Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 16, 2010 Daimonji Day

We walked around Kyoto to get our bearings some more today. We had lunch at an Italian place (we can’t seem to escape from Italian food here). We looked at artisan shops and marvelled at the crafts. We went back to the hotel to rest and do laundry.

We walked around by the Kamo river area looking for somewhere to eat. We had an eight course dinner at a little Japanese restaurant close to the river down a little alley. It was delicious and included such items as sashimi, tempura including potatoes, a variation of hamburger without the bun, pork salad, seafood, and green tea ice cream.

It just so happened that we were in town on August 16th, which is the day when the dead are guided away, and there are bonfires lit on the hills around Kyoto in the shape of various Japanese characters including Dai (which means power) to guide them. Dai was directly across the river and we saw this as we walked onto the bridge after dinner. We also saw another character looking down the river. We walked around and took in the crowds (many in kimonos because it is a sacred festival) and listened to traditional music at a square. We saw some firecrackers. There was no shoving or public drunkenness and we felt very safe in the crowd. It was such a pleasant change from celebrations back home.  We went back to the hotel.
Fancy dinner

Can't make out the fire on the hill very well in this picture

Girls lighting sparklers

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