The next day we went to the Gion district of Kyoto where we stayed at a traditional Japanese inn to celebrate my Mom's birthday. They had a person come in to dress us all up in kimonos. The kimonos were kind of hard to walk in because we only had about a foot of free space inside, but it was still really fun walking around the streets in them. When we got back to the inn, we changed out of our kimonos and had a traditional Japanese dinner in our room, where we ate stuff like fish, batter fried vegetables (tempura), miso soup and fruit. After dinner, we went to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony like the one we had in Hirado, where you eat a 'sweet' before you drink the bitter green tea. We liked doing all of these traditional Japanese things and really like the food here, especially the sashimi (sushi without the rice).
After a good night's sleep on the tatami mats, we went back to our regular hotel in Kyoto. From there, we visited the Uzumasa Toei Movie Village, where they shoot samurai and ninja movies. Everything looked really real and we even got to go behind the scenes of a TV show after they finished the filming. We had a really exciting day at the movie village.
The next day, we went to a temple with trails leading into the hills. These hills were lined with thousands of shrine gates leading up to another temple on top of the hill. It was really cool because every shrine gate was unique. They all were slightly different sizes and shapes, had different decorations, and were different shades of orange. We also went to another temple that day, which was cool because it had trails going through a bamboo forest. The highlight of the day was our last stop at Arasiyama Monkey Park, or as we called it, "Monkey Mountain."
Monkey Mountain was home to about 150 monkeys. Lucky for us, we got there right when the monkeys came down to eat. They were everywhere as we walked along the trail leading up the hill. Once we got to the top, there was a place where you could stop and feed them. All of the baby monkeys came and ate from our hand. It was so cool to see and feed the monkeys.
After one last night in Kyoto, we head for Tokyo, which should be a great place to finish off our time in Japan.