Climbing to Kiyomizu-dera
Climbing to Kiyomizu-dera was not without effort, but the sight of the temple in autumn was worth it. We slowly scooted up Shijo Street in Gion along with droves of tourists, mostly Japanese, and headed for the temple. We mistakenly figured the first temple we saw must be the right one and wandered around for about twenty minutes before realizing we were in the wrong spot. We rushed down Higashiyama Nijo leading to the real Kiyomizu-dera, which sits on a cliff above the city and offers views of Kyoto and its encompassing moutains, Higashiyama, Kitayama and Nishiyama. It was almost sunset and we were desperate to get to the top before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. The path to Kiyomizu-dera was a steep, narrow street lined with small souvenir and food shops. It was the most crowded street we encountered in Kyoto and we moved shoulder to shoulder directed by police managing the hordes that take over Kyoto in late autumn. We latched on to a Japanese man who was even more determined than us to reach the top and made it just in time for the golden hour.