We arrived in Kyoto a few days ago and had our first full day two days ago. It happened to be the days of the Gion Festival, one of the most famous is Japan. It was a pretty cool cultural treat!
There were lots of people in different outfits, pulling huge towers with ropes. There were also various other people, playing music on pipes and other stuff.
Better still is a Japanese girl, named 明美 (Akemi), started talking to us and offered to show us a good place to eat (which ultimately ended up being closed) and eventually to show us around town too. It was really great to have a local as a personal guide! We saw a bunch of shrines and got some info about different parts of the city.
Later on, we had some really great Ramen and saw some evening continuations of the parades, where I saw some cool Shogun-y-looking guys on horses, with samurai swords or something.
It was a pretty good day. I will go with her today again to see more of the town, like the Imperial Palace. Tomorrow is Himeji Castle.