Day 5 (December 25th, 2014)
After breakfast we walked aroud to explore Kyōto. Our destination was the castle, which was closed yesterday. The contrast between tradition and modernity is also interesting here: Beside rows of houses with skyscrapers there are smaller alleys with 2-storey wooden houses and also small gardens with shrines.
What at first seems strange in such a high-tech nation like Japan is the extensive installation of power and telephone lines overhead, something that is otherwise more familiar in less developed countries. However, this is due to the country’s location in a very active earthquake region. Cables laid in the ground would not survive a stronger earthquake.
The imperial palace “Nijo-jo” is very impressive and again located in an artistically designed garden. The trees are all very accurately pruned, everything is very well cared for, the gravel is raked, there is no leaf anywhere on the ground. All over the garden you can see gardeners at work. This is in complete contrast to our home garden, which is more, shall we say, natural.
Compared to the elaborately designed garden and the exterior cladding, however, the interior decoration of palaces in Japan is rather sparse. This very well explains the fact that the Japanese tourists are so fascinated by the European castles.
Many young women walk in kimonos through the alleys of Kyōto. Our daughters also wanted to try a kimono on here. This is available in several shops in Kyōto. In the shops you are wrapped in a kimono, you can wear it for a few hours and walk around in the historical centre of Kyōto. It takes a long time to put this garment on, you are tied up in several layers, you can hardly breathe and can only move around tripping. But it looks so nice…
Afterwards we went for a walk through Kyōto with the two blond geishas. The Japanese were very enthusiastic about the two of them. A group of young Japanese girls asked if they could do a selfie with them. Below are some more impressions from Kyōto: