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We got a late start, wanting to take things easy, and didn't step out until lunch time. We went to a nearby restaurant called Hayashi which Yuko had recommended. It was small, but sort of cafeteria style, and we shared a table with a local though we never talked. A TV was on in the back, showing some gameshow or other.

The huge torī over the street leading to Heian Jingū.

After our meal, we walked on up to Heian Jingū, which was just a few blocks from our inn. I had been there before and hadn't been particularly impressed by it, but it seemed like the easy thing to do. Once we had taken a look around the shrine grounds, though, we decided to go through the gardens, which I hadn't done before.

The gardens more than made up for the empty space that seemed to rule the main shrine area. They were extensive, winding around the back of the shrine, and incorporated a lot of water in proper Japanese style. At first the path criss-crossed smaller streams, and then it opened up onto first one pond full of waterlilies and then another. The place was full of koi fish, and I fell in love with them a little here, the way their mouths opened and closed in that silly glub-glub motion.

Japan's oldest train sits in this garden.

One of the lily ponds.


Stepping stones across the pond.

We spent well over an hour meandering along the garden path, until at last it led us to a wide bridge where a number of people were sitting and enjoying the water and the weather. At the center, some children were feeding the fish and turtles beneath the bridge with food out of a box that simply had a note asking to leave money if you took any. We sat for a while ourselves before at last following the remainder of the path out of the shrine.

The bridge from across the water.

People relaxing on the bridge.

On the way back to our inn, we took a quieter street that went past the zoo, and picked up some fruit from the shopping arcade. We spent the rest of the day just enjoying the comfort of our room.

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December 2016

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