Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

March 27, 2020

by Yuki Ifuku and Yumeka Goto

The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art is the one of the most historical buildings and iconic places in Kyoto City. In March 2020; however, it is going to change its name to the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art, and the museum is going to be repaired, and the old building is going to be demolished. This museum is one of the public museums representing Kyoto Prefecture (Kyoto Province), located in Okazaki Park in Kyoto. The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art was the oldest public museum in Japan and this museum represented the imperial crown style. For these reasons, it is very important, and we can feel the history of Kyoto.

The History of The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art opened in 1933; however, it started making building plans to celebrate the enthronement ceremony of the Emperor Showa at the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1928, so it was initially called the Showa Imperial Coronation Art Museum of Kyoto. Then the name was changed to The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art in 1952. It is the second public museum in Japan after the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. This building style was called “imperial crown style”. This eastern and Japanese eclectic architectural style started in Japan in the 1930s. It is identified by established Japanese styles of roofs on top of a Western style of building. The main building remains even after being repaired. This museum also shares as a rental hall, and they built an annex to hold more exhibitions. The main exhibitions are permanent collections, various public exhibitions, and college graduation exhibitions. Also, this museum holds a large-scale exhibition that is organized by a newspaper company. As a museum, it has many collections. For example, there are about 3200 collections mainly from 1868, and thereafter, to the 1990s, of Japanese paintings, Western paintings, and arts and crafts.

The New Museum of Art: The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

 The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art will be renewed and reopened on March 21st, 2020. It was designed by Jun Aoki, an architect and the new museum director. Focusing on modern art of Kyoto, it stores about 3600 different kinds of art such as traditional Japanese paintings, Western paintings, sculptures and traditional crafts. Specifically, there are four significant changes. First, Jun Aoki repaired some of the old parts and sections of the museum. Second, he exhibited a range and diversity of art. Third, he expanded the space for exhibitions. Lastly, there are many other notable points. He also created “Kyocera Square”. This area functions as an exhibition stage; for example, holding various kinds of events. Also, people will now enter the museum through this area. Traditionally, people entered through the main door, but the entrance method will change. Visitors will pass through the new entrance, which is made of glass. The main building was repaired and was left the same as much as possible and the functionality of the facility was updated. Also, Mr. Aoki built a new building to exhibit modern art called the Higashiyama Cube. The museum also has additional facilities; for example, a café called Enfuse and a shop called Art Lab Kyoto. In addition, the number of photographs allowed in the museum will increase and there will be more visitors who are likely to come. Moreover, you will be able to rent an exhibition space in the new museum for parties, workshops and meetings.

Exhibition Schedule in 2020

・「Art of Kyoto, Dream of 250 years」(March 21st –December 6th) ・「RURI NO JYOUDO」in Higashiyama Cube (March 21st-June 14th) ・「The Doraemon Exhibition Kyoto 2020」(July 4th-August 30th) ・「 ANDY WARHOL KYOTO/Andy・Warhol・Kyoto」(September 19th-January 3rd, 2021)

Conclusion

The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art is known as a national gallery that is representative of the Kansai area in Japan, and it has a long history. In the future, it will continue to develop and to change with the times. Recently, even though most students don’t seem to go to this museum, it is worth taking a visit there. Also, the Tokyo Olympics will be held in 2020, and many foreigners will come to Japan, and to Kyoto, so the museum will welcome a growing number of visitors more than ever.

Address of the Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art

124, Okazaki Saishiyou Jichou Saikyou Ku, Kyoto

Access

Train→It takes 8 minutes from the Tozai Subway Line

Bus→ City Bus Routes 5, 100, 110 from Kyoto Station

City Bus Routes 5, 46 from Kyoto Kawaramachi Station

City Bus Route 5 from Sanjo Station

Opening Time:

10:00〜18:00

Closed Days:

Every Monday (Open Holidays)

Year-End and New Year (December 28th to January 2nd)

Admission Fee

Adults: 1500 yen

University/High school students: 1100 yen

Children below Junior high school: free

TEL: 075-761-0444  

Recommended Food Information in Enmachi, Kyoto

by Masashi Morishita, and Noa Murakami

Do you know Enmachi? It is a sightseeing spot in Kyoto. There are many temples and shops there. You can go by train from Kyoto Station in about ten minutes. In particular, we recommend that you eat delicious foods if you go to Enmachi because there are a lot of good restaurants there. We visited a restaurant and a café this time. The first one is a famous ramen restaurant. Ramen is a noodle soup dish that was originally imported from China. The next one is a cafe. It is a curry and pancake cafe. We want to introduce this restaurant and café.

Tantanmen YEBISU

Tantanmen YEBISU

At first, we will explain about ramen. As we said, ramen is a noodle soup dish. It has become one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It’s common to eat it for dinner. You can find ramen restaurants in every corner of Japan and the tastes of countless regional variations. We went to a restaurant called “Tantanmen YEBISU” in Enmachi. In this restaurant, Tantanmen is delicious. Tantanmen is Chinese noodles in spicy soup. It looks red, and it’s hot and spicy food. We actually ate it, and it was very delicious, and you can select the level of hotness (spiciness). Therefore, you can enjoy eating tantanmen even if you are not good at eating hot tasting food. Also, the “cheese tantanmen” is the most popular ramen for woman because it is not hot and even children can eat it. This shop is bright and very comfortable. The staff are very gentle and will welcome you with pleasure. In addition, there are some kind services. For example, it offers its customers paper aprons, hair ties, and soup spoons with small holes. Any customer who wears a white shirt or whose hair is long can enjoy tantamen without getting stains on

tantanmen ramen

themselves by using the paper apron and hair tie. Also, you can eat small ingredients like meat and green onions in tantanmen by using the soup spoon with small holes. The original way of eating ramen in Japan is to make a loud sound

cheese tantanmen ramen

while eating, similar to a slurping sound. You shouldn’t worry about making sounds when eating Asian noodles in Japan because eating loudly (slurping) is a good thing in Japan when eating noodles. It is very surprising. Actually, people will just think you are enjoying your noodle meal! When you eat tantanmen in this restaurant, you can make a loud sound, so let’s eat tantanmen.

