Street Safety and Cautions, Kyoto
When I first came to Japan, I didn't really expect to see too many English signs. But I was mildly surprised to see most Japanese street signs (in the city) were accompanied with helpful English.
BUT BEWARE - not all English signs are as helpful as they seem! I've come across quite a few misleading signs and I felt it necessary to pass on this warning to fellow travellers.
Please take this warning seriously! It could save your life! (or at least your sanity!)
if you are easily spooked, do not follow the warm sparkled lit up lanterns in a remote jinja midst the woods, on the mountains at night...the celebration of the spirits is on all night...and only the most corageous ones are invited...
So not a danger, but just a warning. If you have seen the brochures of Japan the certainly don't show you this. Telephone and electricity supply wires are absolutely everywhere in Japan along the streets. Fortunately around the temples they seem to have kept them away.
Taxi drivers, bicycle riders, little old ladies... roads in Kyoto are very narrow, footpaths often non-existent. No one walks on the 'left-side', so keep your eyes and ears open and remember- there is no logic to it. If you move to the left, the person riding behind you will most likely move to the left too. If you move to the right, they'll move to the right. Strangely this never happened to me when I was in a "crowded" place like Delhi or Tokyo. Someone exasperated once said about Kyotoiites "They want to make you stop!!!". Sometimes I wonder...
This is by the western side of the Imperial Palace park. A bicycle will pass you (within inches) every few seconds.
As stated before, Japanese bike riders and pedestrains do get a little close to you when you transerse their sidewalks. What I find is that they are really just trying to second guess where you'll be when they intersect you. So pick a line of walking or a path if you will, and stick to it. If you stay on coarse, it doesn't matter whether they are on a bike, walking or pushing a moped, they will adjust to you, and will go around you, and respect you for it. Constantly switch sides will only frustrate them. Move along in a orderly determined manner.