Leaving Kiyomizu-dera behind, we walked down Matsubara Dori (松原通) to the intersection of Gojo-zaka (五条坂), where we were drawn by a small shop selling different senbei (煎餅), or Japanese rice crackers snacks. The shop Terakoya Honpo (寺子屋本舗) is a well known chain store of senbei in Japan. We couldn’t resist but picked up a piece of delicious senbei with seaweed spices. Turning into Sannen-zaka (三年坂), we found our way back to Yasaka Dori (八坂通), the historical alleyway dominated by the iconic Yasaka-no-to Pagoda of Hokanji Temple (法観寺 八坂の塔). A number of locals and tourists dressed in traditional kimonos were posing for photos in front of the pagoda. A strong coffee aroma led us to a few shops down from the pagoda. The sleek design of curved glazing and minimal decor of %Arabica Coffee provided a pleasant contrast to the historical atmosphere of Higashiyama. We went in, ordered two cups of hand drip coffee, and sat down at the communal table. A female staff took our order and prepared the coffee at the counter. After about ten minutes, our magnificent morning coffee were ready, and that was probably one of the best coffees we ever had.
Just round the street corner from %Arabica along Higashioji Dori (東大路通), we arrived at a alleyway leading to the Shinto shrine Yasui Konpiragu (安井金比羅宮). Nothing monumental or extravagant, the low profile shrine in a residential neighborhood was surprisingly popular with local worshipers due to the specialized wishes of “sever bad relationships and established good relationships (悪縁を切り良縁を結ぶ). In the shrine complex, the centre piece “Power Stone Monument” is a 3m x 1.5m tall rock with an oval hole in the middle. The monument is fully covered with white paper charms. When we were there, there was a long queue of visitors (mostly young women) waiting for their turns to crawl through the oval hole in a ritual of making wishes related to relationships. The main shrine building stood adjacent to the “Power Stone Monument”. In front of the main shrine, racks fully loaded with ema (絵馬) wooden plaques and paper charms written with wishes captured our attention. Judging from the amount of ema, Yasui Konpiragu should be considered a very popular Shinto shrine. We exited the shrine complex through a side torii gateway into a residential lane, and soon found ourselves just steps away from the perimeter wall of Kenninji Temple (建仁寺). Before entering this oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, we stopped by a soba restaurant next to the temple entrance for a quick lunch.
Outside of Kiyomizu-dera, visitors including us began to walk down Matsubara Dori (松原通) towards the city.
Senbei, Japanese rice crackers, with seaweed spices ordered from Terakoya Honpo (寺子屋本舗), a chain snack shop.
On Yasaka Dori (八坂通), there were quite people dressed in traditional kimono and posed for photos.
A grapefruit tree below the Yasaka-no-to Pagoda of Hokanji Temple (法観寺 八坂の塔).
Near Yasaka-no-to Pagoda, we passed by Yasaka Koshindo (八坂庚申堂), a small Koshin (庚申) temple.
Walking down Yasaka Dori looking for %Arabica Coffee. Whenever we turned around the Yasaka-no-to Pagoda just dominated the vista.
Three customers sat on a bench in front of %Arabica Coffee Shop.
Front counter of %Arabica Coffee Shop in Higashiyama.
Coffee beans stored behind glass cabinets against the long wall in the coffee shop.
Coffee roasting machine at the back of the shop.
Two cups of Hand drip coffee!
A long queue for the opportunity to crawl through the hole of “Power Stone Monument” at Yasui Konpiragu (安井金比羅宮).
A young woman crawling through the “Power Stone Monument”.
A young woman worshiping at the main shrine.
A rack fully filled with ema (絵馬) wooden plaques
The Side Entrance and torii gate of Yasui Konpiragu (安井金比羅宮).
Interior of the soba restaurant.
Soba with tempura
Soba with fresh tofu skin in thick broth
Our posts on 2016 Kyoto and Nara:
OUR FIRST KYOTO STORY, Japan
DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: RYOANJI TEMPLE (龍安寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NINNAJI TEMPLE (仁和寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KINKAKUJI TEMPLE (金閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KITANO TENMANGU SHRINE (北野天満宮), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NIGHT AT KIYOMIZU-DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: MORNING STROLL IN SOUTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA to KENNINJI, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: ○△□ and Chouontei Garden and Ceiling of Twin Dragons, KENNINJI TEMPLE (建仁寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: SFERA BUILDING (スフェラ・ビル), SHIRKAWA GION (祇園白川), KAMO RIVER (鴨川) & DOWNTOWN, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: YAKITORI HITOMI (炭焼創彩鳥家 人見), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: MORNING IN NORTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (北東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: NANZENJI (南禅寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: PHILOSOPHER’S PATH (哲学の道), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: HONENIN (法然院), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: GINKAKUJI (銀閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: CRAB AND SAKE, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 4: HORYUJI (法隆寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: TODAIJI TEMPLE (東大寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KASUGA TAISHA (春日大社), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KOFUKUJI (興福寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: NAKAGAWA MASASHICHI SHOTEN (中川政七商店 遊中川), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: RAMEN & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 1, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 2, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 5: FAREWELL KYOTO, Kyoto, Japan