Café and Bar, Off Time

front entrance

This café is a hidden café. All of the menu items such as curry, plate lunch, french toast, focaccia and sweets is homemade. In addition, this café has a relaxed atmosphere, so you can avoid the crowds and enjoy a leisurely meal because it located in a calm place. Also, there are a lot of miscellaneous goods, and the interior design is good.

You can enjoy reading Japanese children’s books such as “The Cat That Lived a Million Times” and the “Gama-Kun and Kaeru-Kun” series. And then, the main attraction is the variety of deserts on the menu, and you can enjoy a lot of different cakes every day. The cakes have a soft, spongy texture with a homely and nostalgic taste. It also isn’t too sweet, so even those who don’t like eating sweet things can enjoy them. However, you should visit this cafe early in the morning because the popular cakes sell out quickly.

Also, you can enjoy not only meals and sweets but also tableware like cups, spoons and dishes. They have cute designs and make you excited. In addition, the owner is a kind woman who is loved by customers, and she cooks all the food on the menu by herself. You will have a good time in this café. You should stop by Off Time if you visit Enmachi.

Conclusion

Many famous restaurants are lined up in front of the station in Enmachi, while there are many cheap and delicious hidden restaurants a little far from Enmachi station. Therefore, you will enjoy finding your favorite restaurants while walking around the town in Enmachi. Also, it is easy to search for your favorite restaurants or foods because most restaurants post their restaurant’s information on Instagram or Twitter. Enmachi is not a very famous place in Kyoto and there are few foreign tourists; however, it is a very nice place with good restaurants. Therefore, we hope that a lot of foreign tourists visit Enmachi after reading this article, and we want you to enjoy many restaurants and cafes in Enmachi, especially Tantanmen YEBISU and Café and Bar, Off Time.

Access information

“Tantanmen YEBISU” takes about 2 minutes on foot from Enmachi Station (JR Sanin Line).

TEL: 075-366-6767

Time: 11:00AM-11:00PM (closed on Tuesdays).

“Café and Bar, Off Time” takes about 10 minutes on foot from Enmachi Station (JR Sanin Line).

TEL: 075-801-8108

Café time: 11:00AM-5:00PM (Tuesday-Sunday)

Bar time: 6:00PM-10:30PM (Thursday-Saturday) 6:00PM-9:00PM (Sunday)

Tuesday and Wednesday are only café time (Closed on Mondays)

Maiko

by Arisa Yamauchi, Haruki Ishimoto and Aki Kawashima

Introduction

Maiko

A Maiko is a girl who trains as a Geiko. To become a Maiko, people have to be 14 years old, and they must have Japanese nationality. To train as a Geiko, Maiko have to live in Okiya (see below) and do a lot of hard training on performance and behavior. Maiko is one of the most famous cultures of Kyoto and also one of the oldest Japanese traditions, so we have to have pride in this tradition.

Gion Okiya
an Okiya in Gion, Kyoto, JAPAN

History of Maiko

Tea Room

  Maiko is a girl whose job is to add entertainment at a banquet hall and tea ceremony for the performing arts such as dance. She is also called a geisha’s apprentice who is in the training stage. About 300 years ago, the tea ceremony in a teahouse, which served tea to those who visited Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto during the Edo period (1603-1868), was originated. At first, tea and dumplings were served but eventually sake and other dishes were added. Maiko danced there. Maiko live in a place called Okiya (as mentioned above). It is mainly for living, and they train as a Maiko from a woman trainer. Maiko are usually just 15 or 16 years old, and after graduating from junior high school, the trainer, the “mother”, takes care of their life as their guardian. In 2014, Maiko were registered as an intangible cultural heritage. It is one kind of Japanese culture. There is also a Geiko. A Geiko does the same job as Maiko. However, they differ from Maiko as they are paid money and can live independently. A Maiko has a 20-year old age limit, but a Geiko can last a lifetime.

Daily Schedule

 Maiko usually wake up at 8am every day. They get ready and head for their dance performance to perform at a tea ceremony or banquet hall, to play the shamisen (like a guitar), and have song lessons. Rehearsals are held at the Kaburenjo, which is a type of Maiko school. Recently, the number of foreign tourists visiting Kyoto has increased, so English lessons have been introduced to Maiko so that foreign customers can communicate with them. After their morning lessons, they return to their Okiya and have lunch. In the afternoon, they continue to practice, and on days when there are no lessons, they practice in a bar or relax a little. Then they start preparing for their night job in a teahouse. In the beginning, when Maiko started, their makeup took more than an hour to complete, but nowadays it takes them about 40 minutes. Then they head to their night work where customers are waiting for them. In a tatami room, they perform dances and play games. A tatami is a mat made of straw and is a kind of traditional flooring in Japan. After finishing all their tea ceremonies, they return to their Okiya around 1 o’clock in the morning, and they usually go to bed around 2 o’clock.

