Gion, Pug Cafe, Fushimi Inari Taisha (again)
The weather was super uncooperative with us on this day!
We went toward Gion and took some time to wander different shrines and temples in the area. It was pouring for most of the morning which made picture taking pretty difficult. We visited Yasaka Shrine which was super cute and decked out in dog motifs for the new year.
We had heard about a special Starbucks located in Gion that is styled like a traditional teahouse, so since we hadn't been to Starbucks in Japan yet, we had to check it out. It was pouring even more at this point, which made navigating difficult, and we honestly would have walked right past the Starbucks if not for Google Maps! At first glance, it’s almost impossible to tell that this building is a Starbucks, as the outside is pretty inconspicuous. The only give away was a small wooden sign with the Starbucks logo on it.
The inside of the coffee shop was so pretty. They have a few small private rooms and also tatami areas where you’ll need to take your shoes off first. Since we were damp from the rain, we just found a regular table to sit at. We both ordered the limited edition drink at the time, which was a Green Tea Mascarpone Fruit Frappuccino, and a Earl Grey Scone. It was nice to get out of the rain for a bit, but also the atmosphere in this Starbucks was so nice.
I wish the weather was more cooperative, because this area of Kyoto is extremely beautiful and we would have liked to explore more of the shops, but it was just too wet out to do so. We'll definitely have to make another trip!
From the Starbucks, we walked to Kiyomizu-dera and, lo and behold, this temple was also under construction (just part of visiting in the off season). The inside was really beautiful, and the grounds were impressive to walk around since the temple is built on a mountainside, but the iconic view of the temple was mostly obscured by the construction, which is why we haven't got any pics of it!
After wandering around for most of the morning, the rain finally started to lighten up, and we headed to our next destination, Pug Cafe Living Room!
We took the train out to Katsura Station and used the directions they provided to find the place. It's a little bit of a walk from the station, but it wasn't raining much by then. Even though it was a weekday afternoon, it was fairly busy, and we had to wait for around 20 minutes to get in. Once we filled out all of the paperwork, they let us into a smaller room at first while we waited for space in the main room. While we waited 2 pug friends came running in to greet us! First Gontaro came to sit with us, followed by Mei-chan. They provide you with snacks and a drink for yourself, and treats to give to the dogs, as well.
There are around 12 pugs and with that many dogs at once it's slightly chaotic, but in the most adorable way possible! All the dogs are friendly and like to make their rounds begging for treats and pets from the visitors.
At one point they handed us a puppy, which apparently makes all the older dogs go absolutely crazy! All the older dogs bark and jump playfully all over you to make sure you’re worthy of holding their baby friend. Whoever is holding the puppy needs to complete the right of passage first! Chakko, the puppy, was adorably confused every time they handed her off to someone else and the pug party moved to their next patron.
No reservations are needed and it cost us about $11 each for the hour, including the snacks and dog treats. Well worth it!
Later that night we went back to Fushimi Inari to get street food and take some pictures of the shrine after dark. It’s beautiful at night, but I definitely would not recommend walking very far up the path, as it is really dark! If you want to though, there's nothing stopping you, as the paths are open 24/7. Evening and early morning are less crowded, so they're great times to get pics and take your time.