Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July! Culture in Kyoto today!!

Today was a very busy day! We ventured out on our own this morning and visited three temples near our hotel. It was so strange to see such historic places in the midst of such a busy, modern city! The architecture was spectacular! One was considered to be the largest wooden building in the world. We got to witness a Buddhist monk performing a ceremony. Kind of like a church service where we come from! We had to take our shoes off before entering any of the buildings. I forgot my socks but luckily, bare feet were OK! It was really warm and humid today. A lot like home! Later, we did our "Kyoto Special Night" tour and it was really neat! We had our own taxi ride to the historic Gion District, famous for it's tea houses and geishas. We were taken to a tea house, which was really tiny. We learned about how a proper tea ceremony is done, then had a traditional tempura dinner of veggies, rice, miso soup, kelp, and tofu! All with chopsticks! Sounds icky but it was quite tasty. Lots of green tea to wash it down. Then we were led down the narrow streets to the theatre to see traditional performances of Japan. We saw geishas, a comedy play, bunraku (puppet theater), and weird Japanese music. The taxi took us back to our hotel and we called it a day! Lots of fun!

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