Photogenic Spots in Kyoto

May 17, 2019

By Hanami Yanagi, Saya Ishida, Tomoka Yamazaki

Recently in Japan, photogenic spots are getting a great deal of attention. Such spots are increasing dramatically. There are many attractive places in Kyoto. Therefore, we would like to introduce a few specially selected locations in Kyoto that are very good for taking photographs. Not only Japanese, but foreign tourists can come to these spots. Tourists enjoy visiting these locations, taking lots of photographs and then upload their favorite images to SNS. We chose three spots to recommend and introduce them here.

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine

Access: 7 minutes’ walk to the east of the Inari Taisha-mae bus stop on the Minami 5 line

Right next to Inari Station on the JR Nara Line (2 stations/5 minutes from Kyoto Station) 5 minutes’ walk to the east of Fushimi-Inari Station on the Keihan Main Line

Business hours: Always open

Closed: No closing days

Admission fee: Free

Also known as “O-inari-san”, the Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine is very famous in Kyoto. In the 1300 years since its establishment, people have gathered here to pray for good harvests, ecomnomic prosperity, the safety of their home and the health of their family. They may pray for many other things as well, such as finding a good partner, safe travels and good scores on examinations. And Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine has recently become famous as a photogenic spot.  There is “Senbon-Torii” in the shrine, or a thousand toriii gates, They are painted bright vermilion.

Senbon-Torii

They are placed next to each other and so form tunnels up the mountain. In the winter, snow accumulate on them, and you can take beautiful pictures that are different from the usual.  Many people enjoy taking pictures there every day, but if you want to take especially good pictures there, we recommend you to go to the shrine in the early morning.

Senbon-Torii in winter

Nanzen-ji

Access: Near to the Kyoto City 5 Bus Stop ‘Nanzenji-Eikando-michi Station’ stop.

Near to Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Continue on foot about 10 minutes to reach Nanzen-ji.

Business hours: 8:40~17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February)

Closed: December 28 to 31

Admission fee: Sanmon Gate and Hojo is 500 yen, Nanzenin is 300 yen, Tenju-an and Konchi-in are 400 yen each.

Nanzen-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan. Emperor Kameyama loved this beautiful place so much that in 1264 he built his detached palace here. The temple is especially beautiful in the autumn because of the many yellow and red maples trees on its grounds.

Nanzenji

We especially recommend “suirokaku”. Suirokaku is near Nanzen-ji. It is an aqueduct that was used to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto in the Meiji-era. During this age Japan was rapidly modernizing and taking in a lot of Western culture. It is said that its design is based on the ancient aqueducts of the Roman age. It is very wonderful scenery and a photogenic spot. Therefore, there are always many people there taking photos, especially in recent years.

Suirokaku

Shouju-in Temple

Access: Near to the ‘Okuyamada station’ stop

Business hours: 9:00~16:00(November 16 to March)8:00~17:00(April to November 15)

Closed: December 26 to January 4

Admission fee:400 yen

The Shoujuin temple was founded in 1291, about 800 years ago. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and fresh green. This temple treats visitor very kindly. Therefore, you can make special memories here.  The most recommend spot within the Shouju-in temple grounds is the window called ‘Inome-mado’.

Inome-mado

It is a heart-shaped window because it is based on the shape of a boar’s eye. Boar is an animal regarded for its ability to expel evil and avert fire hazards. Moreover, it brings happiness. Of course, you can enjoy seeing it. However, we want you to see the heart-shaped pool of light. You can see it between 3:00 to 4:00 pm. You must take a picture it. There are many more beautiful things here. For example, the roof has a beautiful picture. You can feel the artistry of Japan traditions at this temple.

“Photogenic” is buzzword and popular all over the world nowadays.  Kyoto is famous area for photogenic spots.  In fact, there are a lot of spots in Kyoto that we haven’t introduced here.  We want you to go photogenic spots in Kyoto and take good pictures!

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

by Ema Maeda, David Grogan & Tsukasa Ishibashi

About 1250 years ago, Emperor Shotoku built Otagi temple. However, at the beginning of the Heian Period, the temple washed away when the Kamo River flooded. The temple was reestablished by Senkan Naigu, who was a priest of the Tendai sect. At that time, the temple was named Otagi Nenbutsu-ji. At the beginning of 1922, during the Taisho Period, the temple was transferred to its present location in the Saga District from the south of Kenji temple in order to preserve it. The temple is a very old one, and has seen many changes over the centuries.

Otagi Temple has many features, including the gate, guarded by two statues, a main hall, and other buildings. Otagi Temple is a Buddhist structure, and has some features that are typical of that religion.

GATE

Nio-mon is an Edo Period style gate. At this gate, there are Nio guardians that were made in the Kamakura Period.

                         
What are the Nio guardians?
Generally, Nio guardians are perfect with 2 statues. The right one is an Agyo statue, and the left one is an Ungyo statue. “A” means start, and “Un” means the end of something. Nio guardians usually stand at the gate of a temple in the role of gatekeepers.
                          

MAIN HALL

The main hall of this temple is registered as an important cultural property for Japanese style buildings in middle Kamakura period. “Sente kannon” is famous as a talisman which is this temple’s principal image. Kannon is the goddess of Mercy.

FUREAI KANNON HALL

The Bodhisattva of love and mercy, this Kannon is pleased by being touched by people’s hands. Statues of Buddha have been made by people for more than 2000 years, and they have been made by people who are not blind and have been prayed to by people who are also are not blind. This statue is the first one that was made especially for blind people in the world. Therefore, people can touch this with their hands.
 

JIZO HALL

Jizo is a popular deity in the folk belief of the Japanese. He is the patron saint of travelers, children, pregnant women. In this Jizo Hall, there is Hiyoke Jizo which protects Kyoto from fire. Also this is called “Enmei Jizo,” it means prolong the life. People visit this temple for pray their long life.

