The third week was tightly-packed but at the same time fulfilling and inspiring. There were two highs in this week. One was the Atsuta Matsuri. I can’t remember how many times that I have seen in Japanese movies in which actors, wearing Yukata, watch fireworks at an Omatsuri. The idea of going to a real one made me so happy that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The Atsuta Matsuri was a famous one and there were so many people that I could hardly move into the shrine area, but it was really fun. It was the first time I saw a lot of people, men and women, wearing Yukata at the same time, which was impressive. It was different from what I saw in Kyoto because at least half of the people wearing kimono in Kyoto were tourists. I might think about going to a smaller Omatsuri next time to avoid the crowd, but I definitely loved my first experience going to an Omatsuri.
Another climax of the week was the trip to Kyoto. Visiting Kyoto for the second time reminded me of a lot of old memories but also allowed me to make up some regrets from last time. I paid too much attention to the small souvenir stores out of the temples and didn’t have the chance to really go into them two years ago when first visited Kyoto. I am satisfied to see at least three different temples or shrines each day this time.
My favorite shrine was Fushimi Inari Taisha. Although I didn’t make it to the very top of the mountain, I was already amazed by the thousands of Torii. Reading the engravings on Toriis allowed me to touch upon the history of each one. Some of them were built a long while ago. The more archaic Toriis were made of stone and I could still see the engravings on them.
Kyoto is a fascinating place and I am really looking forward to going back soon. Also, agreeing with Bizz, I do wish the last week to slow down a little bit because I love Japan so much and really don’t want to leave the group.