Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Day 2: Nishiki Market, Kamo River and Gion (Again)

19th October 2018 (Friday)

After visiting Kiyomizu-dera and strolling along Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka to Yasaka Pagoda, I decided to return to my guesthouse which was close by. However, it was locked. The time was only 2:10 p.m. and it would probably not open until 4:00 p.m.

I needed to ease myself. I decided to go to Nishiki Market, which was in my afternoon itinerary. Hopefully, I could find a washroom there. Surely, the Japanese know that tourists are human and need to pee, and being so considerate and thoughtful, would have washrooms ready for needy tourists and visitors like me.

Looking at the OSM map on my Garmin eTrex 20x, Nishiki Market did not look very far away from the hostel. It was about 1.5 kilometer away (but Garmin gave me the long route!). But, when the urge to pee was so strong, the distant seemed doubly far. It was about 2:50 p.m. when I reached Nishiki. I looked left and right along Nishiki Market and was very disappointed that I did not find a washroom. The Japanese were a disappointing lot. Of course, that was not going to stop me from having some bites.

It was not yet 3:20 p.m. I was at the west end of Nishiki Market. I wouldn't walk further west to Phiten at Tearaimizucho, on the same street as Nishiki Market to find the items that CTT requested. I had decided that I needed to return to the guesthouse for my pee. I estimated that I would reach the guesthouse by 4:00 p.m. With hurried steps, I walked back. 

Then, I saw Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. Surely, there must be a washroom here!! I hurried underground to the station. What a relief! Why hadn't I thought of finding a washroom at the train or subway station earlier? It was pure ecstatic feeling!

Feeling relieved, I was ready to see Kamo River. The first time I saw pictures on the internet of the building lining Kamo River, I had decided that I must visit this place. The view was unlike anything that I have seen before. It was very authentic and original, one of a kind. Earlier, I thought this place was called Pontocho, but further reading told me that Pontocho was actually an old street. I still haven't found the name of this place, except for the name of the river running alongside, Kamo River or Kamogawa.

On the way to Yasaka Pagoda from Kamo River, I dropped by the Geisha/ Maiko alley again, with the hope I could capture a vivid photograph of a Geisha/ Maiko. I guessed most of the visitors were thinking of doing the same thing. The Geisha/ Maiko were the celebrities here. In fact, when two Geisha/ Maiko were spotted walking together, a woman, presumably a mainland Chinese by her uncouth behaviour, followed and chased after them for a photograph.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Day 2: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Sannen-zaka, Ninen-zaka and Yasaka Pagoda

19th October 2018 (Friday)

After coming back from Fushimi Inari, I went for lunch again at Ramen Restaurants on the 10th Floor (or 9th floor in British English) of Kyoto Station. I would be going to Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka Pagoda, both of which are close to the guesthouse where I was putting up, Kyoto Guesthouse Lantern in Gion later.

Taking Raku Bus no. 100 and using my ICOCA card to pay for the fare was straight forward. Although I initially planned to alight at Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, I realised while on the way that most passengers would very likely disembark at the first bus stop close to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which was Gojozaka bus stop instead of Kiyomizu-michi bus stop which was a little further down the road. Both were equal-distant to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

From Gojozaka bus stop, an easy way of getting to Kiyomizu-dera Temple was to follow the crowd of visitors. If you happen to be the only visitor and there is no crowd to follow, do not panic. There is a big blue sign board showing the direction to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Look out for other direction signs too.

From Kiyomizu-dera, my itinerary for the later part of the afternoon was to walk to Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka and onwards to Nishiki Market before returning to my guesthouse. After taking a rest, I would go to Yasaka Pagoda in the evening to take some nice photographs of the pagoda. 

However, my stroll along Ninen-zaka led me to Yasaka Pagoda. The Pagoda was quite beautiful but unfortunately, there was no vantage point to shoot some nice photographs of the pagoda. I would come back again after dark with the hope that I could capture some nice photographs like those that I have seen on the internet.

As I left Yasaka Pagoda, I decided to return to my guesthouse which was close by. I could take a bath and take a short rest before proceeding to Nishiki Market. On reaching the guesthouse, I found the guesthouse door locked. I thought the strict check-in rule applies only to capsule hostels where customers must check-out and recheck-in again at the specific check-in hours. Kyoto Guesthouse Lantern in Gion did not specify such a rule on its website. The Taiwanese Japanese owner was enforcing this check-in rule without its customers being made aware about it. I had not checked out yet, and therefore, there was no recheck-in either.  I should be able to return to the guesthouse anytime but couldn't. It was only 2:10 p.m. and the hostel would probably open at 4:00 p.m. only. I needed to take a pee!! Where should I go to take a pee?!