In Kyoto, we visited the Temple of the Golden Pavillion, a stunning Buddhist temple. The pictures don't do it justice.
Next we visited the Fushimi-Inari Taisha shrine. Compared to the Golden Pavillion, the first structure at Fushimi-Inari looked like a gaudy orange building...until we got to the walkways, which are framed by wooden gates that look like the Greek letter pi. The walkways create a path from the shrine to the base of Inari mountain.
There is also a separate walking path, through a bamboo forest, to Mount Inari. The contrast between the loud, packed walkways and the peaceful quiet of the bamboo forest was shocking. We did not do the 1-hour hike to the mountain on this trip, but would definitely return!
Later we ate lunch at a Korean restaurant where Dale met his match in a menu item translated as "Super Spicy Pork." He could not eat it!
In the evening, we walked to the Gion district to try to catch a glimpse of some Geisha. Throughout Kyoto, women (and some men) were walking around in Geisha attire and we weren't sure why. Apparently tourists pay money to be "done up" like a Geisha. We did glimpse an actual Geisha (or perhaps she was a Geiko/trainee). We felt terrible being part of the foreign paparazzi that ambush Geisha on their way to work...
That evening, we ate sushi at Chojiro Shijo Kiyamachi, in the Gion district. The sushi was really fresh, and relatively inexpensive. We ordered traditional sushi like tuna and yellowtail, and threw in a squid challenge.
After dinner, we meandered home through shopping stalls lining the interior of buildings along the way.