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Our feet were against anything strenuous after the previous day, so to spare them we ventured out to the bus stop around the corner from our inn. Sanjūsangendō is located not too much farther south from Kiyomizudera, and most of our ride down was familiar.

We took a stroll around the outside of the building first to get an idea of its size, and then went on inside. While there was a steady stream of people through the temple, it wasn't as crowded as others. It also wasn't freezing cold like the other time I'd been there, so we didn't feel any particular rush as we made our way through the temple, reading about the various statues.

One thing I found particularly interesting which I hadn't picked up on before (probably because we rushed past all the additional displays straight to the heater) was that the temple had been used for archery contests. Archers would shoot from one end of the long building to the other, and the far end of the temple had once become so riddled with stray arrows that pieces of it had had to be replaced.

Is it bad to sneak pictures of monks?

The long side of the temple.

Even after walking around barefoot on the hard floor of the temple, we decided we felt up to walking back to the inn, and maybe seeing a few things along the way. Not far from Sanjūsangendō, we saw a trio of older ladies enter a temple marked Myōhōin. Thinking they were tourists, we followed them in... only to discover that there were apartments on the temple grounds and that they apparently lived there. Quietly we turned back around and tried to pretend we hadn't been following them.

Along the way back, we tried to find the streets Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka, which are located near Kiyomizudera. I think we did manage to find one of them and walk along it for a ways, but we weren't in a mood to shop, and after missing a turn and going off away from the main drag, we decided not to retrace our steps. We walked along quieter streets until we emerged in the familiar Yasaka Jinja, and from there easily found our way back.

A pagoda guiding us in the right direction.

Just a normal street, power lines, vending machines, and all.

December 2016

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