SANBO-NO-KANE

Originally, the role of ringing the bells in temples was to convey instructions to the monks. An important feature in this temple is that there are 3 bells, and each bell has a mark, one for “Buddha”, another for “Dharma”, and one for “Priest.” These three characters express the important treasures for monks. These bells are smaller than others and the tone is very high and clear.
   
What is Rakan?
Rakans, also called Syakatanzyoubutsu or Arakan, were pupils of Syaka and they spread the teachings of Buddha. Five hundred Rakans got together when Syaka passed away, and there are many temples that have 500 Rakans in Japan, but Otagi Nenbutsu-ji has 1200 Rakans because 100 years after Syaka passed away, an additional 700 Rakans came to this temple and to learn about Buddha. Therefore, there are 1200 Rakans in this temple. The worshippers started to make and dedicate Rakan statues from 1980. Because all of those were made by hand by worshippers, each Rakan has a different face.

Nishimura Koutyou

In 1952, Mr. Nishimura became monk when he was 37 years old and was appointed the chief priest when he was 40 years old. He was graduated from Tokyo Art University and he had a very high level skill as a sculptor. First, he restructured the Buddha in Japan, but after he became the chief priest in Otagin Nenbutsu-ji, he focused on the Buddha in Kyoto. Then he asked for prayers that make “Rakan” and dedicate it. Nowadays the number of Rakan is 1200. Mr. Nishimura made and reconstructed more than 1300 statues of Buddha. The reason why he reconstructed so many Buddhas is that he saw many broken Buddhas in China because of wars. He wanted to do something for Buddha.

Which season is the best?
And what can we see in each season?
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is next to the mountains, therefore this temple shows different faces in each season.

 Spring
→cherry blossoms, maple trees, butterburs, and azaleas
“Rakan Spring Festivval” on the first Sunday in April, from 13:00-15:00.

 Summer
→hydrangea, gardenia and fresh green leaves

 Autumn
→yellow leaves and little cuckoos
“Autumn Festival” on the second Sunday in November, from 13:00-15:00.

 Winter
→snow on the Rakans and camellias
The most recommended season is winter for the tasteful Rakans with snow.

On the 24th of each month, there is a “Buddhist service.”
“Hoyou” people pray that a deceased’s soul may rest in peace. Also the monk gives a sermon.

EVENTS

1. “Saijo Syouhuku Kigan”
This is one of the prayers that people do in their unlucky year. Usually, it is important to be purified at 33 years old for women and 42 years old for men.
2. “Ohatu Senkan”
This event is a newborn baby’s first visit to a shrine. People pray for the baby’s happiness.
3. “Mitsuinana Mairi”
This is a child’s visit to a shrine to celebrate its third/fifth/seventh year. The origin of this event is from the Heian period. In the Heian period, children’s death rate was very high, therefore this event was started in hope for children’s good health and happiness. The reason why it is 3, 5, 7 is people think the odd numbers are auspicious.
4. “Kariteibosatsu”
This is prayer for easy delivery and happy family.
5. Wedding
A couple can hold a wedding ceremony in front of Buddha.

SAGANO MEGURI

If you want to walk around traditional Kyoto, we recommend that starting from Otagi Nenbutsu-ji to Arashiyama.

BASIC INFORMATION

Access: About 5 minutes’ walk from JR Saga Arashiyama Station
Address: 2-5 Fukatani-cho, Sagatoriimoto, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8439 Japan
Telephone: 075-865-1231
E-mail: 1200rakan@otagiji.com
Open: 8:00 to 17:00 (Last entrance is 15 minutes before 17:00)
Admission fee: 300 yen (elementary & junior high school students are free of charge)
Denomination: Tendai
Official website: http://otagiji.com/

Nishijin-ori

by Genki Ueno & Sakoda Shumpei

Japan is home to arguably the most unique cultures in the world, with its unique blend of old
tradition and a technologically advanced society. For many newcomers, it may feel like
walking through a couple of centuries of rich history in only a day. Hence it comes as no
surprise that since a few years ago, Kyoto, the heart of old Japanese tradition, has become
one of the most famous and popular tourist destinations in the world.

Foreigner Appeals: Kimono

Some traditions are still practised in Kyoto today, the most well-known example perhaps
being the fascinating world of the geisha. Geisha often, if not always sport a painted face with
jet black wigs adorned with beautiful accessories, but it is the beautiful traditional item of
clothing known as a “kimono” that they wear that piques the interest of many tourists, as they
flock from around the world to try this special garment. As the number of visitors from foreign
countries has been increasing, producers have been making kimono in “foreigner sizes” to
further appeal to tourists, encouraging them to try this experience. It is only after try wearing it
that they will truly realise its beauty and intricacy. Kimono has a set of complicated rules, and
it is a major task to coordinate all the pieces properly. People usually need help from the shop
assistants, and the process is quite time-consuming, and it is not exactly the most
comfortable thing to wear. As tedious as it may sound, wearing kimono is truly an art, and is
extremely special for anyone who is fortunate to have the experience of wearing one.

The Art of Nishijin

There are many kinds of Kimono; the one chosen for discussion is a woven Obi called
“Nishijin-ori”. Nishijin weaving, the type of weaving used to make these obi, originated in
Kyoto over 1200 years ago. It uses many different types of coloured yarns, which are weaved
into decorative designs. Nishijin-ori is the most sophisticated and treasured Obi in
Japan. Each obi is unique and are known to have spectacular designs, largely due to the fact
that Nishijin weaving employs very tedious and specialised procedures, thus ensuring the
quality of this art form.

