Kyoto Tourist: Shimogamo Jinja

Years ago when I first came to Japan, I was taken to an American-style diner somewhere in Kyoto.  I had forgotten all about it until last week, so I did a quick search and found the website for Speak Easy.  While chatting with B and searching for it on the map, he pointed out that it was in the same area as Shimogamo Jinja, one of the major shrines in the city. So I decided that I would pay it a visit.   But that's getting ahead of myself...let's start with the diner!

It's stupidly easy to get to Speak Easy.   Take the Keihan line to the last stop, Demachiyanagi station and change to the Eizan Line.  Hop on the cute little train, and get off at the fourth stop, Shugakuin.  When you exit the station, turn left, and left again and you'll see it.  It's not much to look at, but sometimes the best places are the worst looking!

There are only 8 tables inside.  I got lucky and snagged the last available table, so it seems to be a popular little place!  There was a mix of Japanese families and foreigners.  (I guiltily enjoyed eavesdropping on the foreigners' conversations!!)  They have an English menu, but the staff didn't let on that they spoke any.  Still, it's foreigner-friendly enough!  The decor is quirky and eclectic, and they have a TV showing English news in the background.

Speak Easy serves breakfast all day, so I opted for breakfast #6: 2 eggs, hashbrowns, choice of meat (I got bacon), pancakes and coffee.  It took a while to get my food, but the waitress had warned me, so I didn't mind.  The food wasn't much to look at (neither were my pictures), and while it tasted fine, it wasn't much to write home about (but here I am blogging about it!!).  It was more the fact that I could get an American-style breakfast and bottomless cup of coffee that attracted me!!  The burgers looked pretty good (and let's face it, I am always on the look out for a decent burger) so I'll have to give Speak Easy another chance sometime.

Having been fed, I worked my way back to Demachiyanagi station, to walk to Shimogamo Jinja. It is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and a world heritage site.  To access the shrine, you can either take a quiet residential road, or do what I did and follow the river for a bit before crossing over to the shrine.

Check out the ticket gate at Shugakuin Station!!

Ok, back on track. Walking this was takes a bit longer, but is nicer if you ask me

A self portrait!

Walk through the Tadasu no's quiet, and the 600+ year old trees provide a welcome relief from the hot sun (although it wasn't so hot when I visited - very pleasant.)

I took a few minutes to pop in to one of the little sub-shrines...

 The shrine is free, although there is a museum you can pay ¥500 to go into...I did not.  This was my first time visiting Shimogamo jinja, and it was worth the visit.  It was really nice to go someplace new after re-visiting lots of places I have been to before.

I saw at least 3 weddings going on in the short time I was made me wonder how many people got married at Shimogamo Jinja that day!!

After a leisurely stroll through the shrine, I made my way back to the busier center of Kyoto.  I treated myself to a hot chocolate since it was cooling down quickly, and strolled down the Kamogawa, then back up through Ponto cho...yes, aimlessly going out of my way!  It was a pleasant walk though, one that I haven't done for a while.

I do love 3 day weekends.  There is one more to come before Christmas holidays, so that's something to look forward to!

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