Troublesome Behavior for Maiko by Tourists

Gion
Maiko Paparzzi

 Recently, the number of tourists visiting Kyoto is increasing, and they are unable to keep their manners. For example, in Gion, one of the most famous areas in Kyoto, it has a more serious problem. We will talk about the problem the Maiko have in Gion. First, we interviewed a woman who was a Maiko. She experienced nuisances by tourists as well. For instance, they wanted to take photos with her (with Maiko), and then they took her hair pin (a Maiko’s hair pin), and she was late for her job because she was surrounded by a lot of tourists from overseas. Also, the woman told us some more examples. She told us that to stop these kinds of rude behavior, the government made signs, hired security guards and explained manners in Kyoto by handing out pamphlets. However, despite these rules, more and more people are not following them. In addition, some tourists enter private areas. As a result, these kinds of behavior are annoying the Maiko, and the local residents, too. Therefore, it was banned to take photos on private roads in Kyoto. In addition, shooting videos of Gion and Maiko by tourists’ cameras has had a bad influence on the traffic. A plan was proposed to solve this problem. In the southern part of Gion-Cho in the Higashiyama area (the east side of Kyoto), unauthorized photography on private roads is prohibited. It is not legally binding, but you will get a “fine” and if you take a photo on private roads, you will be charged without exception. The bill is written in Japanese, English and Chinese. “No photography on private roads” is written, and for unauthorized photography, you will be charged 10,000 yen (about $100 US). Tourists should know that people (residents) live in Gion, too, so they have to know about this problem; thus, we then hope they enjoy Kyoto sightseeing and enjoy learning about Maiko!

Conclusion

 At first glance, being a Maiko looks like a beautiful job; however, it’s quite a hard occupation. Maiko go back and forth between many tea houses every day. They need to go to each workplace for two hours, so they return home late. Therefore, they get about 5 to 6 hours of sleep each night on average. In addition, it takes a long time in the morning for them to get ready because a newcomer Maiko; for example, can not get dressed up in a kimono (please look at the photo), can not set up their traditional Maiko-Japanese hair style, and can not put on their make up quickly. In addition, due to the increased number of foreign tourists in Kyoto, a lot of tourists chase Maiko and Geiko to take pictures. These situations are becoming a serious problem year by year. In fact, Maiko have a lot of stress because of tourists behavior. For example, tourists speak to them, take unauthorized photos, touch them, and so on. These bad manners have been called, “Maiko Paparazzi (see photo above).” Moreover, we also heard incredible stories about bad manners for Maiko such as some people put cigarettes in Maiko’s sleeves. For these reasons, some tourists behavior is dangerous for Maiko. We want to say that they are not a costume but a human, so we should definitely not bother them. Additionally, we should learn information about Maiko; for instance, that one of Maiko’s manners is they cannot talk while they are walking. So, if you see Maiko on the road, you should not talk to them. This is the reality of the Maiko. According to the Kinki Regional Development Bureau they will send information to tourists via smartphones about the manners to follow about Maiko and Geiko. Additionally, they have decided to install signboards to give a heads-up to tourists about them. We have to protect the Maiko and Geiko and pay attention to them.

Maiko San, Gion, Kyoto / 舞子さん
a Maiko in a kimono in Gion

The Shinsengumi

by Shiori Azuma & Mio Sahashi

What is the Shinsengumi?

Toshizo Hijikata
Bushi

The Shinsengumi was like a police group (1863-1869). They had kept Kyoto safe and protected the general who was Ieyasu Tokugawa. He was a leader of the Tokugawa government, now similar to a president or a prime minister. The group was made by the Tokugawa government in 1863. The Shinsengumi had worked for 6 years. About 200 people who were called Bushi (Bushi had a Japanese sword and were one of the social positions like curt nobles from the 10th century to the 19th century) belonged to the Shinsengumi. At that time, in Japan, there were clearly social positions like police, and the Bushi had higher positions than citizens. The Shinsengumi leader was Isami Kondo, and he was a handsome man. He was killed by the government when he was 35 years old. Even now, he is a famous person in Japan. Toshizo Hijikata was a sub- leader of the Shinsengumi, and he was a very strict person, so many members of the Shinsengumi were afraid of him. He made many rules. For example, if anyone broke his rules, he commanded the people to Seppuku. Seppuku means cutting your stomach open by yourself. This Seppuku system was a kind of death penalty in Japan from 998 to 1873. Now, in Japan, we don’t have a Seppuku system though. So, the main reasons people died was because of Seppuku. In this article we are going to talk about the supervision at Sumiya (a luxury restaurant) by the Shinsengumi and how the Shinsengumi was established at Mibu temple.

Supervision at Sumiya by the Shinsengumi

Sumiya
Inside of Sumiya

Sumiya was a luxury restaurant for curt nobles in Shimabara, Kyoto, and it was open from 1853 to 1985. At that time, Sumiya was a very popular restaurant in Kyoto. People invited Geiko-San (Geiko-San are traditional Japanese women who treat guests with dance or music at a party) to Sumiya and secret meetings were open for important politics. It was close to a military station, which was built to protect people who earned money to shut down the Tokugawa government. Normally, when people went to Sumiya, they needed to leave their sword at the entrance, but the Shinsengumi could take their sword as supervision even inside. When the Shinsengumi fought with someone who behaved rudely, one of the Shinsengumi made a scratch on the wall with their sword on the first floor. Actually, nobody knows who made the scratches on the wall, but some theories remain. One of the theories was made by Serizawa Kamo. He was a member of the Shinsengumi, and he was the first leader of the Shinsengumi before Isami Kondo. He liked to drink alcohol and had a bad habit when he was drunk. That’s why there is a theory that he may have made a scratch on the wall with his sword. The room on the first floor was called, “matsu no ma”. It was the biggest room in Sumiya, but in 1925, part of it burned down. Today, Sumiya is a museum of ‘Omotenashi’. It means to treat customers with hospitality, entertainment and service. Sumiya is open to the public, so we can see the inside and also the sword cuts. The appearance of the restaurant has not changed from before. Not only the appearance, but also the inside is good. In 1952, this building was chosen as an important cultural property in Japan.

A scrach on the wall with a sword

How to get to Sumiya

From Kyoto station, take Kyoto City Bus No.206 and get off at the Shimabara-Guchi stop. You can see it in front of you.

