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A Half Lit Fire Festival & A Blazing Sake Trail

Walking Tour, Gion Corner, Sake Galore, Fire Festival, Fabulous Cappucino

sunny -22 °C

It has been a weekend of mixed fortunes; some Kyoto experiences have been supercalafradulisticexpialidocious and two have been less than ideal.

To start with, there was a minor disappointment with the walking tour we took part in. There must have been a mix up because we ended up on a different route than we had first thought, in fact we had no idea where we were throughout the whole tour. The icing on top of a time wasting cake was waiting 40 minutes for the herd to view a temple, only to find out on their return that, that was where the tour concluded.
In all it was a bit of a flop but a nice Sunday stroll. These are our picture highlights from the tour:

The greater disappointment was the Kurama Fire Festival. Billed as one of Kyoto's 'most eccentric' festivals, we had envisaged a concoction of caveman style dancing about fires to heavy drum beats and a bonfire night atmosphere. What we actually saw was some partial nudity and some small torches. It was not worth the cramped uncomfortable train journeys, the extensive police marshalled queuing and being penned in for 1.5 hours just to get a return train. The most eye raising thing of the whole night was how health and safety bereft it seemed with small children carrying flames so close to their heads.

It wasn't all sour grapes this weekend though! Sunday night we went for dinner, drinks and entertainment in Gion. An evening that starts with beer and cake and finishes with a blazing sake trail can never go awry, especially when you sandwich in some good grub, good company and some smashing traditional entertainment.

We went to Gion Corner for a show and watched an hour long performance sampling 7 Japanese arts: Chado (Tea Ceremony), Koto (Japanese Harp), Kado (Flowering Arrangement), Gaku (Court Music), Kyogen (Ancient Comic Play), Kyomai (Kyoto Style Dancing) and Bunraku (Puppet Play). It was a whirlwind of the bizarre and the sublime and captivating in equal measures of both.


We then took to Kyoto's sides streets to have dinner and drinks. Japan has thousands of fantastic, unassuming and quirky little restaurants where you can have delicious food for a very reasonable price. From there, we delved down corners and alleys to find some sake holes for a beverage. We found some brilliant bars and tasted the good, the bad and the damn ugly sake on offer. We also ran into a barmaid called mummy who gave plentiful bar snacks; this is probably because she mistook us asking if she liked sake for offering her an expensive drink- a mistake we were too embarrassed (and in too good a humour) to correct.

Q. What do you do the morning after a blazing sake trail?
A. Go for coffee with a face


Big up to Amy and Brendan from our photos who made our weekend double fabulous!

Posted by Ashton and Emma 05:08 Archived in Japan Tagged kyoto tea ceremony festival fire corner gion kurama

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