As mentioned, the Obi is undoubtedly what represents the craftsmanship of the Nishijin-ori
art. Its threads come in many colors, including gold, and it is glamorously thick and rich, so it
goes without mentioning that they are very heavy as well. Though Nishijin Obi are indeed very
expensive, one is enough to last a lifetime. In recent times, more items of clothing have been
made employing the Nishijin technique, such as neckties. From a large obi to a small key
holder, it is assumed that no matter the size of the item, products from Nishijin-ori are always
impeccably made with remarkable quality. Due to its popularity and unique beauty, Nishijin-ori
also receives many orders from famous designer brands around the world such as Chanel,
Louis Vuitton and Dior to make other products, such as wallets, bookmarks and other
accessories. Known celebrities have also commissioned such items. Products that are made
of Nishijin-ori are great to own and can be enjoyed for a long time — it is rare to find such
timeless beauty.

History and Origin

While Nishijin-ori‘s origin lie in Kyoto, it’s beginnings are specifically linked to the Yasushi
family, who immigrated to Kyoto from China around the 5th to 6th century, and introduced
how to make silk textiles to the local people. By the 8th century, the royal court had created
an official branch to supervise the textile artists, and their production. In other words, this was
a government owned and operated industry. These artists used to live together around
Chouza machi, Kamigyo ku, Kyoto, which later on became a textile city. Between 1467 and
1477, during the Onin war, Kyoto suffered a long period of civil war between the East and the
West, and many artists fled Kyoto. As a result, the whole industry was almost extinguished.
Though the demand for these products dwindled in the 15th century, it regained popularity
soon after the war ended, and the art of weaving began to thrive once again. The textile
industry was revived in the area of Imagawa, Omiya.The growing weaving community
supplied materials for products commissioned by the Imperial Palace and samurai lords. As
these products were almost exclusively commissioned by aristocratic figures, the community
was rewarded generously. This increased productivity, leading to the development and
refining of new procedures to create newer, more intricate designs, such as the use of the
gold brocade and Damask silk that originated in China, during the Ming Dynasty. The literal
translation of “Nishiji” is “the West position”, referring to to the area in which many Kyoto
residents returned home after the war ended, in 1480.

However, the art of Nishijin faced another crisis in 1837, as there was an abrupt stop in trade
due to the unavailability of materials due to crop failures. Kyoto as a whole faced hard times,
and when the new capital of Japan was announced to be Tokyo, this was thought to be the
end of the Nishijin era. Thankfully, the art was brought back to life nearly half a century later,
after the Japanese travelled to Europe and learned new weaving techniques (such as the
Jacquard loom and the flying shuttle), later incorporating them into their own traditional
techniques. By the end of the 19th century, the Nishijin textile trade was well-developed and
possessed technology shared by the Europeans. This also marked the beginning of the use
of machinery in Japanese trade.

Nishijin in the Present and Future

Today, Nishijin weaving is seen more frequently in Japanese ceremonies, most prominently in
traditional Japanese weddings. It can be seen specifically on the bride’s kimono, which have
usually been handed down from many generations. These designs typically range from
scenes of nature, different breeds of birds, and several different types of flowers.
Taking into account its rich history, it is unsurprising that the intricate art of Nishijin weaving
still thrives even to this day. Commissioning or purchasing an item of Nishijin origin is
expensive, and only those of great affluence are able to afford them.

However, the Japanese textile community has dedicated the “Nishijin textile center”, rightfully located in Kyoto, to anyone and everyone who is interested in experiencing the meticulous process of Nishijin
weaving, as well as seeing the spectacular art up close.

Bread Shop Tour in Kyoto

Yuka Yamazaki Riko Adachi, and Taiga Fukushima

Do you know that Kyoto is actually being evaluated that the level of bread is high in the image of Japanese food? Indeed, long-established shops that have continued since the Showa era also have recently been built Bou Lingerie Kyoto’s bakery shop has many exaggerated shops in materials and manufacturing methods. It is a restaurant that never blows hands and makes careful bread making. It is also a harsh food place. However, there are too many tourists who do not know the bread in Kyoto. Therefore, this time we will introduce a baker who also accepted the chef who knows the taste even in the bakery in Kyoto. And we will teach you how to eat delicious bread, charm.

The first shop is Bremen. This bakery is founded in 1977 and is located in Iwakura. Wooden toys are decorated and breads are arranged in a familiar store. For side dishes popular among junior high school students, consider the health of people who eat up to authentic French bread. Some people visit from other prefectures for the sake of bread being made sincerely. And not only bread but also freely available coffee and homemade bread crumbs service. It is a wonderful consideration. Especially recommended among the many breads is the vegetable Focaccia. Bread using eggplants, lotus root, mushrooms and other seasonal vegetables. It is a dish that is satisfactory enough to eat easily and nourish. It is recommended to bake this bread thoroughly in an oven for about 3 minutes and bake until the edge bread becomes savory. It is near from the station Iwakura Hieidentestu so you can easily go.

The second shop is Fiveran. This bakery is founded in 2015 and located in Karasumaoike. The shop is really fashionable space and easy to enter even by one person. Breads are arranged in a familiar store. For side dishes among Housewife groups and kids, consider the sweets. Some people visit from other prefectures for cream bread. This bread can buy 5 for each. Cream bread is really popular bread in this bakery. Cream bread is a rich cream like a pudding cream bread with a texture that melts dough with fluffy. Fiveran has eat in space so you can take a break of around the walk in Kyoto with Delicious coffee. Cream bread is not the only recommended bread here. Mentaiko French bread is also one of the recommended breads. A popular stick type mentaiko, this is not a French but a little baguette size bread is used and it fills in the mentaiko on the surface and it is packed tightly inside this thoroughfare. It is near from the station Karasumaoikae subway so you can easily go.