The Shinsengumi was Established at Mibu Temple

Mibu Temple
The grave of Toshizo Hijikata and Isami Kondo
The statue of Isami Kondo

The Shinsengumi was established at Mibu Temple in 1863. Three houses that were close to Mibu Temple became military stations (Yagi House, Maekawa House, and Nanbu House) for the Shinsengumi. In the end of the Edo period (1793-1868), the base of the Shinsengumi was the Yagi House. The Shinsengumi were training about using cannons and skills for protecting themselves and killing enemies inside of Mibu Temple. Because of the Shinsengumi’s training, visitors to Mibu Temple were decreasing at that time. On the other hand, there were good things that happened at Mibu Temple. For example, Soji Okita, who was the first corps leader, was the most famous member of the Shinsengumi even now in Japan, even though he died long ago. He played with children inside Mibu Temple. This was a good thing for the people. In 1863, Kamo Serizawa, who was another member of the Shinsengumi, was killed by Toshizo Hijikata and Soji Okita and more at Yagi House. Kamo Serizawa was a trouble maker, and he had bad behavior due to alcohol. So, he made a lot of problems for people. He was killed after he came back to Yagi House from Sumiya. Also, at Mibu Temple, there is a grave of the eleven members of the Shinsengumi called Mibuzuka. And there is a statue of Isami Kondo (the leader of the Shinsengumi). If you want to see the grave, you can see it, and you can also see two of the military stations (Yagi House and Maekawa House). People who live around Mibu temple now want to protect the military stations. So, they are working hard to keep the temple in good condition for later generations.

How to Get to Mibu Temple

From Kyoto station, take Kyoto City Bus No.26 or No.28 and get off at Mibudera-Michi. It takes 1 to 2 minutes on foot.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Shinsengumi just wanted to protect the Tokugawa government and their general. They also had strong power, but some of them were wrong to use this power. So, some of them were killed by the Shinsengumi. We wrote about 2 places which are connected to the Shinsengumi. The first place is Sumiya which was a luxury restaurant. The Shinsengumi went there often because military stations were close to Sumiya. The second place is Mibu Temple where the Shinsengumi was established. Mibu temple and the Shinsengumi were deeply connected. Japanese people were moved by the Shinsengumi; thus, in Japan, there are many animation (e.g., Hakuoki, Rurouni-Kenshin), movies, novels, and manga about the Shinsengumi.

SAGANO (Rakushisya, Nisonin, Chikurin, and Tenryuzi)

by Noa Murakami & Masashi Morishita

This article will introduce about a hidden and recommended spot in the Sagano area, which is located in the depths of Arashiyama in Kyoto. You can visit Sagano on foot from the Randen Line from Arashiyama Station. Although many tourists visit Arashiyama, only a few people visit Sagano because there are a lot of other tourist spots in Arashiyama that are well known by many foreigners. Therefore, we want a lot of people to know about the fascination of Sagano and to visit Sagano after reading this article. In addition, we hope that you enjoy new attractiveness in Kyoto and feel Japanese culture.

RAKUSHISYA

Rakushisya was a historical spot for Kyorai Mukai who was a pupil of Basho Matsuo and succeeded him from 1688 to 1704 as a Haiku poet in the Sagano area. Haiku is a Japanese poem with seasonal words. One of Mukai’s poems said that there were 40 kaki trees in this garden (Rakushisya) but most of the persimmon (fruit) fell down in one night. “Raku” in “Rakushisya” means “fall down” ,“shi” means “kaki” and “sya” means “building” in Japanese.

Therefore, it is said that this story is the origin of “Rakushishya”. You can enjoy 13 monuments from poems that were written by 13 people including Kyorai Mukai and Basho Matsuo. Also, you can enjoy a Japanese garden and Shishiodoshi: it is a Japanese traditional tool that was used to drive away deer, boar and birds. However, it was put it in some Japanese gardens because Shishiodoshi has a beautiful sound. In addition, you can post your haiku and read other’s haiku at Rakushisya.

NISONIN

Nisonin is a temple that was built by instructions of the Saga emperor 700 years ago. It became a designated cultural property of Kyoto. In addition, there are a lot of fascinating spots, and you can enjoy it there in all 4 seasons.

Especially, “Sando”, which is the road to go to the main temple called “Kouyou no Baba”, is known as spot of tinted autumnal leaves in the fall. Also, as you go up the stairs from “Sando”, you can see the main temple. In this space, there are two statues. On the right side is a statue of Shaka Nyorai and on the left side is a statue of Amida Nyorai. These were painted gold and put in the center of the main temple. Moreover, you can enjoy a gong called “Siawase no Kane”. This is a gong to wish happiness that we are alive, to give thanks for all things such as food, clothes and residential areas around us, and to make people happy all over the world. For these reasons, you have to ring the gong three times. Nisonin has a comfortable space and makes you relax. Also, you can look around and make yourself at home because there are only a few people who go there every day.

CHIKURIN

Next, we’ll introduce “Chikurin” in Sagano. The meaning of Chikurin is a pass which is covered with a lot of bamboo. It is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto. You can walk through the pass covered with tens of thousands of bamboo if you visit there. It is very beautiful.

Many tourists visit this place every day. We recommend that you go there in the early morning or in the evening if you want to take beautiful photos because there are few people at that time.  In addition, you can go sightseeing on a Jinrikisha (see the photo below). It looks like a sofa for two people with large wheels on both sides. If you feel tired, we recommend that you choose a Jinrikisha. If you visit Chikurin in the summer, you will feel a very cool breeze. Conversely, you can see Chikurin, which is lit up with a lot of lights when you visit there in the winter. Please visit Chikurin if you want to relax in nature.

a Jinrikisha

TENRYUZI

Finally, we want to introduce “Tenryuzi”. It is a historical temple registered as a world heritage site. It is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto. It was built more than 700 years ago.

