We’ve discovered that New Year is a super-busy time to visit Kyoto. It’s the most important festival of the Japanese year. Not for the fireworks – there were no big ones here in Kyoto – but families gather to feast and visit their local temples and shrines to pray for good fortune for the coming year. A lot of attractions and restaurants are closed down, and other places are jam-packed – particularly the significant temples of the city.
We visited a few of the main touristy spots on New Year’s Eve. Some were open, some were closed.
Arashiyama bamboo forest: jam-packed and not much sun to see glinting through the towers of bamboo, but hey, it’s winter and New Year’s! Did I mention the crowd?
My attempt at a photo blocking the crowd:
Photo credit to Blake for this one:
Kinkaju-Ji: the golden pavilion (from many angles) – the sun came out for us and it was beautiful!
Yeah, there was a crowd here too.
We bussed it back to town but the Imperial Palace was closed for New Year’s. Here’s a photo of us outside.
Blake found an old tree in the Imperial Gardens:
And liked this tree too…
We walked to the Kyoto International Manga Museum.
It was closed, but here we are outside the gate.
Oh, well. We’ll have to come back to Japan another time to see what we missed!