Sunday, 30 June 2013

Gion, Part 5: Sono Ta

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The time has finally come to finish up this series, boys and girls. I know it wasn't much, but I really enjoyed writing it, and I especially enjoyed having a nice little motivator to go out and get these shots, some of which I think are pretty ok. To finish off, I'd like to show you some of the pictures that were either too poor, too tangential, or too different to make it into one of the main parts, but which may still be of some interest, to somebody, somewhere.

Unlike with the other parts, which were a little more deliberate, these photos will simply be shown in the order that I took them, so there is no particular theme or logical progression.

 Imagine cresting a relatively nondescript staircase and being met with this.
 It's pretty cool-looking. I'd love to check this out more closely at some point, but the theme of this photo project is "things that don't cost Rude Boy money," so I didn't go in.
 Nighttime couple stroll, in front of Koudaiji.

 On my first night in Japan for my high school exchange, after being massed into a giant group of students and unleashed on the hotel buffet, I decided that although I hated maccha, I would have some maccha ice cream just to start getting myself used to eating things I didn't like. Eventually I grew to absolutely love it, and then I got addicted to maccha Kit-Kats, and of course I lived in Uji so it was all maccha all the time, and now I'm a staunch maccha fan. Main point, try new things.
 The aforementioned staircase, connecting to a "park."
 As I've mentioned, Kyouto Tower is visible throughout much of Gion.
 In front of Koudaiji.

 A startlingly large number of houses have trees growing out of them. Like, they're actually planted straight into the ground inside the house. I'm told this is a Kyouto thing.

 There's no glass there, it's just a wooden lattice. I could clearly hear these employees chatting while I shot them. It brought back memories of Deus Ex.

 I couldn't tell you why, but Gion is loaded with uranai. I have never seen such uranai density anywhere else in Japan.
 The multi-storey pavilion near Kiyomizudera.
 Exploratory by nature, I always have the urge to check out these little-visited nooks, corners, and sideshows when visiting a site of interest. They always seem like such lonely little spots, and looking for them almost never yields anything interesting.
 Around Gojou. Is this what you picture when you think of Gion?
 Towards Kiyomizudera.
 The water thing at Kiyomizudera.
 Near Kiyomizudera.
 The pavilion thing near Kiyomizudera, again.
 Normally I avoid showing people's faces, but this is the only clear shot I've ever managed to get of one of these rickshaws. That's quite surprising considering that the incredible numbers in which they appear, but the problem, of course, is that they're always moving. It's quite common to see them ferrying people on the narrower pedestrian-ruled roads between the major points of interest, particularly Kiyomizudera and Yasaka-san. I've never ridden one so I can't say whether it's a good transportation option, but I'm sure it would be an unusual experience if nothing else.
 These guys came out in a huge convoy one day. Judging by the iconography, this is one of the groups that supports restoring (some) power to the emperor and revitalizing Japan's once mighty military. One vehicle had a full speaker system and was blaring nonsense, but it was very hard to understand so I'm not sure if I was supposed to be expelling the foreigners or extolling the superiority of the Japanese race or supporting Sapporo Ichiban over Cup Noodle or what. The Japanese I was with at the time told me they were very embarrassed and to forget I ever saw it. Instead I posted a photo on the Internet and appended a lengthy caption.

 A small temple I found on a random walk at nighttime, back when it was still coldish and the sun went to bed early. Couldn't find any information on it, but I THINK the place was called 達仁寺、if for some reason you feel inclined to research it.

 So yeah, immediately afterward I stumbled across another one, this a fairly substantial complex. Unfortunately, I didn't get the name. I was quite intrigued by this window visible over the wall, wondering what kind of view the inhabitant of this apartment must have.
 The entire time I was wondering if a security guard was going to come and roust me, but people seemed to be cutting through like it was no thing.
 I found what appeared to be, I guess, some kind of restaurant. The rock garden out front was immaculately maintained, but aren't they all. I could hear raucous times from within and what must have been waiters scurrying down the thin-walled hallway near me, but was too nervous to actually confirm my theory.

 Ok, so eventually I actually did go into Koudaiji. I wouldn't have done, except that it was specially lit up as like an annual event, so I picked a night and went to check it out.
 Toyotomi's widow built this place to pray for him after his death. An entire temple.
 If I'm not confusing this with someplace else, there are seven rocks in this little field, and a famous monk placed them in a very particular pattern whose meaning has never been deciphered. You could be cynical and say that there isn't one.

 The lighting made it very difficult to get anything very good, but I think this picture adequately shows how beautifully the reflection of the illuminated trees was cast against the still water.
 Onward and upward.
 A cute couple.
 Kyouto Tower.
 There was a little teahouse off to the side, if you wanted to sit a spell before moving on.
 Everything from here on is at or near Kiyomizudera.

As I write this, July is about to begin, which is appropriate, because it means that the month-long Gion Matsuri is about to begin. I will definitely be doing something with that, naturally, so I suppose we're not quite finished with Gion yet. Regardless, I really hope you enjoyed my little photo project, and as always, thank you very much for reading!