Now I leave the gray urban sprawl that is Osaka. To the northeast, 40 kilometers away, is Kyoto.
From 794 to 1868, Kyoto served as the country’s capital. This is the place to go for a taste of old Japan. Kyoto has more temples and shrines than you can ever hope to visit during a short stay. It is fortunate that a lot of these places have survived in spite of the numerous fires and rebellions in its history. During World War II, the USA was even “nice” enough avoid Kyoto during air raids and bombings.
It’s a pity that I did not see the autumn leaves of Kyoto which should be turning red, yellow, and orange at around this time. But the trade-off is the chance to see two festivals scheduled on one day: Jidai Matsuri and the Kurama Fire Festival. More on these events in the coming days.