The third shop is TAMAKITEI. This bakery is founded in 2015 and located in Uji. The shop is really calm down atmosphere space. The store manager has strong commitment. Breads are manage the dough and check all the stages until baking, continue to make it throughout the day in a fresh state. That is the stance of Tamakitei, refusing to open a department store or opening a store in a commercial facility, and not doing any Internet mail order is stunned. The unnaturally processed food has bad aftertaste and it is bunched into the bread or kneaded in, so no matter how much time it took time to spoil the bread itself.

Domestic production in Tama Tatei, Overseas Production (Europe and Canada) We have selected high-quality materials. You can enjoy a lot of bread not many other bakeries, such as bread using bread and fruit using tea which is a specialty of Uji. Japanese chestnut bread is really popular bread in this shop. It is a fabric of hard system, but it is not too hard, the outside is a crunchy texture. The inside is dusty. Excellent compatibility with Japanese chestnut and condensed cream and bread. It is near the Oubakueki JR Uji so you can easy to go.

How about going to a bakery where you can go soon as you get tired of walking in Kyoto sightseeing and meet your stomach and relax? Please find your favorite bread and have fun with coffee and tea.

New Tourist Spot: Shouju-in

by Natsumi Endo and Momoyo Matsuoka

Shouju-in is a temple that is located in Uji-tawara, which is famous for green tea in Kyoto. The place is cooler than Kyoto city because it is at a higher altitude.

Shouju-in’s origin is not clear. Shouju-in was built in Kamakura era (1185-1113). In addition, the principal image in the temple is the Eleven-Headed Kannon. This is a secret statue, so we can see it only once every 50 years. The Eleven-Headed Kannon was made in Muromatchi era (1336-1573), and it escaped burning down from two times of fire in SenGoku era (1476-1603) and Edo era (1603-1867).

Shouju-in has become a famous photo spot among young tourists, because there are many places to take beautiful photos to post on Instagram. One of them is the “Inome-Window” and it is probably the most popular photo spot within the temple. “Inome” is one of the old traditional designs in Japan. “Inome” means heart-shaped in English, and the kanji, or Chinese character, for it is 「猪目」(eyes of a wild boar). Old Japanese thought this heart shape looked like the eyes of a wild boar, so it was named like that. The shape is said to prevent trouble and bring good luck. Through this of heart-shaped window, we can see seasonal views of cherry blossoms in spring, rich green trees in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and a snow scene in winter. You can take nice photos whenever you visit there. In the same room as the Inome-window, 160 paintings of flower and scenes of Japan are painted on the ceiling. The picture designs are of Japanese traditional flowers, Japanese traditional patterns, and maiko. They are really colorful and will make you warm inside.

Not only that, there are some events. While viewing nature, you can experience yoga, sutra copying, and making a Buddhist rosary. If you are interesting in it, I recommend you to make reservation with them at first. You can forget daily life while feeling rich nature.

One of the seasonal events is the display of some 2,000 wind chimes that give a warm welcome to people who visit Shouju-in from July to September. There are various types, colors, and tones of wind-chimes. In back of the wind-chimes is bamboo, so you can enjoy a mixture tones of bamboo and wind-chimes. In this season, you can design your own wind-chime.

In Shoujuin, you can experience not only rich nature but also Japanese culture. In addition, you can enjoy Japanese seasonal things there. Shoujuin is the place you can relax anytime you visit.

Information

Open hour: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission fee: 400 yen (including tea fee)
Address: 149, Kawakami, Okuyamada, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-3601

Also, there are a lot of fascinating things: history of green tea, shrine, nature and important cultural property.

Nagatanisouenseika (Uji-tawara Green Tea)

Uji-tawara town is famous for green tea because the birthplace of the green tea is in Uji-tawara town. In 1738, a man who was called Nagatani Soen found out how to make beautiful green tea. Until he discovered it, Japanese drank tea that looked black, not green. It means he led a big change in tea industry in Japan.

If people go to his house: Nagatanisouenseika, they can know more deeply about green tea history.

Information

Period: fixed days off (people can enter the house only weekend and holiday)
Open hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission fee: 100 yen
Address: Yuyadani, Ujitawatachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-6638

How to get: From Kyoto station, get on JR Nara Line; for Nara, to Uji station. After that, get on Keihan bus; for Kougyodanchi, to Kougyodanchi. From the bus stop, it takes about 30 minutes on foot.

Sarumaru shrine

Enshrined deity of Sarumaru shrine is Sarumaru Daifu. He was a famous tanka poet in the Heian era (794-1185). There are cute ema, a votive tablet used as an offering at a shrine. If people pay 500 yen for ema, they can draw a monkey’s face freely.

Information

Open hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission fee: free.
Address: 44, Makitani, Zenjyoji, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-3782

Zenjo-ji Temple

Zenjo-ji Temple was built by Shonin Heiso in 991. People can be relaxed when viewing a Japanese garden.

When people enter the Zenjo-ji, beautiful Japanese garden and the main building of a temple with a thatched roof that jump into their eyes. Then, people can see dots on the thatched roof. The dots are shell of abalone for driving off bad luck and repelling bard. Also, there is disaster prevention wall at back of main building. There is big wall painting: “Great Nirvana” printed on the wall. Great Nirvana was painted in memory of the Zenjo-ji in commemoration of its 1,000th anniversary. In addition, in this temple’s storehouse, there are the Buddha which was made in Heian (794-1185). These Buddha are important cultural properties.

Information

Open hour: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission fee: 500 yen

Address: 100, Zenjyoji, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto

TEL: 077-488-4450

Ruriko-in

Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are famous sightseeing spots for foreign tourists. Especially, Kyoto is known as a historical prefecture. There is a lot of historical buildings, for example, Kiyomizu-temple, Kinkakuzi-temple, and Ginkakuzi-temple. These days, Ruriko-in is becoming famous for not only foreign tourists but also Japanese people. It wasn’t that long ago that Ruriko-in was virtually unknown. However, some beautiful pictures taken there made it famous.

