First lady Michelle Obama wrapped up her visit to Japan Friday with a taste of traditional culture in Kyoto.
Mrs Obama visited Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple founded in 780 on a forested hill overlooking the city, and viewed a Noh performance by local college students. The classical Japanese musical drama employs elaborate costumes and stylized masks to symbolize roles of women, ghosts and other characters.
Kiyomizu-dera is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Kyoto’s most famous vistas. Mrs Obama also visited the 1,300-year-old Fushimi Inari shrine, a place of worship for Japan’s other major religion, Shinto. There are 30,000 such shrines in Japan that venerate the guardian god of abundant harvests, prosperity and family safety.
Students staged a performance of taiko drumming at the shrine with Mrs Obama.
This is Mrs Obama’s first visit to Japan, as she did not accompany the president on his state visit last year. The visit is seen partly as a way of making up for her absence then, and as a sign of closeness between the close allies.