After my adventure to Kiyomizu-dera and zipping back down the steep mountain at dangerous speed on my rental bike from the 9Hours capsule hotel, it was time to appraise my options for the next portion of the day. I stopped at a small kissaten for a cup of coffee and to sit on my phone and research where to go next. It was a lovely break and the small coffee shop was next to a river, providing a serene view by which to sip my caffeine. Once I ventured back out onto the road, I started towards another temple- but grew lost. I asked a jindikushaw (rikshaw) driver if I was heading the right way and he informed me my destination had closed for the day, but suggested my next stop; Heian Jingu!
Back onto my rental bike I hopped, pedaling away happily. Heian Jingu is easy enough to find- you'll know you're close when you see the giant red torii gate looming over the street, making the cars look like wee little toys. After the crowds at Kiyomizu-dera, Heian Jingu was a bit of a respite with a relatively small populace of visitors. This is not to diminish the beauty of the location- it's absolutely beautiful, having been a palace at one point in it's long life. Brilliant red paint gilds it's frame, decorated with ornate gold and green designs. There's a large expanse of open space leading up to the temple itself, providing a sense of isolation and sanctuary despite being deep within the city.
It was well worth visiting, and I was pleasantly surprised to have found it in such an unexpected manner. After exploring the grounds, I wrapped it up and headed back onto the road. I only had so long with the bike and wanted to take in as much as I could before my sojourn was cut short..