About Ruriko-in

Ruriko-in is located in Kyoto, at the base of Mt.Hiei, and along the Takano River  of Yase. Yase is located at the upper stream of Mt.Koyasan, This place has been loved by the aristocracy since the Heian Era (794-1192). In the garden, there are some varieties of moss growing. One of them was shining in lazuline; blue color, by the light beam, the temple named “Ruriko-in”. (Ruri means lazuline, ko means light beam, and in means temple.) In addition, Ruri means the Pure Land in Buddhist teaching.

The official name of the building is “Muryo Jusan Komyo-ji”, and it is for the True Pure Land Buddhism. There is a statue of Buddha Amida who gave his left leg to rescue people’s from their actions laid to rest here.

History of Ruriko-in

In the late Edo Era (1780-1867), Gentaro-Tanaka, who was a business person of Kyoto, built his leisure home around there. It is the origin of Ruriko-in. And from Taisho Era (1912-1926) to Showa Era (1926-1989), a big renovation of a tea-ceremony house in the leisure home which size was 792㎡was conducted in 396,000㎡ ground.

Around 1965-1985, a very luxurious  hotel, “KIKAKUTEI” was opening business in that area. It was known as a hidden village, and it was famous for attracting rich people. After that, that area was owned by Keihuku-electric railroad company, and became unoccupied for a while.

In 2005, the empty house was altered into a temple, and became a branch temple of a temple in Gifu-prefecture. Still, the renovation of the building and garden has continued since then. Currently, the grounds are only open in the spring and autumn. Actually, in past days, it was prohibited to enter Ruriko-in in order to preserve the property, but many people want to see there, so the temple permitted visitors in only two seasons.

Ruriko-in’s Highlights

Ruriko-in became well known as a place to see not only beautiful autumn leaves but also maple trees. The most popular place is Shoin, a large pavilion with open sides that overlook the beautiful grounds of this temple. When people get in Shoin, they can see beautiful maple trees which are called Ruri no Niwa: a garden full of trees. The garden is covered with moss. In addition, the floor of the shoin is painted with lacquer, which reflects outside views, so people can see lovely views more than ever. And also, people can drink Green Tea for 800 yen with seeing Ruri no Niwa. On the first floor of the shoin, there is a steam bath: called Yase no Kama-buro, by the way.

Yase no Kama-buro: Kama-buro is the prototype of the Japanese style steam bath. These days, there is a very little Kama-buro in Japan. Tourists can go inside, and they can take a view.

After Shoin, people are shown into Kikakutei: tea room. This tea room was named by Sanjo Sanetomi, who was an influential figure in Meiji Era (1868-1912). The garden in front of the tea room is a type of Chisen Teien : a kind of garden. This type of garden expresses nature: mountains, rivers and ponds. Thisen Teien in front of Kikakutei is called Garyou no Niwa: it express dragon to soar high up into the sky.

Lastly, people can stamp Goshuin on paper by themselves in Ruriko-in. Goshuin is a kind of stamp or mark, which is a proof for the connection with the temples or shrines. Receiving a Goshuin  is something to be grateful for because it is god’s alter ego, so only worshipers get it. If people want to get Ruriko-in’s Goshuin, they can imprint  the stamp and write the day of their visit on it by themselves. The meaning of Goshuin’s kanji is that Buddha always protects us.

Special admission

The period of special admission is March and September. Please check online for the exact dates.
Hours Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission fee: 2,000
No appointment is needed for a visit to Ruriko-in.

Ruriko-in does not offer any discount for purchasing of admission tickets. So, if people go as a group, they will still need to buy a ticket themselves. In addition, please refrain from visiting in large groups with a tour guide, as Ruriko-in has an agreement with neighboring residents about such large groups.

Autumn is the most popular season because of the beautiful autumn leaves. Therefore, many visitors come to Ruriko-in. In this case, there may be a wait of one or even two hours before you can enter the grounds of Ruriko-in.

How to get to Ruriko-in

Ruriko-in
Address: 55, Kamitakanohigashiyama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
TEL: 81-75-781-4001

There is no parking, so it is recommended to use the public transportation.

From Kyoto Station, get on JR Nara Line; for Nara, to Tofukuji Station, and change the train to Keihan Line; for Demachi-yanagi, to Demachi-yanagi Station. After that, get on Eizan Electric Railway; for Yase-Hieizanguchi, to Yasa-Hieizanguchi Station. From the station, it takes about 5 minutes on foot.

From Kawaramachi Station, walk to Gionsijyo Station. It takes about 5 minutes on foot. And get on Keihan Line; for Demachi-yanagi, to Demachi-yanagi Station. Then, get on Eizan Electric Railway; for Yase-Hieizanguchi, to Yasa-Hieizanguchi Station. From the station, it takes about 5 minutes on foot.

If you go to Ruriko-in by private car, the Kyoto Demachi parking is the nearest parking.

And walk to Demachi-yanagi Station. It takes about 5 minutes on foot. From the station, the same way as above.

Orizuru Kaikan

We will introduce Orizuru Kaikan. Have you heard about Orizuru Kaikan? There are some restaurants in Orizuru Kakan, which is something like a small pub village nearby Saiin Station. Orizuru Kaikan is not one, but several pubs next to one another.

First, there is a standing pub which is called is Sai.


This is a style of pub where people can enjoy drink and dishes while standing. Standing style pubs have become less common recently so you can feel and enjoy Japanese classical atmosphere there.
The prices tend to be cheaper than most Japanese pubs, that’s why Sai has been familiar to people who are around Saiin Station for long time.

According to ‘Tabelog’, the average budget for dinner is between one thousand yen and two thousand yen. It means Sai is actually easy on your wallet.These are some pictures of Sai’s meals:

These are typical Japanese style BBQ (which is called ‘yakitori’).
From left, liver, heart and next picture is a shrimp.

