Today we visited the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. From October 31st to November 4th the Palace could be visited without a guided tour and a permit from the Imperial Household Agency. This event is actually called Autumn Festival.
When I visited Kyoto in 2008 I took a guided tour around the palace grounds. It was in English and more or less ok, but it was also quite fast and some of the more interesting topics, that our guide brought up, were not explained in detail – because that was something that shouldn’t be told. I don’t like this: either tell or don’t tell, but don’t make me curious and stop in the middle of telling.
Anyways, today was fun! Before entering, all bags were checked and we got a leaflet, which explained the different buildings shortly. It basically contained all the information, that was given on the tour. For those, who didn’t take a leaflet, signs were put up, which held all explanations in English and Japanese. As today was most probably a holiday, many people used the chance to visit the palace, but the crowds weren’t too large.
After enjoying the residency and especially the large painted panels on display and the large gates, we explored the surrounding park. The park holds the remains of several nobles’ houses, some shrines and – that’s what I liked most – a nature trail complete with a library in the middle of a grove.
In the evening we went on a stroll through gion and saw some maiko/geiko on the streets. I really love the way they dress. It’s absolutely beautiful and I would really like to dress in a kimono like this. I wouldn’t want the make up, as I would most probably mess it up really quickly.