*Note -Flickr’s new default HTML size is square and I didn’t realize it until I was done making the post. I apologize for the inconvenience. You can click them to enlarge them. Looking at it now, it may be good it turned out this way because this post is quite image-heavy. But again, I apologize. Going back to fix them would be nearly impossible.

Back in November for fall break, some friends and I went to Kyoto for 3 days. This would actually become the first of three times I would go back to Kyoto. It was an amazing experience. It was raining the day we got there, and we got rained on pretty hard, which was kind of a bummer, but luckily, the weather was beautiful the other days. I didn’t wear kimono the first day, luckily. The only place we visited the first day was Kiyomizu-dera, which admitted looked pretty cool in the mist from the rain.

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And here’s Kyoto Tower in all of its hideous glory.

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The next day, we did all kinds of stuff and I spent the whole day in kimono. First up, in the very early morning, we went to Ryouan-ji. I really enjoyed Ryouan-ji, but we had to go through it relatively quickly in order to keep our schedule. The path leading to Ryoan-ji is also very serene and relaxing.

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Next up was Kinkaku-ji. Stereotypical as it is, it’s a must see.

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Then, one of my favorite experiences in Japan, I went to see the Gion Odori. It was absolutely amazing and everything I ever hoped for. And I got to see my favorite geiko, Tsuneyuu, play a really funny role in one of the scenes. I bought the o-cha seki so I got to watch the geiko do the tea ceremony and we were served special sweets with Gion-Higashi’s crest. And we got to keep the plate! I also picked up the program. During the performance, the geiko and maiko all suddenly reached into their kimono and threw special tenugui (towel-like things) and I caught one cause I had a second-row seat! Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures of the performance, but I got some pictures of the theater.

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(Tsuneyuu is the one on the right. She played an ugly woman who was after a man who had a girlfriend already. So she prayed to become beautiful and her wish was granted and she ended up getting the man. When she was ugly, she had really funny eyebrows and the whole scene was just great.)

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To top the day off, I was finally able to meet Yukiko! We strolled around Gion and talked and got some really good ramen. Finally, Yukiko treated me at a very nice bar in Gion! It was super fancy. (You should go check out Yukiko’s site. She has an Etsy with a lot of nice kimono accessories and a custom-made kimono making business.)

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On the last day, we spent the rest of our time exploring Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is absolutely immense. We didn’t even make it to the top, but we did make it to one of the lookouts which apparently has a better view than the top anyway. It is also beautiful. The sheer number of torii is staggering. As a souvenir, I bought my self a little nine-tailed fox plushie.

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And here is my haul. I also picked up some Sailor Moon manga, as well as a book on becoming a kimono instructor.

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And here is the full set if you ‘d like to see it. There are some more beautiful pictures in there, especially of Fushimi Inari Taisha.