Kyoto's Imperial Palace grounds, the Imperial Park, provides wide open spaces you cannot find elsewhere in this densely built ancient city. Heading to the Park on a Sunday afternoon, I expected crowds of people strolling around, screaming kids enjoying themselves free to roam, and a relaxed festive atmosphere. My expectations were not met. I encountered very few people, and a total of two children. The Palace itself cannot only be accessed by way of a guided tour. It is surrounded by walls on all four sides. Imperial Japanese culture does not appear to equal ostentatious, large scale, monumental displays of power as was the custom at European courts. The interior of the temple that appears in the video is the Rozanji Temple, one of several temples that belonged directly to the Imperial Court.
Finally, on my way out, I found some populated play grounds along the edge of the park. No children, but middle and older aged mostly male individuals playing baseball or boccia. Everything around the park seemed subdued, in marked contrast to the city's super busy shopping streets and never-ending shopping arcades where most of the excitement seems to happen.
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