Japan holiday – day 7 – dressing up in Kyoto

Rainy start to today, not bad just drizzly. Undeterred by the elements we caught the bus to Ginkakuji (Silver temple), on the way we had to swap buses so went to a Lawson (convenience store) to get some pastries for breakfast. I grabbed a danish and this cute wrapped one that felt all soft and squishy so I assumed muffin or cake of some kind. I gave the wrapped one to the Englishman and started eating my danish. Laughter soon followed as what I thought was a cake ended up being a cheeseburger!

Ginkakuji (Silver temple) is built on the side of the hill and while relatively simple it’s the raked gardens and extensive moss garden that make it so impressive. With the slight drizzle of rain the moss looked even more rich and green.

The street leading up to the temple is tiny and twisting, packed with small shops selling souvenirs and food. We got this super cool potato that has been cut into a spiral and threaded onto a skewer and then cooked. So yummy and such a great idea. They were also selling cucumbers on a stick that were stored in ice. We saw this many times and while cucumber is nice I can’t really imagine gnawing a whole stick of it as I wandered through a tourist spot?

Last time I was in Kyoto my friends who were living there at the time booked me in to get dressed up in traditional clothes. It was so much fun. You saw the photo of that here so this time we thought we’d book in again.

It takes a few hours (for the women about 20 minutes for the guys) as you need to get all your makeup done and the many layers of clothes. Both times I have been dressed as a Maiko which kind of translates to apprentice Geisha. Maiko outfits tend to be brighter and more patterned while Geisha outfits tend to more plain and almost sombre so it’s a bit more fun to be a Maiko.

With the multiple layers of clothes, belts, cushions for padding and heavy make up you feel huge like you can barely move but the skilled workers who help you put it all on are very good and make it as easy as possible. Here I’ve got my wig on (my blonde hair is tucked up under a hair net underneath) and am getting my belts adjusted.

I’ll share the professional photos another day but even though it seems like such a “tourist” thing to do it is worth it. You get some great photos but learning how all the clothes get put together and the time and care it must take to do that every day is really fascinating. We went to Studio Shiki and found them to be great. If you can go on a fine day as some of the plans allow you to walk around outside and you can get some great photos. Also they only take cash payment no credit cards.

After finally getting all that white makeup off (takes longer to take off than put on) we walked up the hill to Kiyomizu temple. Parts of it are currently undergoing reconstruction and conservation work but the views are still breathtaking.

We kept passing these girls we had seen earlier, they were dressed in traditional clothing and out for the day (a not uncommon sight) and they fitted the surrounding so well.

On our way back down from the temple we got some of the best steam buns I’ve ever had at this tiny little shop. Mine was filled with fresh made tofu and came with a honey soy sauce. The Englishman had sweet chestnut mixed with red bean. Delicious!

After a day of temples, shrines and getting dressed up we did some shopping and started adding some be@rbricks to our collection. Be@rbricks are cute little collectable toys which you buy in a box but you don’t know which one you get till you actually open the box.


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