Tonight we are sleeping on futons on traditional tatami mats in a ryokan or traditional Japanese inn in Kyoto. Before we return to Tokyo tomorrow Sage Alpert and Christopher Leong share a few of the experiences they’ve had in Kyoto as well as a day trip that half the group took to Nara.
First we hear from Sage:
On Friday, I visited Nara, the first capital of Japan. We went to see the largest wooden building in the world – that housed a giant Buddha statue. While that was amazing, I have to be honest and say that that was not the best part of the trip. In Nara (or at least where we were), there are tame deer EVERYWHERE. You can PET them and FEED them too – just be careful because they bite!! ^_^ Not necessarily on this trip, I would like to go back to Nara someday – I miss it deer-ly already!!
Here are a few other photos taken by Ruth Wilmot, program director, who accompanied the students who chose to take the trip to Nara.
Now Chris Leong’s post:
In the sweltering Japanese summer on a humid day of Kyoto our group happened to see plenty of kimono bearing visitors at the treasured Gold and Silver Pavilions/ Temples of Kyoto. From the simple single colored designs to even elaborate red and gold flowery designs the designs of the kimonos never disappointed me as an artist as the color and pattern choices were all unique in their own way. The designs also varied as they came in either flat colors with flowery or traditional patterns to even the modernistic wash patterns with clean lines that reflect the seasons that their flowers represent. The kimono is worn during special events like festivals or other occasions like the cherry blossom season or the occasional festival or celebration. For instance, during the tea ceremony that our group attended, our host wore a clean simplistic kimono as she served us all warmly during the ceremony. However, in Kyoto it is mostly a tourist attraction to rent one as most Japanese would not usually wear one outside of a festival or special occasion. During our visit to the Golden Pavilion I noticed that a majority of the people wearing the traditional clothes happened to be tourists.