All of these dishes are priced at 110 yen. Moreover, you can drink a glass of beer for 380 yen. This is very cheap when you compare it with other typical Japanese Izakaya. For example, Yakitori Ichiban, which is one of a most popular chain yakitorirestaurants in Kyoto. In this restaurant, a glass of beer is priced at 450 yen. How about Torikizoku which is also one of the very famous Yakitori restaurants in Japan. In Torikizoku the price of beer is 280 yen which is actually lower than ‘Sai’ but the price for meals are all 280 yen. It’s little bit higher than ‘Sai’. (Of course it depends on your order but totally the price is very cheap. Anyway what I want to say is that people hardly had an oppotunities that you meet such a nostalgic Japanese pub so you should visit and feel the Japanese classical atmosphere like ‘Sai’ at least once.

Second, please let’s you know about Kashio Saketen.

That is also a standing pub adjoining Orizuru Kaizan, and must provide you with ideal food at reasonable prices. When you visit this shop for the first time, you might think it only organizes traditional or old-fashioned Japanese food because of the appearance of the building. You also might think it is a bit fretful to enter this shop, because it is a tiny shop and often popular and crowded. Once you step inside Kashio Saketen, however, you would fall in love with its unique atmosphere. Almost all materials of this shop are wood so you can feel Japanese wah. The space is not so wide, so it is easy to communicate with clerks and other customers. They are usually very friendly and kind, and sometimes they tell you their favorite food or drinks in the menu, so it is one option to find your favorite ones.

Kashio Saketen is a Japanese pub so needless to say, you can have various Japanese dishes there. In addition, this shop adopts some ways of cooking (such as smoking, low-temperature cooking) and prepares other countries’ dishes (such as curry or pasta) into Japanese food. These efforts make Kashio Saketen so unique and popular among people. Saketenmeans alcohol drinks shop in English, so the assortment of alcoholic drinks is plentiful. They prepare a lot of sake and shochufrom many Japanese prefectures, and beer, wine and Scotch as well. I often visit this shop and to have food and drink some, but I guess there are so many food and drinks in the menu I have never tried. You might be bewildered the first time you visit this shop because of the abundance of menu items, so I recommend you asking clerks’ suggestions.

I promise all food cooked in Kashio Saketen will satisfy. Some favorite ones are odenand chicken liver cooked in low-temperature. Price is cheap rather than normal, so why don’t you choose Kashio Saketen for your dinner?

Third, we want you to know about “HU” which is one of popular Japanese Izakayas, that we cannot enter without reservations, is open as a second shop around Saiin Station of Hankyu-Kyoto line.

The head shop is also located at Saiin. Those, the head shop and a second shop, are nearby. It takes in 5minutes to get to the head shop from the second shop.

There is a strict atmosphere at Orizuru Hall, and “HU” is located on a bottom of Orizuru Hall. These are causes that people who have never been to Orizuru hall and tourists refrain from entering shops in Orizuru Hall.

But, foods are very high quality like the head office, and inexpensive. Drinks are also inexpensive. In other words, all drinks are offered for not more than 500 yen. Food prices range is approximately from 500-900 yen.If you want to have a good time at HU, you need 2,000 yen at least. This is a pretty good price for food and drink at Saiin, because there are a lot of izakaya at Saiin area but others set a more expensive price.

In HU, there are elaborate and unusual dishes different from the the standard menu items, such as potato salad with blue cheese and fried quail. In my opinion, the customer’s curiosity is aroused by the dishes and I want to try all foods.

HU is often filled with people, so it is best to go there as soon as HU opens. Incidentally, HU is open from 19:00 to 23:00.

Finally, there some other good restaurant in Orizuru Kaikan, so it is worth to visit there. When you go to Saiin Station, why don’t you enter that such a great Sake Villege.

The temple people want to visit over and over again: Suzumushi-dera

by Natsumi Endo and Momoyo Matsuoka

Why it is called Suzumushi temple?

In this temple, people can listen to the sound of bell crickets, not only in autumn but also all the year round. So this temple is called Suzumushi-dera, but the original name is Myotokuzan Kegon-ji Temple.

Kegon-ji temple was opened by Houtanshonin to revive the Myotoku sect of Buddhism in the Edo era (1608-1868). At present, this temple belongs to the Rinzai sect.

There is Jizo Bosatsu in this temple, so lot of people come to this temple to pray for good luck, good match, success in school enrollment and so on. Jizo is one of the most popular Buddhist deities in Japan. It is said that Jizo heals people.

Suzumushi temple was built in a place that is surrounded by beautiful nature and this temple has the circuit style garden, so people can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the seasons. The garden has Japanese apricot trees and cherry blossoms in the spring, fresh green in the summer, colorful leaves in the autumn, and fantastic snow views in the winter. People can also enjoy a beautiful view of Kyoto city from this temple because it is built in beautiful nature of a mountain.

What are the charms of Suzumushi temple

When you arrive in front of the temple in the autumn season, you will see long stairs and a lot of beautiful red coral leaves. A lot of beautiful leaves on trees arch over the steps. At the top of the stairs, you pay 500 yen and you can enter. When you enter the room, you can hear the beautiful chirping of many bell crickets (in Japanese, suzumushi). It sounds like many suzumushi are saying “welcome” to you. In the autumn, there are about 3500 suzumushi in that temple. Sometimes they have more than 7000 crickets in other seasons. Inside the room, you can get blessed teachings from the chief priest. While listening to his teachings, you can relax and you will forget daily stress. He told us how to live in modern society, and about Jizo. You will see this famous jizo as soon as you go up 80 steps. In this temple, there is a Jizo which wears straw sandals at the top of stairs. The chief priest said that this Jizo can walk for each person and to grant their wish so that it wears the straw sandals. People make one wish and pray within themselves with a yellow lucky charm. The yellow charm is sold next to the main building of a temple. People can buy this for 300yen. The charm says “Kouhuku Omamori” (幸福御守) or “lucky charm.” When people pray, they place their hands together, then people have to be careful to show the kanji or Chinese characters 幸福, and they should not forget to say their address. After that, you keep the charm always with you. Moreover, if your wish will come true, you have to come this temple and tell the Jizo “thank you.” That is why this temple has a lot of repeat visitors.

