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Last year I decided to take a maiko photoshoot and it was fun, so when this year I found something similar, I decided to take the plunge. In this case, it was not a maiko, but an oiran [花魁], high-ranking courtesans with flashier clothes and more expensive kimono and accessories. I timed this to be the day after the Gozan no Okuribi, and my appointment was at 1 pm, although the website advised you to be around half an hour earlier.

I woke up feeling much better than the previous day, and after leaving the hotel the first thing I did was visit Mikane Jinja [御金神社], a small temple that had at some point come under my radar because it has a golden torii. This was, again by luck, very close to my hotel.

After that I took the underground to go to the Higashiyama / Keage area, where my photo studio was. There are also a few things to see around there, so I got off at Keage Station and the first thing I saw was Nejirimanpo [ねじりまんぽ], a Spiral Brick Tunnel, also called “Twisted tunnel”. I walked across, of course.

Afterwards I found myself at the complex formed by Tosho-gu [東照宮] and Konchi-in [金地院]. Tosho-gu is dedicated to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

I continued into the temple complex and saw Nanzen-ji [南禅寺], a grand temple.

And then I stumbled onto Suirokaku [水路閣], which is, of all things, an aqueduct! Furthermore, it is still in use.

My next stop was Saisho-in [最勝院].

Then it was almost time for my appointment, so I headed towards Studio Esperanto Oiran Taiken [studio-esperanto 花魁體驗], which was pretty much amazing. There is a whole review of the process over at SemiRandom.

While I was waiting for the pictures to be done, I decided to have a walk around the area. I saw the Lake Biwa Canal museum [琵琶湖疏水記念館 Biwako Sosui Kinenkan] from the outside.

I thought I might check out the zoo, but the price made me decide against it, and after turning a corner I found myself, surprisingly, at Heian Jingu [平安神宮 ].

I remembered there was a conbini next to the daitorii, so I went there to have some lunch, and then walked back to the Keage area, to have another look at the temple complex and Jishi-in [慈氏院] (probably. There was some construction going on and this might have been a smaller temple).

After I had my pictures (and still not quite believing it), I decided to walk down to Gion, as the path would take me down the river.

I ended up at Yasaka Jinja [八坂神社].

Then I walked into the actual Gion [祇園] area. It was more than crowded, which killed the exploring drive.

And here is when I totally forgot that I wanted to go see Fushimi Inari Taisha by night and went back to the hotel 。゚(゚´Д`゚)゚。. I guess I was a bit more tired than I had previously thought, because I did not remember that until I was getting on a train the following there.

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