2016 Japan fall trip (day 8)

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December 4

7:07 am – Got up

9:30 am – Off we go
Even though I thought I’d take it easy that day, I still ended up walking a lot.

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Entrance to Taniさん’s guesthouse

On the way to Kamigamo Jinja, I passed by an old guesthouse that I previously stayed at. I think it was during my short 2015 spring visit.

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I was here spring 2015

I also encountered a few overpasses that allowed better views of colored trees.

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There was also a pedestrian lane below

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Almost there

10:44 am – Kamigamo Jinja

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Torii gate at the entrance

How to get there: Since the distance was less than 5 kilometers, I actually just walked from the guesthouse. But for the sake of being helpful, let’s use Kyoto station as the starting point. One option is to take the subway Karasuma line and get off at Kitayama station (290JPY) then walk a bit towards the shrine. You can also take bus number 4 from there to Kamigamojinja-mae stop (230JPY). It’ll take less than an hour either way.

The grounds are free to enter from 5:30 am to 5 pm.

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A bunch of cherry trees along the entrance walkway

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First structure right after the cherry trees

There’s a sort of stable with a white horse just before the second torii gate. Visitors can try to feed the horse with the food that’s being sold nearby.

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That’s one famous horse

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The second torii gate

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Colorful trees towards the left

Oh and did I mention this shrine is another World Heritage Site?

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World Heritage Site inscription

Here’s a map of the shrine grounds. It’s a bit clipped though. My bad.

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Kamigamo Jinja map

I also happened to see a small event when I got there. I had no idea what it was about though.

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I had no idea what was happening there

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One of the buildings inside

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The hand-washing place

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The gate towards the inner grounds

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Few more of the shrine’s buildings

I wandered into the part of the grounds that had a bunch more trees.

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Foreground: green, background: orange/yellow

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The background

This was probably another short path towards a place with better views. I didn’t follow it though.

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This reminds me of the Korankei path

Here’s just a few of the colored trees I saw while getting somewhat lost.

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A tree

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Some more trees

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Last set of trees (for now)

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This one has a stream of water

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Other side of the first structure (near the cherry trees)

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On the way out

11:56am – To Shimogamo Jinja
Since the distance was again less than 5 kilometers, I decided to walk to Shimogamo Jinja. Plus, I thought it was kind of fun to follow the Kamo river and see what the locals were up to during a Sunday.

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Kamo river

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Some were playing tennis by the river

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More yellow trees

1:07 pm – Shimogamo Jinja

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Shimogamo Jinja area map

I actually left the camera outside while I went in and got a shuin.

How to get there: I walked from Kamigamo Jinja. But if you’re coming from Kyoto station, take the Keihan line towards Demachiyanagi station (270JPY). You’ll probably have to get to Shichijo station as I think it’s the closest station on the Keihan line. The shrine is just less than a 10-minute walk from Demachiyanagi station.

The shrine grounds are also free to enter from 5:30 am – 6 pm during the summer (and probably spring and fall too) and until 5pm during winter.

Even though I came from the north, I still entered the grounds on the south side.

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At the south entrance

There’s a small enclosed area on the south. According to gmaps, it’s the area where Kawai shrine is located. This is also where I got a shuin.

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Entrance to the enclosed area on the south

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Some of the buildings inside

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Kawai shrine (probably)

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Picture time

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Omikuji

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The central structure

There’s a mini forest (Tadasu no mori) between the south and north areas of the shrine grounds.

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Tadasu no mori

I wasn’t sure if there was a festival or just a normal Sunday thing but the place was busy.

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Lots of people at the south end of the mini forest

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Same thing on the north end

There were tons of stalls lined up on both sides of the path. Food stalls were located midway along the path. There were also performers there. I stuck around for a bit and enjoyed some of the performances.

Speaking of food, this was lunch.

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Something new…

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…from here

There was another path parallel to where the shops were.

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The stalls were on the left side

When I got to the north side, there was this one famous tree.

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People were somehow drawn to it

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Cool tree

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Torii gate on the north area

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Shimogamo Jinja is also a World Heritage Site

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Entrance to the north area

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Some of the buildings inside

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There was a pictorial of some sort that day

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Another famous tree

2:21 pm – To Shoren-in
After visiting the north area, I backtracked towards the south and again walked to Shoren-in. I made sure to pass by the spot where the Kamo river splits into two, forming the Y-shape on the map.

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The split marker

I also passed by Heian Shrine and Okazaki park on the way to Shoren-in.

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Heian Shrine entrance

4:08 pm – Shoren-in

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Parking lot near the entrance

How to get there: Yep, you guessed it, I walked. But as always, from Kyoto station you have a few options. If you prefer trains, the closest station is Tozai line’s Higashiyama station. It’ll be 260JPY from Kyoto station via Karasuma-oike. If you prefer buses, take bus number 5 or 100 from Kyoto station to Jingu-michi bus stop (230JPY). Obviously the train will be faster (~15 minutes vs ~30 minutes on the bus).

They are always open from 9 am to 5 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm during spring and autumn illuminations. You can get in until 30 minutes before closing time.

The fees are 500JPY for ordinary days and 800JPY for the seasonal evening illuminations.

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The actual entrance

I was supposed to stay for the evening illuminations but I guess it got cancelled because of the rain.

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The garden inside

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People were writing something there

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Inside one of the buildings

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Where I sat waiting for the lights to go up

6:29 pm – Going home
I took the bus this time because I was tired and it was raining a bit.

Here’s the whole walking path I did.

1-guesthouse-to-kamigamo-jinja

To Kamigamo Jinja

2-kamigamo-jinja-to-shimogamo-jinja

To Shimogamo Jinja

3-shimogamo-jinja-to-shorenin

To Shoren-in

6:38 pm – Guesthouse

10:04 pm – Sleep


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