Heian Jingu Shrine
by Nicole Garneau
For Thursday night dinner in Kyoto, Kumiko and Aria traveled from Tokyo to join in the fun and visit Kumiko's father Kaneda-san. We spent the night in a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) that featured rooms with tatami mats on the floor, communal baths, and yukata (robes) for everyone to wear within the space of the hotel. We slept on beds that were low to the floor. The next morning after a delicious breakfast we visited Kyoto's Heian Jinkgu Shrine.
Heian Shrine dates back just over 100 years to 1895. It was built on the occasion of the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto's establishment as the capital, and is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned Japan from the city. We were impressed with the giant torii gate that marks the approach to the shrine. We were also amused by several groups of school children who interviewed us about the shrine as part of their schoolwork. They spent a lot of time rehearsing what they were going to say to us and jostling around as they worked up the courage to talk to people they had heard speaking English. We were happy to oblige!