Perhaps it was the rain that enhanced the mystical ambiance, but I really enjoyed the gardens and sub temples. The serenity and tranquility of Japanese gardens is so hard to capture in pictures. We sat on the wooden patio listening to the rain, enjoying that moment in time and communing with nature.
Love the stars of moss that cover all the Japanese gardens....reminds me of Miyazaki. My takeaway from all these Japanese gardens is you see how deeply Miyazaki's work is influenced by Japanese nature.
Indeed an amazing sight and lives up to its tourist name. It would've been so much cooler if we could actually enter it though! As we were taking pictures and admiring the building it started pouring, but hey, we got dramatic cloud pictures and saw how the draining of the building worked.
En Tea Ceremony
Would NOT recommend this place to experience a tea ceremony. It cost 2000 yen for a sweet and a cup of matcha that you make yourself. Though it was held in a traditional tatami room, the experience felt like it was pared to the bare minimum and rushed. Traditional matcha doesn't taste good either. In fact, it's quite bitter for tea, which is why it's always served with a sweet to balance out the flavor.
I really liked visiting the shrines at night. Not only can you avoid the crowds of people, they usually have dramatic lighting and great night views, though it may be slightly creepy if you're alone.
Ended the night wandering in Gion hoping to catch a maiko, but failed. It's an interesting neighborhood because it looks like it's taken out of a set of a Japanese period movie and it's filled with drinking establishments and fancy restaurants, yet it's very quiet and very secretive. We tried entering a place hoping to grab a drink and were declined. But that's okay because we ended up finding an izakaya and a friend. All in all, a great way to relax on my first day as a tourist :)