Three Year Steep

Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka go by many names. Sannenzaka is often called “the slope of easy childbirth” and I can see why: climbing up and down those stairs with any frequency would strengthen up those core muscles like nobody’s business.

Three Year Steep


Note to the Internet: I have no idea what it takes to have an easy childbirth. However, Ninth Century Japan probably didn’t, either.

Our guides translated the names a little differently, however: Three-Year Steep and Two-Year Steep. That’s how long you’ll have bad luck if you fall down the stairs.

I see it more like that’s how long your back will hurt if you fall.

Traditional Japanese street

This neighborhood of Kyoto has stood here for hundreds of years, and serves as one of the best representations of life in Old Japan, before the influence of the West was felt. The buildings along the street were very carefully restored, the fronts converted into shops with all kinds of interesting things, not the usual tourist fare you see in so many other cities.

Crowded main shopping street

For example: mom found some really cool soap that is the consistency of Jell-o. There were also quite a few bakeries and tea shops handing out samples (good for mom) and restaurants with models of food (good for everybody). We ended up going to an Udon noodle place that was fantastic.

Models of food

Otherwise, Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka can get pretty unbearably crowded if the weather’s good. Our guides knew of a side trip out that made for some fun photo options.


Having come from draught-stricken Southern California, this was a welcome change to lots of green with a sprinkling of fall colors.

sannenzaka-path-2 sannenzaka-path-1

Reminds me a lot of Oregon.

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