When you enter inside, you can see a very beautiful garden. You can see cherry trees in the spring, and you can see beautiful leaves which turn red in the autumn. You can also see beautiful green leaves in the summer. In addition, this place turns into a delightful snow scene in the winter. You can see different views from the four seasons. Because there are directional markers (directions) and staff there, you can visit there easily and smoothly.

CONCLUSION

We visited Arashiyama to go to Sagano but there were a lot of people at Arashiyama Station because Arashiyama is well known and is a famous place in Kyoto. Therefore, we were not able to be relaxed. However, Sagano has only a few people who visit there every day. It is a very quiet place, which is full of nature. There were directions in foreign languages such as English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, so you will be able to go sightseeing in peace. There are also a lot of historical Japanese buildings in Sagano, and there is also a souvenir shop nearby. We think that Arashiyama is a good place. However, we recommend that you go to Sagano to go sightseeing. Please go and have a wonderful time.

Access Information

Rakushisya“: It takes about fifteen minutes on foot from Saga Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line).

It takes about fifteen minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line).

It takes about twenty five minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station (Hankyu Line).

TEL: 075-881-1953

Time: 9:00AM-5:00PM

Nisouin“: It takes about ten minutes on foot from Saga Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line).

It takes forty-five minutes by bus from JR Kyoto Station.

TEL: 075-861-0687

FAX: 075-861-7972

Time: 9:00AM-4:30PM

Chikurin“: It takes about five minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line).

Tenryuzi“: It takes one minute on foot from Arashiyama station (Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line).

TEL: 075-881-1235

Time: 8:30AM-5:30PM (March 21st-October 20th)

    8:30AM-5:00PM (October 21st-March 20th)

Walden Woods Kyoto

 by Koki Suzuki, Hirofumi Kawashima, and Masaya Soju

 Currently there are various cafes in Kyoto such as fashionable cafes, old-fashioned cafes, and animal cafes. Among these various cafes, we would like to introduce a Kyoto cafe that is very popular on Instagram. Its name is Walden Woods Kyoto. In this article, we will write about the history of this cafe, why it became popular, and the impressions we got when we actually went there. Those interested in a cutting-edge cafe in Japan will enjoy reading this article.

History

coffee machine and 1st floor

 On December 14, 2017, “Walden Woods Kyoto” opened near Higashi Honganji Temple in Kyoto. “Walden Woods Kyoto” is a renovated Western-style house which was built in 1912 and made into a cafe. For example, there are four windows, which express the image of a Western-style building. The building facing the south is unique to Kyoto, which was built on a grid, and it has bright sunlight that illuminates the white outer walls of the café. This is the original Walden camouflage pattern making it feel like a forest. This café was made by Seiichiro Shimamura and Yuji Nishimura. They are professionals in the clothing and restaurant industry. The café also uses a vintage coffee roasting machine. This coffee machine was purchased in Europe from a restored 1966 coffee roasting machine. It was made by Probat. This company was in business 150 years ago, and this coffee roasting machine is a coffee roasting machine that can bake coffee beans with the best flavor. So, you can buy coffee that tastes like it’s from in 1870. Lamps, tableware, trays, etc., which are images of nature, and French vintage and old military items, are also used in the cafe.. This cafés images are of the Walden forest. You can feel freedom and fun when you visit the cafe. So, you can feel various emotions. If you are tired, this café can heal you. We want you to feel freedom yourself in this café.

Why Walden Woods in Kyoto Has Become Popular

2nd floor

 First, the inside view of the cafe is very simple. There are cash registers and coffee machines on the first floor. There are no chairs or desks on the eat-in floor (2F). There is only a lantern and a window lined up with white space and staircases. Sunlight comes in on a sunny day. The light of the lantern gives a stylish atmosphere at night, and the exterior walls, floors, walls, counters are all white. Because of this floor, the café’s popularity has spread to various people such as students and young people on Instagram. And with the aim of “insta bae” (= Instagrammable), more customers have come to Walden Woods Kyoto. This cafe also has a lot of original items and vintage miscellaneous goods. For example, T-shirts, postcards, candles, mugs, etc. Some customers are looking for these kinds of original items. It also sells coffee beans, so you can enjoy the taste of this cafe at home. Second, we went to this café, and the atmosphere in the cafe was very good. This cafe also sells seasonal drinks, and the menu changes every season. This is one of the reasons why customers can go there without feeling bored, and that is why this cafe has become popular. In addition, the owner is good at latte art. So, customers can also enjoy latte art. And coffee is also roasted in the cafe. Finally, it was very impressive when the staff members said, “Have a good day!” when we left the cafe. Therefore, you can leave this cafe comfortably and feeling satisfied. For these reasons, we realized that this cafe has become more popular, and we think that many customers will continue to come to this cafe, not only from Japan, but also from foreign countries. We want people to visit this cafe.

Impressions 

Appearance of the cafe

First, you can see that the exterior and interior is pure white and there is also a homemade brewing machine in the cafe, so you can enjoy wonderful coffee. When we ordered our drink on the first floor, we went up to the space on the second floor. All of the decorations reminded us of a grand mountain.In fact, it was a completely different space from general cafes. There is a tree in the middle, and there is a seat along the wall surrounding the tree. The customers are free to choose their seats and relax.

Second, we ordered a cafe latte, and we did some latte art, which makes the cafe feel even more stylish. In this way, you can enjoy reading while having tea or coffee in the afternoon, which is very nice. Furthermore, the second floor looks very wide, so if you come with your sons or daughters, your children are able to run around. Because we are acquainted with the owner of Walden Woods Kyoto, we were able to talk to him. Then we heard about the house, and he told us it was originally a Western-style house in the Taisho era (1912~1926). Specifically, it was mostly used in 1912. Because there are no pillars in Japanese houses, the Japanese in the Taisho era were able to build a house with wide space.

