Today was my last day in Kyoto. Tomorrow I will be checking out of my hotel in the morning and taking the train to Tokyo, where I will spend 2 1/2 days before heading home. I am looking forward to seeing Tokyo, but even more than that, I am looking forward to seeing John and little Henry! But in the meantime, I haven't even begun to think about being in Tokyo yet--I will look at my guidebook on the train and see what I want to do there: it is such a big city, it is hard to get my head around navigating it. I may or may not have wireless access, so this may be my last post for a few days, too.
So, it was another lovely day in Kyoto, and I didn't want any big agenda--I just wanted to walk around and enjoy my last taste of this city, which I have come to love very much. I headed north, and ambled through the downtown area, through several outdoor shopping areas--they call them "arcades" here--complete with fish decorations. [I was thinking how great they would be for fish night!] As I kept walking [seeing shrines and temples all along the way--even right next to stores on the street. A few random pictures are below.], I found myself heading back toward the Kamo River, one of my favorite places in the whole city. This time, I picked up the path on this side [the west side] of the river, and kept walking north, aiming for the fork of the Kamo and Takano Rivers. Again, I saw lots of birds, including many eagles flying around, making the crows very anxious and aggressive.
Once I reached the fork, I kept going for a few hundred yards, to the Shimogamo-jinja, a shrine that dates back to the 8th century, dedicated to the god of harvest. The walk up to it was lined with trees and very pretty--my guidebook says that this area is a place where lies cannot be concealed--and the shrine itself was beautiful. This is the first place I have seen the instructions for making ablutions in English, so I included that picture, too. There was a small ceremony going on in the main temple--that is a Shinto priest in the picture.
After walking around the shrine for awhile, I turned around and came back to my hotel along the river, and was tired and happy by the time I got here. Now, to pack up and get organized for Tokyo tomorrow!