After lunch, we wandered through Yasaka Shrine’s main entrance and walked into the adjacent Maruyama Park, “Maruyama kōen”. This park is famous and popular during the “hanami”, cherry blossoms viewing parties. There are over 600 cherry trees spread throughout the park. However, the most popular is the “shidarezakura”, weeping cherry tree. Visitor would sit under the blooms and enjoy the fragrant atmosphere. Today, on a hot day autumn day, the park looked dry and deserted. The lawns were unkempt with dense undergrowth. We passed a shrub tied with hundreds of fortune papers, “omikuji”. These papers are obtained at the temple by shaking a container and letting one rolled paper fall out. Who knows what each fortune read! Two young kimono clad women walked in front of us, enjoying each other’s company and admiring the surrounding. This slow walk brought us to our next temple.
After our long walk from Kiyomizu-dera and Kodaji Temples via Nene-no- Machi, preserved streets, we ended the main streets in Gion, opposite Yasaka Shrine. Today, we tried the popular “Omu- raisu”, an omelette filled with fried rice and topped with tomato ketchup, salad, meat and prawn tempura in a western style restaurant. It looked to be popular with the younger generation. The elevated view of the main street was great.
Chion – in Temple
We walked through Maruyama Park towards Chion-in but had no idea where. A local man walking towards us, turned around and guided us to the temple. Our approach through a forest descended a flight of concrete steps with a fabulous framed view of a couple of buildings surrounded by a beautifully landscaped garden and a pond. It was quiet. The main buildings were under renovation and we just walked past other equally impressive buildings.