Kyoto: Southern Higashiyama

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During the first leg of our trip to Japan (Kyoto), we stayed at Kyoto Traveler’s Inn. I highly suggest staying here if you’re traveling on a budget, but you might encounter a bit of a problem if you travel with a lot of luggage.

What I love most about this inn is the onsen (which is a must try!) and the yukatas they provide for their guests. The staff was very courteous and helpful, too. The courtesy of the Japanese was not only proven by the staff, but also by the passersby. While we ate our breakfast at the inn’s veranda (which gave us an breathtaking view of the trees and flowers that grew by the river), we were greeted by an old man walking his dog, and by several groups of students who also stayed at the inn.

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It was great to see a group of students on their way to school.

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Basic Japanese Breakfast

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Torii in front of Heian Shrine

Our first stop was Yasaka Shrine.

There’s a bus stop found in between the inn and Heian Shrine – no more than a five minute walk from the inn. You can take bus #5 to the Gion Area. From there, find the path to Yasaka Shrine & Maruyama Park.

There’s a lot of things you can do while walking to the park. You can watch the locals make a wish in front of the temples (the practice involves clapping and ringing a bell), and make a wish, as well.

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We got a photo taken with some Japanese students in the area. They were so cool – it was like a scene taken out of a movie!

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Continuing on with the path will lead you to Nene no Michi, with the Kodaiji Temple on your left, and with the photogenic IshibeiKoji alley on your right. Here, you’ll see ladies dressed in kimono, or the traditional dress of Japanese ladies. There are a few stores lined up along the street where you can dress in a kimono, as well, but for a fee

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Ishibei-Koji

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Head straight down Nene no Michi, and you’ll end up at Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, a very busy street filled with traditional shops. Most of these shops sell sweets, figurines, souvenir items, and snacks. Following this path will lead you to Kiyomizuzaka, where Kiyomizu Temple is located. Unfortunately, we were not able to enter Kiyomizu Temple since there were a lot of people milling around at 11 am. My suggestion is doing this itinerary backwards – start with Kiyomizu Temple and end with Yasaka Shrine

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Front of Kiyomizu Temple

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