Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Streets of Gion, Japan

They say, if you only have one day in Kyoto you should roam the streets of the Gion district. We took the advice and would agree. Temples and trinkets stores lined the narrow streets. Traditional architecture abounded. The atmosphere was rich.

We wondered into a temple yard. It appeard to be a type of cemetary or moseleum.

I am sure that we looked like curious tourists as we peeked around corners and into doorways. Many people came and went offering sacrifices of insence and tossing coins into the wooden boxes infront of the statue of buddah.

One young boy interested in the fire and insence, much like myself.

A pretty tight graveyard. I believe all of the markers were for cremations as there was no space to bury a casket here.

On down the street we went. Stopping at a small place for lunch.

An excellent bowl of noodles was what we had. Udong, as they are called in Japan and Korea. We found them to be a staple at the restraunts. Also are also an affordable alternitive to many pricy options.

Chelsie inspects, tastes, and buys a box of cinnamon rice cakes. There were many to try. Bean, pumpkin, green tea, peach, strawberry and more. You were given a nice glass of green tea upon entering the store. Such fun shopping in Gion.

Busy streets are a great place to people watch.

Trinkets including stationary, stamps, pottery, chopsticks, fans, masks, banners, and many other forms of art could be exchanged for a few yen. We settled on some delicate blue bowls.

Chelsie and Amber pause amongst the bustle to smile .

Thanks for pushing the button Amber. It was great to have you along.

Gion is the origional Gaisha district, and although it is very rare and unusual to spot a real Gaisha, who have dwindled in number, you occasionally see young ladies who have payed to be dressed up in the traditional attire. They kindly posed for a candid shot.

As evening came we began to see people hurredly prepare for the New Years celebrations.

There were a plethera of lanterns hung on the temples waiting to be lit once dusk fell.

Chelsie found the largest.

A group of young ladies dressed up were touring the temple. We took some pictures for them, and then they wanted our picutres with them as well.

The above photo is of prayer wheels. Traditionally the mantra, a group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation", is written in Sanskrit on the wheel. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, spinning such a wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers. For more on these wheels click here.


Camilla Ruth-EuDaly Barrett said...

Aww, very cool! I always enjoy all the pictures you guys post!

I especially love the one of the little boy with his nose in the incense!

I caught Paul up to speed on your blog- he read back posts, for at least an hour. Comes back to me and says, "dang! That's so NOT fair! I want us to be abroad having adventures!" lol... I told him looking at your blog would make ANYONE want to do that! :-)

We enjoyed our time in Argentina, and have been thinking about going back, or going to Europe... Who knows. Probably within two years we'll be moved out of the country.

Thanks for always commenting!

Jeff said...

I agree with Camilla ... the incense boy is pretty fine. But all your photos are fine. If not a food photographer, you could be a photojournalist. Especially if you have Chelsie with you all the time, for a kind of Where's Waldo approach. Chelsie in the middle of the running of the bulls. Chelsie in the middle of a soccer riot. Etc. &c. I like the cemetery, too. Reminded me of two cemeteries in Prague: the old cemetery in the Jewish quarter, which they built up with layers as they ran out of room, and Vysehrad Cemetery, , crowded with noteworthies.

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