Third, the customer service, including the store manager, Umeda Kouya, was wonderful, and everyone had good smiles. That is one factor that makes the café attractive to its customers. There were many customers who took pictures. Also, the people who visit the cafe are fashionable, and the number of people visiting the cafe is increasing, so the café gathers fashionable people.

Next, as a famous coffee shop on Instagram, we also heard how to take good pictures. Our recommendation is on the side with the four windows. Customers will sit there first if this space is available. There are also three tiers and a relatively large number of people sit in the middle. You can take good pictures by sitting at the top. 

Finally, the Walden Woods Kyoto is a really wonderful coffee shop.

Now that you’ve read this article, please come to Kyoto, and please drop by Walden Woods Kyoto.

Over-Tourism in Kyoto

By Aki Kawashima, Arisa Yamauchi and Haruki Ishimoto

  Kyoto is the one of the oldest cities in the world. Just ten years ago, the number of inbound visitors to Kyoto was only 930,000. In 2011, the number dropped by almost half. This is because of the Tohoku earthquake. In the period after the earthquake, the number shows a dramatic improvement. In 2013, “Washoku”, a traditional Japanese cuisine, was added to the World Heritage List for food. The following year, Kyoto was chosen as the World’s Best City for the first time by “Travel + Leisure” – one of the most influential travel magazines in the world. In 2015, Kyoto was chosen as No.1 again. Since then, the number of tourists has exploded. About 3.5 million people from overseas visited Kyoto in 2017 and the number of people from different countries continues to rise. Surprisingly, in fact, the number of tourists has increased by seven times, 5,000,000 people since 2011. In this article, we would like to introduce about the problem of transportation and the garbage problem in Kyoto city as a result of ‘Over-Tourism’.

Why Has Kyoto Become So Popular?

There are many reasons to answer this question. First, Kyoto is much safer than Europe at the moment (2019), so tourists who come here from Europe, for example, don’t have to worry about crime. Indeed, Kyoto is one of the safest international cities on the planet. Second, the cost is very reasonable. The weak yen makes Japan a cheaper holiday destination. This has also contributed to a sharp increase in tourists. Moreover, direct international flights from Europe to Japan have been increasing. Finally, the Japanese Government also has relaxed visa restrictions for visitors from Asia, particularly China. Thus, the increasing number of tourists in Kyoto is actually better for the economy. However, “too many tourists” can bring problems to a popular destination such as Kyoto. For example, manner and congestion, to name a couple.

Do You Know The Word “ Over-Tourism”?

Nishiki Market

 The word “over-tourism” is quite new, so it hasn’t formally been entered into popular dictionaries like Oxford or Collins. This means that when a place starts to become popular or fashionable to visit, problems occur: crowded buses and noise pollution to name just two. It goes without saying that having too many people in the same place also contributes to the problems of garbage. In other words, a rapid increase in the number of tourists to Kyoto is having a serious impact on local people’s daily lives.

Local People

The rapid increase in the number of tourists in Kyoto is having a serious impact on the local population and is becoming extremely frustrating about this problem. Let us outline a few of them in more detail. First, the most serious problem is public transportation. You will see many tourists waiting for the bus in long lines. This creates much longer waiting times at the bus terminal in Kyoto. And tourists often ride the bus with suitcases. It blocks local people, so they can’t find seats. It is really uncomfortable and inconvenient. Perhaps inconsiderate, too. But this is part of modern daily life in Kyoto these days. Actually, we have seen this situation many times. But we couldn’t work out why they always use buses and not the subway. We searched on the Internet, and I we found a clear answer to our question. In Kyoto, there is a travel pass for buses everyday. Tourists can take a bus as many times as they want and visit the key sightseeing spots cheaply. Indirectly, and attempt to make Kyoto more attractive place to visit, this travel way is creating problems by making the public transport system, especially buses, overcrowded. Secondly, we would like to highlight the problem of garbage. This has also become a serious problem. Actually, Kyoto has found a way to solve it. Ten years ago, in the Kamo River, there were a lot of trash cans along the banks. You could eat lunch and throw it into the trash can. You could also do fireworks and throw them into the trash can. With good manners, the riverside was always kept clean. But some tourists throw trash cans for their private-use. Also, 6 years ago, the Kyoto government decided to remove all trash cans from the Kamo River area. However, the more the number of tourists has grown, the more the amount of garbage has increased.

Nishiki Market and Gion

Gion (Hanamikoji Street)

Nishiki Market and Gion are now one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist spots in Kyoto. Tourists can easily experience eating traditional Kyoto food while walking through Nishiki Market. As a result, some tourists throw their garbage on the street on and around Nishiki Market. In addition, in Gion, for example, trash cans become full quickly, so staff have to replace garbage bags many times in a day. This behavior has a negative impact on the local people.

Solution

Finally, we will suggest what we would do for the ‘over-tourism’ problem. In terms of over-tourism, things could get a lot worse before they get better. Personally, and in addition to the solutions mentioned above, we feel the Kyoto City Government could do more to teach tourists how to behave. What we mean is: manners. Japan is going through a tourist boom. As a result, we have the opportunity, more than at any time before, for cultural exchange. If we embrace this opportunity, we believe that we can make Kyoto a better place for residents and visitors alike.

Urasenke Tea Ceremony

By Sakina Nishitsuji & Yunji Choi

Green tea and matcha (powdered green tea) are both very popular among Japanese things in the world right now. Also, tea ceremony is growing in popularity among young people in Japan. One of the most famous tea ceremony schools in Japan is Urasenke.

What is Tea Ceremony?

Tea ceremony is one of the most popular aspects of traditional Japanese culture. Traditional tea ceremony is called sado in Japan. In sado, the tea master invites guests and serves matcha in a ceremonial way. The ceremony is full of meaning and tradition. It can have a calming and contemplative effect on people who experience it.

