In the morning, we all went out for a walk. We walked to a place with a suspension bridge, over a cliff and a river, similar to Capilano’s Bridge in Vancouver. On the bridge there were dozens of black dragonflies. I don’t remember every seeing so many at once before! In cities like São Paulo, it is simply impossible to see even one. Then we went to the “koen” (park) of Nara, in another city, listed by UNESCO and very well cared for, with over 1200 sika deer (シカ or 鹿 shika) and several temples. Nara was the capital of Japan before being transferred to Kyoto, located in Nara Province with 370,000 inhabitants.
In the afternoon, we went to another neighboring city, the beautiful Kyoto further west, capital of the province of the same name, known as the city of temples. It has more than two thousand temples, in addition to twenty-four museums, thirty-seven universities, gardens, castles and palaces. It was one of the capitals of Japan for over a thousand years, from 794 A.D. to 1868 AD before being transferred to Tokyo. Population of 1.5 million inhabitants.
As we arrived after four in the afternoon, the castle and the palace were closed. In addition to visiting the palace it is necessary to make a reservation in advance. But it was worth the tour through the outside area, by the beautiful and well-kept garden.
We strolled through the central region and Pontocho Street, a region that bordered the river, with its restaurants with balconies and shops full of Japanese passers-by. There were some girls dressed in kimono for the tourists to photograph, but I didn’t get to see any geisha. Geishas are not prostitutes, the literal translation is an artist, they are women specializing in the art of dance, singing and seduction, although some prostitutes dress like geisha.
Nara and Kyoto are two nice cities and less bustling than Tokyo and Osaka. Both followed the Chinese geomancy model of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang An (present-day Xian).
Japanese in typical costumes.