Good to know.
Red buckets filled with water sit in front of many houses on Kyoto’s narrow streets. Fear of fires, such as those that occur after an earthquake, for example, is especially prevalent in areas with old wooden Machiya townhouses, like Nishijin, the old silk weavers’ district in northern Kyoto. Many people even head to the local shrine to buy tablets offering protection against fire.
If you want to drive in Japan, an international drivers’ license won’t get you very far. Some drivers need a notarised Japanese translation; rules vary depending on your country of origin. Navigating the narrow passageways of Kyoto’s old town is easier on a bicycle anyway; it’s the ideal method of unlocking the secrets of the ancient imperial capital.
The human-animal scrolls in Kozan-ji Temple are considered the earliest manga. The stories run from right to left, which remains the standard today. The Japanese comics have been co-opted by academia: the Kyoto International Manga Museum has 50,000 titles displayed on 200 meters (656 ft) of shelf space, while Seika University in Kyoto offers PhDs in Manga Studies.
The emblem representing the huge Gion Matsuri festival in the Yasaka Shrine resembles the cross-section of a cucumber, and eating the vegetables in July is frowned upon in Kyoto. Instead cucumbers are sacrificed on the fire altar during the Kyuri-Fuji ritual at Renge-ji Temple. Since the cucumber resembles the human body, the July ritual supposedly wards off illness in the summer.