Japanese tea ceremony room

History of Tea Ceremony

Tea came into Japan during the Heian period (805). A Heian period monk, named Saicho, and an early Heian period monk, named Kukai, went to China. When they came back to Japan, they brought Tang period tea which they just thought of as a medicine. Later in the Kamakura period (1141∼1215), the priest Eisai, who brought the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism to Japan, also brought back a Chinese tea, which he thought was also medicine. That’s why Eisai wrote a book called Kissa-yojoki. It is a Chinese classics book which is written about the different kinds of methods for making powdered green tea, and tea drinking for promoting health.

In the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when Yoshimitsu Ashikaga built Kinkaku temple and Yoshimasa built Ginkaku temple, a tea meeting place was made for art lovers. The art came from China, but there was little respect for spirituality. Murata Shuko (1422-1501), who appeared in the era of eight Shogun, made a four-and-a-half tatami mat room for tea ceremony that uses not only Chinese utensils, but also Japanese-made tea utensils. He came up with a spiritual tea world that disciplined against selfishness and self-attachment. An expert in the tea ceremony, Takeno Joo (1502-1555) inherited this spirit, and Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), a famous tea master during the Azuchi-momoyama period (1568-1600), invented wabicha, which is a style of Japanese tea ceremony that became the origin of modern tea ceremony. He also built Soancha no Yu, which is Sen no Rikyu’s tea room.

The Three Schools of Tea Ceremony

There are three schools of tea ceremony in Japan. Generally, Urasenke is the most famous schools of the three. Most people who study tea ceremony learn Urasenke. Of the three stules, Urasenke is the most casual style. That’s why people find it easier to learn.

The name san-Senke refers to the Omotesenke, Urasenke and Mushakojisenke schools of the tea ceremony. Omotesenke is the head family. Actually Omotesenke and Urasenke share almost same the basic actions, but there are some minor differences. In the tea ceremony, a fukusa (or cloth) is used for cleaning up tools. Omotesenke uses a vermilion-colored fukusa, but Omotesenke uses a red one. Also, the way to make tea is different. Tea made by the Urasenke school has finer bubbles, almost like a cappuccino. On the other hand, the tea in the Omotesenke style has a stronger taste. People can directly experience the taste of matcha.

Mushakojisenke is the most unfamiliar style of the three. This was started by Soushu, who is a son of Sen no Rikyu, on Mushakoji street in Kyoto. Mushakojisenke set up a branch family from Omotesenke. The way to make tea is similar to Omotesenke. There are no bubbles in the tea. They also use a vermilion-colored fukusa, as in the Omotesenke tradition. Other differences include how to prepare the tea and actions taken during the tea ceremony.

Koicha

Usucha

Otemae お点前

The act of making tea is called otemae.

There are two kinds of tea in tea ceremony: koicha and usucha. Koicha is a strong tea. If you drink koicha for the first time, you will experience a very bitter taste. Koicha is also called okoicha. Koicha is uses a lot matcha in the tea. That’s why it looks so thick. On the other hand, usucha is a thinner tea than koicha. Usucha also has another name: ousu. These tea types have other differences, too, like tools used to make them, for instance. When making usucha, chawan (tea bowl) are used. Many of these chawan have beautiful paintings on them that people can enjoy. In the summer, chawan made of glass are used. However, more expensive chawan without any paintings are used to make koicha. People who do not know deeply about tea ceremony, are probably familiar with usucha, as it is more famous than koicha.

Tools Used in Otemae

Chashaku 茶杓: A chashaku is the tool which scoops up matcha from a natsume, which is the box for matcha. It is generally made from bamboo.

Chawan 茶碗: A chawan is the bowl in which tea is prepared and from which tea is drunk. Chawan are very important items in tea ceremony. If you use a good quality chawan, the tea ceremony experience is heightened.

Fukusa 袱紗: It’s a square silk wrapping cloth. It is used in the tea ceremony to set tools on or to wipe them.

Sensu 扇子: Sensu is a folding fan. It is used to fan yourself, but in the tea ceremony, We use it when we greet people, like say hello. It’s kind of a communication tool.

Urasenke in Kyoto

Below are some places were you can learn more about Urasenke tea ceremony, and even experience it.

Konnichian 今日庵

Konnichian is a retreat located in the former residence of Urasenke in Kyoto. It was built when a tea master Sen Soutan, the grandchild of Sen no Rikyu, handed the house over to Sen Sousa. Sen Sousa is the third son of Sen Soutan and he is also a tea master of early Edo period (1619∼1672). This retreat is located in Honjoji-mae, Kamigyo-ku of Kyoto City. In 1949, a foundation of Konnichian was established. Their purpose was to preserve and nurture the Urasenke tea ceremony that was inherited from Sen no Rikyu’s tradition, spread the spirit of tea ceremony to the general public to contribute to the development of Japanese culture and also to preserve the remains, artifacts, arts and crafts, and structures that exist at the Konnichian.

Tankosha 淡交社

Tankosha is a publisher located in the Kita Ward of Kyoto City. They publish books that are related to tea ceremony and Kyoto. When Yoshiharu Naya, the ex-president of Tankosha, graduated from Doshishya University in Kyoto, he established a publishing organization to publish the newsletter of Urasenke, called Tanko, in the following year. His father, Soshitsu Sen is a traditional name taken by the business grouping of the Urasenke family, and he is the fifteenth-generation grandmaster of the Urasenke. Yoshiharu Naya’s grand brother, Yoshito Naya, is currently managing the company. The company name comes from the word of a Chinese philosopher, Soshi. The name Tankosha means that the communion between scholastic and respectable people should be a clean relationship like water, and compassion without a selfish motive will not break. The employees of Tankosha publish books and magazines on various fields, such as traditional culture centered on tea ceremony. They are related to Kyoto culture and tourism. In fields other than tea ceremony, there are arts and crafts, history and culture, travel guides, cooking, and hobby life, or they publish books that are related to Kyoto, like ‘Kyoto Encyclopedia’ and ‘Kyoto Tourism Culture Certification Test Official Text Book’. They handle books in languages other than Japanese. Besides publishing, they sell tea ceremony architecture and tea utensils. The first floor of the Kyoto head office (Murasakino Miyanishi-Cho) has a floor for selling books and selling tea utensils.

