Monday, April 14, 2014

being sneaky in kyoto

Please don't continue reading if breaking the rules makes you squeamish. You have been warned. I don't want any judgey comments or side eye action from you!

So there was a reason Dani and I headed to Kyoto besides eating and that was to see the Miyako Odori. More information about that later. We started the day off by heading into the Higashiyama District which is where I always find myself whenever I'm in Kyoto. No matter how many times I go I still love this area with its preserved buildings and its rows and rows of souvenir shops. We just went around filling ourselves up with samples! I love these samples and its the best way to get a taste of Kyoto for free!

Since we were in the area we decided to drop by Kiyomizudera. This is where we get sneaky. Hold your tongues people. Because we have both seen this temple before we weren't really interested in seeing the grounds or even the temple itself. We were walking around the gardens below Kiyomizudera, head to the right instead of climbing the steps to the entrance, and when we saw the exit we just kept walking, pretending to be super absorbed by the nature around us. No one stopped us and there wasn't anyone guarding the exit so hurrah! However there is someone checking tickets if you want to go into the main hall and the wooden stage it is so famous for. We could have paid to go in but it was more fun being all sneaky about it and thinking we were badasses.

Too bad cherry blossom season was ending or the view would have been even more astonishing with a sea of pink and whites. The temple is under construction right now and will be undergoing renovations for the next few years. Better hurry there now while the main hall is still untouched.

After gorging on samples and having a little bit of sneaky fun we headed over to the nearby Gion District to check out the Miyako Odori. The Miyako Odori is an annual performance where you can see geikos (geisha) and maikos of Gion Kobu Hanamachi (Japanese geisha district) perform. Each of the hanamachi in Kyoto have their own dance performances but the Miyako Odori is by far the most famous. We got there super early because we had bought second class tickets (the cheapest) and it was first come first serve seating on tatami mats. We were the second group there so we got the first row of tatami seats slightly off to the center. Unfortunately a family in the neighboring tatami had freaking annoying children who kept running around making noises during the show. Hecka wanted to tell them to STFU! Ugh who thought it was a good idea to bring young children here?!?! After an unbearable amount of time one of the parents finally took them outside so they could run around and shit without disturbing everyone else. Parents do not bring your children to this show the dancing is very slow paced and precise, children are gonna get bored I guarantee it.

these happy faces will happily give a smack down
Picture taking isn't allowed once the performance starts but that wasn't always the case. I think only recently did they start implementing this rule and I was so freaking annoyed. I paid all this money and I wanted to document my experience so I sneakily took some photos and videos :P Man I freaking love Dani, she and I are on the same wavelength about everything! Sneaking into places, taking pictures when we shouldn't, etc she is down for it all which I love! So glad she wasn't shaking her head at me or telling me that I shouldn't be doing it.

The performance was spectacular! The stage sets and the kimonos were breathtaking. Each season was represented with different dances and skits. It was super hard to take pictures because employees were wandering around holding their don't break the rule signs and we were so exposed on the tatami. Especially funny trying to hide my tracking light on my camera and Dani trying to cover her picture taking noise on her Japanese cellphone. Scarves, jackets, and inventive positions were used to hide our sneakiness. Sneakiness at its best :P

Can you guess what we did after the show? If you guess getting more parfaits and taking even more photo booth pictures then you are absolutely correct. We are so addicted! Same ice cream place and even the same area for the photo booth pics. Haha

left: apple pie, chocolate, and soft server parfait, right: caramel and cookie parfait

The Details
Kiyomizudera Temple
Hours: open everyday 6:00am - 5:30/6:30pm depending on the season
Admission: 300 yen for adults or 400 yen for special night events
Access: Take bus #100 or #206 (be careful there are two #206 buses one goes in a clockwise direction and the other counterclockwise the trip can take 15 minutes or over an hour and a half if you go in the wrong direction) to Gojozaka (recommended) or Kiyomizu-michi stop. From the bus stop it will be around a 10 minute uphill walk.
Bus Fee: 220 yen flat rate or 500 yen for a one day bus pass

Sneaky Tip: buy a one day pass and use it over several days, bus drivers never check and if you don't get the date stamped you could possibly use it forever, well as long as the design is current

Miyako Odori
Gion Kobu Kaburen-jo Theatre
570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074 Japan
Access: Gion Bus Stop - #206 from Kyoto Station
*Head for Gion Corner which is at the end of Hanami-koji Street (the street filled with old looking buildings can't miss it, everyone is taking pictures here)
Performance Period: April 1-30
Performance Times: 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 4:50pm every day during performance period
Ticket Prices: 4500 yen, 4000 yen and 2000 yen
The theater is small and all the seats are good so don't be worried that paying for cheaper seats will give you a bad view.
easiest way and very fast response rate, pay cash in person on the day of the performance
For information on the other geisha dances please check out this website

Karafuneya Coffee Sanjo Head Office
39 Daikokumachi, Kawaramachi Sanjo-dori Kudaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Hours: 9:00am-1:00am
Telephone: 075-254-8774

1 comment:

  1. wow so much illegal stuff. i will be reporting you to kyoto authorities.