As I was getting ready to leave this morning, a piece of news on the BBC caught my interest:
Kyoto rewards kimono wearers
Japan's Kyoto city is offering free public transport and entry to tourist attractions for the next 11 days to anyone wearing a kimono.
On the screen, they flashed the scene from Kiyomizudera Temple. And I was transported back to Kyoto.
Were they real Geisha girls or Japanese girls dressed up as Geishas?
I went to Kiyomizudera with this other girl I met at the hostel. We were sharing the same room and we were both travelling alone. We both didn't have set plans so getting round together was convenient. I have since forgotten her name but I do remember that she was from Calgary, Canada. How and why she was there, is another story which I hopefully will be able to tell on another entry.
The road up to Kiyomizudera was lined with shops on both sides selling traditional Japanese craft and some Japanese fare. We told ourselves that we would just browse through the shops first, not buy anything, check out the views and then return to the shops to buy our souvenirs. Hopefully in that order.
The serenity of the temple was amazing. I enjoyed the silence. The serenity of Kyoto is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. The view was simply breathtaking and I was cursing at myself for choosing to carry my mini casio exilim and not the more bulky SLR camera. The limitation of my camera was way too obvious there as I could not capture the breathtaking beauty of the place.
After meandering through the temple, we headed back to the shops. And lo and behold I caught sight of two girls wearing their traditional kimono and dressed up like geisha. I was excited! I was walking round the Gion district the night before, hoping to catch sight of them but somehow I was unlucky. But there they were, willing to pose with both tourists and locals for pictures. I was enthralled by their colourful kimonoes, their traditional make up, and their willingness to pose for photgraphs. My visit to Kyoto was complete! I met two Geisha girls and posed pictures with them! I wished I could speak Japanese so I could interview them, but alas, they were in a hurry to move on.
On the way down, I bought myself several fans and a Japanese neck bolster. I still keep my Kyoto treasures in my bottom drawer. The fan is used on hot days and the neck bolster, I carry it with me whenever I travel. It was my way of making an alien hotel room my place, just with my backpacker's sheets and my little blue Japanese neck roll.
I hope to go back to Kyoto sometime soon. And I hope with the added reward for kimono wearers, I would get to see more kimono clad ladies in Kyoto.
I don't know what it is about Japan and things Japanese that appeal to me. I think I left bits of my heart in Kyoto.
One day Kyoto, I shall return, I shall delve into your bosom and uncover all your treasures. I had a tiny taste and I want to come back for more.
Tonight, I will sleep on my blue neck bolster and dream of you.