I was in Kyoto for really only 1 day with a very specific sites to see. I wanted to see all the major Jodo Shu temples and Bukkyo University. Rick arranged everything with great expertise. He was very astute and knowledgeable about each place. Unfortunately, Bukkyo University was closed because of a once in a lifetime National Holiday called for the enthronement of the new emperor of Japan. Rick arranged to take me to another historical temple that is associated with Jodo Shu but not a part of the denomination now that has a historical antiquities museum. Also, on the walk back to the hotel, he took me on the historical walk through Gion with all the shops and traditional houses. It was AWESOME. I love ume (preserved plum) but in the US only small ume are available and it is difficult to find the juice or a premium wine. Rick took me to a specialized ume store where I could buy what I wanted for a considerable less cost than what I would expect in Tokyo or New York. I felt like a traveler and not a tourist. I felt like I was visiting an old friend and not being led around by a docent with memorized speeches. In my opinion, this is the way to see Kyoto. All the places we visited were very low on crowd size and Rick even read and translated the explanatory signs in the museums for me. Only a local would know all this. Forget the bargain basement tour groups with a bunch of crotchy old Americans complaining about everything. If you are a real traveler or an academic professional, just make a reservation at a temple or an AirBnB and make an arrangement to meet Rick. He can take you anywhere...literally. Next year I will plan a longer stay in Kyoto and more days with Rick.
Dear Kyle, Thank you very much for your heartwarming review! I really appreciate your comments and I am so glad you enjoyed the tour with me feeling that you are a real traveler. Your selection of the temples were so nice and we were able to look around with our pace. Also I am glad you loved the Ume and got a nice package of them. During the tour, I enjoyed talking with you and learned a lot from you. I really look forward to seeing you next year with some more days in Kyoto. Best regards, Rick