Tokyo is my true love. Kyoto is a temptress.
Walking Kyoto's mundane Japanese city streets, a temple or an old house emerges that gives a glimpse of a thousand years of history. Sitting pondering a sea of stone at Daitoku-temple, listening to the wind and cicadas, I lose track of time. The people walk more slowly, savoring their conversations, stretching out the vowels at the end of sentences.
I was in Kyoto see Yuyake Lamp play at Kibune Shrine up in the hills north of the city. Kibune means something like 'holy boat'--the tale is that a goddess took a boat up a river and left it in the shrine grounds. It's a shrine of engagement, marriage and birth. Somewhere in the grounds are two trees whose branches have joined together, a symbol of marriage.
Yuyake Lamp played on a wooden Noh stage overlooking a creek. Wearing yukata, they performed for an hour with keyboard, flute and cajon. The river's rustle below and the ringing cicadas were a harmony to their songs.