ticket area few minutes before gates open

Before anything else, let me just describe what happened.

If you’ve been to Kiyomizudera before, you’ll know that after entering the area that requires a ticket, you’ll end up at it’s famous balcony after a few meters.

After the balcony, the route continues towards the area near the entrance to Jishu shrine and the long stairs going down. From here you can either go down the stairs towards Otowa waterfall or walk the path near the building that is under construction towards the pagoda on the other side of the grounds.

There’s a point in the walking path that goes in the opposite direction towards the stairs. This path passes by a restaurant and Otowa waterfall.

Then, turning left from the waterfall leads to the exit.

The illumination basically followed the same walking route. The difference was that most of the time I was elbow-to-elbow with my fellow temple visitors.


I was at the balcony on this one


I think this was above the stairs


This too


Near the building under construction


This too (I can see Kyoto tower)


I’ve seen this from postcards


Further along the walking path


The pagoda on the other side


On the 180 turn I mentioned earlier


Otowa waterfall is on the right


Took this before the pond near the exit

It was actually my first night time illumination.

7:50 pm – At guesthouse

11:17 pm – Sleep

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