We arrived in the Gion on a rainy evening. After dinner, we the rain had stopped and we walked through the winding cobblestoned streets from Yasaka Pagoda to Yasaka Shrine.The lane ways were lit by lanterns hanging from the small wooden houses and the light made the cobblestones glisten. It was summer and I carried a gardenia I picked from a nearby bush and the heady perfume trailed behind us. We were completely alone in the streets but there was absolutely no sense of danger. There was complete silence except for our footsteps. It truly was like walking through an enchanted dream.
The next day, we returned, and it was completely different. The laneways were full of tourists and souvenir shops, everyone making their way to the Shrine and stopping for photos and trinkets. This was lots of fun too but didn't capture the magic of the night before.
Whatever you do, make sure you explore the Gion after 9pm. It's completely enchanting!
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