On our first morning in Kyoto, we took a taxi to the pedestrian streets leading up to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple complex. We had a great time popping into the shops on the walk up to the temple. Many shops had samples so we were able to try so many Japanese desserts and snacks and even bought a few souvenirs such as “cat”. We ended up buying many of the snacks we tried including these delicious matcha white chocolate cookies from the Malebranche store shown below.
After about an hour, we finally made it up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The Temple was founded in 778, however, the buildings were constructed in 1633. Before we walked up to the temple, we stopped by the bathrooms and discovered this really cool cemetery.
The temple structures were both bold and intricate, really fascinating just to sit and take in.
Its neat that many visitors to the temple dress up in traditional clothes. I loved seeing everyone dressed up!
It cost extra to go into one of the buildings so Chuck and the kids found a seat while I went to explore. Little did we realize that it wasn’t just the building that I had access to, but the entire rest of the complex. I ended up being gone far longer than expected, but it was such a treat to see everything. Unfortunately without working cell service, I couldn’t text them to come meet me, and by the time I was back, they were ready to move on.
We explored a little more of the complex together. Since we were set so high up, we had a great vantage point to look down on Kyoto and surrounds too.
We took a branch off the the main pedestrian street on our walk down from the temple onto what I think is Sannenzaka street. We found a great little place for lunch that had a soft tofu lunch which Kyoto is famous for. Lunch was not cheap, but was delicious!
We then spent another couple of hours checking out the shops on what I think was Sannenzaka and Ninnenzaka streets. Chuck disappeared at some point and I found a shop giving out samples of this yuzu honey drink. O.M.G. was this stuff good! I called the kids over and we tried so many flavors of their honey drinks – blueberry, mango, raspberry, and on and on. We bought some to drink then, but also containers to drink at home which we slowly rationed over the next 6 months.
After gorging ourselves on yummy drink samples, we found Chuck in a nearby shop eating some weird ball things. I tried one and quickly regretted my decision.
And on it went. Walking into shops, trying samples, seeing a cool pagoda or shrine, walking more, popping into another shop.
We eventually found the world’s coolest Starbucks:
Unfortunately there was quite a line and we didn’t feel like waiting, so we decided to head back to the rental. All told, I think we were out for over 6 hours and were absolutely wrecked once we got back. Despite the long day, this was one of the (many) highlights of our time in Kyoto for me. I loved the traditional feel of the streets and even though I’m not much of a shopper, I loved exploring all the shops and what they had to offer. I was hoping we’d get a chance to come back before we left Kyoto to pick up some more souvenirs, but we never did. I’ll just have to do that next time!