From Kyoto station, you can easily get a number 28 bus bound for Arashiyama, and get off at Matsuo-taisha Shrine. Then you walk about 15 minutes to get to Suzumushi temple. A visit takes about one hour, but you can enjoy the streets of Kyoto. When you go there from Shijo-Karasuma, you can also get bus 73, which is bound for Suzumushi temple. If you have a car, you can park at parking lot with 500yen.

http://www.suzutera.or.jp/introduction/suzumusi.html

Unique Buildings in Kyoto

by Noa Murakami,Masashi Morishita and Kaho Imamura

Where can you find ancient Japan? Most people will say it is Kyoto. Indeed, the cityscape of Kyoto is very old-fashioned and is famous worldwide. There are many historic buildings in Kyoto. Buildings have strict regulations to protect their traditional feel. in order to protect them and maintain the traditional atmosphere of the cityscape, the shape, color, and appearance of buildings in Kyoto are highly restricted.

History of Kyoto City

During the Nara period (710-794) the capital city was placed in Kyoto. We call the next era when the capital was changed to Kyoto the Heian period. Kana letters, yamato pictures and stories became popular in the Heian period. Many of the structures built in that era were houses with gardens. Also, the famous Byodo-in Temple, Chuson-ji Temple, and Konjiki-do were built. The original culture of ancient Japan was called kokufu culture. Kokufu were the capitals of the historical provinces of Japan. Since Kyoto was the capital during the Heian period, and many of its buildings were preserved, it now offers visitors a historic cityscape from over 1,300 years. Foreigners like the old cityscape of Kyoto.

Currently Kyoto is working to maintain this historic atmosphere of the cityscape. In January 2006, Kyoto City decided on the maximum height limit allowed for buildings in each area of the city. Currently many tourists – both domestic and foreign – come to Kyoto for sightseeing. And it is people’s desire to maintain its old-fashioned landscape that makes Kyoto such a special place.

Keikanho – Landscape Laws

Keikanho are Japanese laws designed to create and maintain a pleasant scenery in Japanese cities and rural areas. The goals of keikanho is to develop beautiful and stately land, to create rich and comfortable circumstances of life, to improve the economy, and finally to contribute to the development of communal society in Japan. The original keikanho were made in order to protect the loss of tradition because a lot of modern houses, buildings and factories were being built that did not have any relation to tradtional Japanese culture. This caused degradation of tradition and local characteristics, which disturbed the harmony between the townscape and the natural landscape. Therefore, keikanho was put forth in June of 2004 and actually became an enforceable law by June 1st, 2005. As a result, the Japanese government has been able to regulate the way buildings are designed and how they look, including shape, size, materials, and color. In fact, Kyoto now has the strictest keikanho regulations in all of Japan. In this way, the scenery of Kyoto has been protected.

Examples of Keikanho in Action

There are many ways that keikanho have affected the way buildings look in Kyoto. For example, in the famous Gion shopping street, the design of all the signboards of stores in the area are unified, creating a traditional atmosphere.

Another example is post office boxes. Everyone knows that post office boxes in Japan are red and shaped like a square box. However, in Kyoto there are still old post office boxes in the form of cylinders. These can be found on Hanamikoji-dori street in Gion, for example.

There is also an AED box that is so unique, few have ever seen one. The meaning of this kanji is “be careful about fire”.

Also, convenience stores often use different colors in Kyoto than what is the norm in other cities in Japan. For example, Lawson is usually blue, but there are some Kyoto-based branches that use brown.

This same phenomenon can also be found in Kyoto-based restaurants, like McDonald’s, Nagasaki Champon, Freshness Burger, and so on. When compared with their counterparts in other Japanese cities, they are different in Kyoto from the color you usually see. The signboards of all these shops are brown. This is one way to protect the landscape in Kyoto.

Unique Buildings in Kyoto

One unique building with an interesting appearance in Kyoto is an okonomiyaki shop called Issen Yoshoku, which is near Gion-Shijo Station. The name of this shop means ‘Western food’, but its appearance looks traditionally Japanese. Once you enter the restaurant, you can see many wooden plaques on the wall, called ema. Japanese people write their hopes and wishes on the boards and typically hang them in shrines for the Gods to receive. It is very beautiful, so you should go and see it.

Like most major cities in the world, you don’t need to look far to find a Starbucks. And as you might imagine, some of the Starbucks cafes in Kyoto have unique appearances. For example, there is one near Kawaramachi Station in an old wooden building of Kyoto. And not only do they sell items from their normal menu, but they also offer powdered green tea, which is popular with customers. Once inside, you may look at the beautiful courtyard. And one of the highlights of this Starbucks is that they have a tatami room. So you can drink your coffee or tea on a Japanese traditional tatami mat. This is the only Starbucks in the world where you can do this. Therefore, a lot of foreign tourists come here every day.

Conclusion

You can see a lot of old-fashioned, traditional buildings just by strolling around Kyoto on foot. You can meet a lot of people wearing kimonos as well. Kyoto is a fun city with old-fashioned shopping streets and shops. Kyoto is both lively and refined at the same time. Foreign tourists can enjoy the strange landscape. It is a calm space for us Japanese. Kyoto is a town in which you will never get bored. When entering one alley, it may be like a totally different world for you. Everyone, please try walking around Kyoto city.

