Himeji Castle and A Kyoto Geisha Show
The Bullet Train, also known as the Shinkansen, took us from Hiroshima to Kyoto today. There was a strategically scheduled stop in Himeji to see the castle a few blocks from the train station, positioned on top of a hill in the center of the city.
Undamaged during WWII, it has kept the same structure and form for over 400 years. (source)
We only had 50 minute to get there and back so a few photos and some fast walking was a nice little break to stretch our legs along the journey to Kyoto.
Japan is the cleanest country I have seen. I thought to myself earlier this trip that there must be trash fairies picking up trash invisibly around the cities. And how can I get a trash fairy?
Fun fact about Japan: There is a long history of children cleaning their own classrooms and around cities. Our guide noted that it builds character. I noted that you aren’t going to litter if you know you and your friends will have to pick it up later. I caught some teens scraping gum off the city sidewalks in Himeji.
Back on the Bullet Train we arrived in Kyoto quickly. There is a Geisha district in Kyoto called Gion. This is exactly what I thought Japan would look like as I read Memoirs of a Geisha, an excellent book.
It is not that common to see a Geisha just walking down the street. I’m trying very discreetly to snap a photo here
We went to a 90 minute Geisha show where a tea ceremony, Japanese harp performance, flower arrangement demonstration,
comic play, and Gangaku (music and a dance),
Kyomai (a Geisha dance),
and very, very strange puppet play. I loved the Geisha dance and harp playing, the comic play was good too. The flower arrangement was fairly boring but the love story-puppet play so so strange.
If you are in Kyoto, definitely makes some time to come to Gion, the Geisha district of Kyoto. There are many small restaurants to visit before or after the show and soak up some traditional Japanese culture.