by Nicole Garneau
On our last day in Kyoto, Uncle Kent took us to see Kiyomizu-dera, which is one of Kyoto's "defining sights." We walked up a big hill along a bustling road lined with souvenir shops and food stands. The crowds of tourists were out on this clear sunny day! Kiyomizu-dera has a beautiful wooden platform that overhangs the valley and offers wonderful views of Kyoto from above. We also visited the shrine to Okoninushi-no-mikoto, an ancient diety in charge of love and good marriages; his messenger is a rabbit. Ryan and Nicole tested their love lives by trying to walk with our eyes closed in a straight line between two "blind stones" set 18m apart while saying the names of our loved ones. With a lot of support from our family members, we both made it safely from one stone to the other, thereby proving that love is strongest when supported by family!
We also wandered the shaded paths along the route to Otowa Waterfall, whose waters are said to cure any illness, and admired flowers and greenery along the way. On our way back down the hill we stopped for Ramen and soft serve and then headed back to get on the bullet train to Tokyo.