We spent the day of the Gion festival with Rick, who was a knowledgeable, well-informed guide to some well-chosen spots around the city. We started off wanting to see the famous parade of "floats," actually rolling carriages with drummers, musicians, and community members. Rick figured out a strategy of going to several spots along the route where we would have the best viewing opportunities, which worked out quite well. He was also flexible in adjusting the path when we decided to change the route once. Along the way, he led us through a historic district between the river and the canal which included part of the entertainment district; we saw the theatre where geiko and maiko perform, quaint little streets, and numerous young people hurrying through the streets in traditional clothing. Down the street from our last viewing spot, Rick led us to a wonderful little restaurant -- best we found in all of Japan -- with a traditional design and wonderful traditional food. After lunch, we visited Nanzen-ji Temple, which Rick had selected from a number of possible historical spots; this turned out to be both beautiful and historically interesting, one of the earliest Zen Buddhist temples in Japan. Then Rick walked us through the Gion district and took us back to our hotel at the end of a long day. All in all, Rick was an an excellent guide, made thoughtful and well-informed choices about our day, spoke good and very understandable English, and showed much concern for our goals and comfort throughout the day. We very much enjoyed being with him, as his commentary was well-informed and tended to be focused on our interests. We would certainly want to work with him again on our next trip to Japan -- whenever that may be.
Dear Peter, Thank you very much for your nice and warm review! I am so glad that you memorized every detail of the tour. It was lucky that we were able to follow the floats of Gion festival with nice timing and also we saw a Maiko walking in Ponto-cho alley. I am also glad that you liked the restaurant and I suppose you enjoyed the buffet of Kyoto vegetables with the main dish. Everything went well thanks for you and your families' cooperation and I really appreciate it. I look forward to seeing you again in Kyoto in near future. Best Regards, Rick