Access

Issen Yoshoku

You can go to Issen Yoshoku about 3 minutes on foot from Keihan line Gion-shijo stati

〒605-0073

Adress:238 Gion-cho kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan.

TEL:075-533-0001

FAX:075-531-6511

Opening hours:Monday to Friday AM11:00-AM3:00

Weekends and holiday AM10:30-PM10:00

HP: http://www.issen-yosyoku.co.jp/

Starbucks in Ninenzaka Yasaka-Chayaten

You can go to Starbucks in Ninenzaka yasaka-chayaten about 18 minutes on foot from Keihan line Gion shijo station exit1.

If you use the bus, you get off bus at Higashiyama-yasui and can go to the shop about 10 minutes on foot.

〒605-0826

Adress:349 Shimogawara-Higashiirumasuya-cho, Minamimon-dori, Kodaiji,

Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan.

TEL:075-532-0601

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday AM8:00-PM8:00

HP: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/store/search/detail.php?id=1476

Zuikougama – A Pottery Shop

by Saki Hirota & Mai taniguchi

The Zuikou kiln is a place in eastern Kyoto where visitors can go to experience making kiyomizuyaki, which is the style of pottery made in the area on the east side of the city called Gojozaka, near the famous Kiyomizu Temple. Kiyomizuyaki is a type of kyoyaki, which is a general term for pottery made in the Kyoto city area. The history of kyoyaki is very old.

It said that pottery creation in the Kyoto region began in the Kofun period (300~538 AD). In Muromachi period (1336~1573), color painted pottery began to make its appearance. Later, in the early part of Edo period (1603~1868), a man named Ninsei Nonomura lived. He is known now as the father of kiyomizuyaki, as he gave birth to the style that we know today. In 1771, the Rokubei kiln was established by the Rokubei clan, a well-known family of ceramists with over 240 years of history. Later, one of the members of the Rokubei family started a new branch called the Tsuchitani kiln, which was headed by Tsuchitani Zuiko, who was born in 1867. This was the start of the Zuiko kiln.

About the Zuiko Kiln

The Zuiko kiln is worth a visit for anyone wanting to experience Japanese culture, especially if they appreciate pottery. There are a number of advantages to visiting the kiln.

First, it is located in one of the main tourist areas of Kyoto, in the area surrounding the famous Kiyomizu Temple. The kiln is only 7 minutes on foot from Kiyomizu Temple and a 10-minute walk from the famous Yasaka Shrine. The area is not far from Kyoto station either, making it convenient for visitors. So, in addition to visiting the kiln to experience pottery making and see an impressive gallery of kiyomizuyaki, but tourists can also enjoy a very easy and comfortable walk around the area.

Also, Zuiko kiln offers a great service to visitors. For example, to better experience making kiyomizuyaki, visitors can borrow work clothes, which give them the feeling of being a true craftsman. And along the way, they are free to take a photos with their smartphones to share with their friends. The kiln’s staff is also very helpful, and they can communicate in English, which many foreign visitors appreciate.

Finally, the quality of the pottery visitors can make at Zuiko kiln is excellent. Not only is it easy to do, but the result is pottery that is thin, light, beautiful, and most of all: unique. The process visitors experience is the same one that authentic craftsmen of kiyomizuyaki carry out. This not only makes visitors happy, but they can take away a piece of pottery that can make someone or something appear more beautiful, such as a dining table. Also, Kiyomizuyaki can be made with many different colors, such as pearl, lemon, candy, turquoise, and bronze. These colors are very cute, so visitors can enjoy them.

Making Kiyomizuyaki

The Zuiko kiln offers three different plans to visitors who want to experience making kiyomizuyaki.

Light Plan

This is the shortest and cheapest of the three plans. It costs 1,900 yen + tax and only takes 20 minutes to complete. It allows visitors to make their very own cup in the kiyomizu style. They can also choose their own color, such as pearl, lemon, or candy.

Standard Plan

This is the most popular plan amongst visitors. It costs 2,900 yen + tax, and takes about 40 minutes to complete. However, if visitors plan ahead and make a reservation on the website before they arrive, they can receive a discount. Once underway, visitors can make their favorite size and shape of the pottery they make. They can also choose their favorite color from all the colors in the shop.

Zuiko Plan

This is the most expensive and time-consuming plan that Zuiko kiln offers. It costs 4,900 yen + tax and takes 60 minutes to complete. Alhough the price is a little high, this is a very special plan because visitors can choose to make 2 different types of kiyomizuyaki in their own shape and color.

Regardless of the plan, if visitors do not feel like carrying the pottery away when they leave, they can opt to have the product sent to their home in the mail. Of course, there is an extra charge for this.

Our Experience

We decided to try this kiyomizuyaki-making experience at Zuiko kiln. First, we received an explanation of contents of the workshop and the fee. Before we began, we were allowed to look at many different examples of finished pottery, to give us some ideas on what we could make. We chose Standard plan. Then it was time to start making our own pottery. We were able to choose any shape we liked. We chose a bowl and a cup. And whenever we needed help, the friendly and knowledgeable staff was there to help us. Once we were done, we then could choose one design from many different samples. From there, the craftsman drew the design onto our freshly made piece. In this time we chose flowers design. After that, all we needed to do was wait for it to bake it the oven. The pottery will send our house during one month. After we experienced, we can did in a nearby cafe. Once it was complete.

Access

Yasakakamimachi 385-5, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0827

TEL: 075-744-6644

Open Hours

10:00 – 17:00

*Last Entry 16:30 (Light Plan) 16:00 (others)

Holidays

Open all seasons

Reservations

kyozuiko@gmail.com

By Email: please give us your

1) Lesson of your choice

2) Date

3) Time

4) Number of Participants