The 405 can be as monstrous as any CGI creature. As one of America's busiest roads, it offers drivers a steady diet of bumper to bumper frustration complimented by sizzling back-of-the-hand sunburns. How best to deal with the snake that ate San Fernando? Get off the road and take in a few attractions.
Because Los Angeles is so densely settled and Downtown L.A. can be downright unappealing, finding a major attraction convenient to the highway -- convenient enough to justify the detour to the rest of the family, anyway -- can be a bit difficult. But if you are willing to take a risk on some secondary and tertiary local attractions, you might find yourself charmed by a little SoCal weirdness.
As it turns out, you can wander the heavens, the skies and the gardens of Kyoto without wandering too far off the 405.