Kyoto's Gion district is a strange mashup of modern life and Japanese tradition. There's plenty of first-rate shopping including a series of covered streets that feature hundreds of shops, most populated by local vendors selling a variety of wares.
That's probably to be expected in a modern Japanese city. What isn't expected is the multitude of shrines that are peppered throughout the same area. One of our cab drivers informed us that there are more than 1,700 shrines in Kyoto. Every where you turn in the covered shopping streets you find little alleyways that lead you to shrines. And as you explore those alleyways, you find amazing nooks and crannies that seem completely out of place in a place that is all about capitalism. Somehow, it makes shopping more enjoyable. Here are some photos of the shrines I visited while enjoying a little Japanese shopping.