Kyoto Murasakino 京都むらさきの

Using authentic tea utensils, a standard traditional tea ceremony will be conducted for visitors. An experience of making your own bowl of tea with those utensils is included. You can practice tea ceremony in the Urasenke style. The ceremonies are held only on Saturdays and Sundays, but even then there are days on which the ceremonies are not held, so be sure to check the website before you go. You have to make a reservation on the website at least two days in advance. Here is the homepage URL: https://www.shin-shin-an.com/ 【Address】 6 Kamigoshodencho Murasakino Kita-ku, Kyoto JAPAN

Jinmatsuan 甚松庵

Jinmatsuan is a place to discover and experience Japanese culture. It is located near Gojo station, Kiyomizu temple, and the Gion area. They are open every day, but sometimes they hold special events, so be sure to check the homepage. You can make and drink matcha along with making Japanese tea ceremony sweets, or ohigashi. You can also make a Japanese traditional sweet wagashi and dancing with maiko, the girls who please people in the banquet by the trick such as dancing and Japanese orchestra. Here is the home page URL: https://www.jinmatsuan.com/tea 【Address】 BELK Karasuma 2F, 135 Manjuij-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City

Conclusion

As you can see, Urasenke tea ceremony is rich in meaning, history, and tradition. There are many people, both Japanese and foreign, who don’t know the history of tea ceremony even though the tea ceremony is very popular overseas. There are many places in Kyoto where you can actually experience the tea ceremony. The general foundation has a lecture on tea ceremony which was introduced at Konnichian. We introduced some places where you can both learn and experience traditional tea ceremony in the Uraksenke style. We hope that you will discover the beauty and tranquility of tea ceremony while you are in Kyoto.

 

Winter Sightseeing Spots and Events in Kyoto

Winter sightseeing spots and events in Kyoto

by Akane Mukai, Riho Miyagi, and Yuka Yamazaki

In winter, a lot of people might go to western or northern Japan to do winter sports or to see winter events, however there are also popular and famous spots in Kyoto. As people know, Kyoto has a lot of world heritage sites. Moreover, people enjoy the winter view at these beautiful places. The reason for the low temperature is that the area of Kyoto is a basin. The world heritage and cultural heritage sites are covered with snow, which attracts a lot of tourists. The beautiful scenes reflect Japanese culture.

Hanatourou

Hanatourou  is an event held in Higashiyama, and Arashiyama in Kyoto. It is the lantern festival, and is at the beginning of March, lasting for 10 days. A lot of lanterns are along the Yasaka street in front of Chionin (知恩院). These lanterns use LED light bulbs from Rohm, which is a company of electronic components.During the event, the lanterns are lit from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every evening. It started in the 21st century with the goal of becoming a tradition of night viewing in Kyoto. In 2003, in March, Hanatourou started to hold this event in order to create business as a new tourist attractions. “Tomori” (灯り), which means light, is the theme in the Higashiyama area. There are also other events at the same time. Firstly, Flower arrangements, called “Ikebana”, which are organized by a flower arrangement association in Kyoto are displayed along the street. People enjoy seeing beautiful lighted up flower arrangements. “Kitunenoyomeiri” (Fox wedding) parade in the same street to Hanatourou. This parade will go to Maruyama park (円山公園) though the Yasaka street, two years slope(二年坂), three years slope (三年坂), and other streets.

“Kitunenoyomeiri”(Fox wedding) is Japanese folk tale. In the story, it rains but is sunny on the same day, then a female fox marries a male fox.

Reenacting this ancient story, the Fox wife, wearing a pure white Kimono for her wedding rides on a rickshaw (人力車) passing through the street slowly. If people watch this parade, it is said that the people will be blessed with good relationships. It starts 19:00 and 20:00. People rarely watch this parade. Lastly, In Yasaka shrine, people can take part in an event, which is to write people’s hopes on colored leaf stickers and then put them on large lanterns with paper shades. People can enjoy writing their hopes on stickers. There are some enjoyable events with Hanatourou.

 Projection Mapping Winter Kyoto

Recently, many projection mapping events are held in Japan. Projection mapping is the fairly new technology that allows computer-generated 3D images and video to be projected onto three dimensional objects, like buildings. You can see the projection mapping in some temples or shrines in Kyoto. There is an event using projection mapping techniques in Kodaiji temple (高台寺). Kodaiji temple is one of Japan’s greatest historical figures, by Hideyoshi’s wife Nene. This is an outstanding temple in Kyoto‘s Higashiyama District. It was established in 1606 and is the most famous temple at which to see beautiful autumn leaves in Kyoto. These days, not only Japanese visitors, but also many people from abroad, visit there to see the autumn leaves and some great zen gardens in Kodaiji temple. In addition, you can see a beautiful bamboo there.

In such a great temple, a projection mapping event is held from autumn to winter, and summer. The last winter’s theme of the projection mapping was “Hyakki-Yagyo” (百鬼夜行). One performance has three minutes and the beautiful display is projected onto the Karesansui (枯山水) garden and the gate behind it. In order to watch the performance, you will pay 600 yen, and there are usually long lines of people waiting to get in. The open time of the mapping is 5 p.m. and it closes at 9 p.m. The ticket counter will be very crowded, so you should buy the admission ticket in advance before night.

 Popular hot foods in Kyoto

Kyoto is cold in winter  time. So you absolutely want to eat hot food because of the freezing cold winter in Kyoto. If you are in Kyoto this is a very special trip for you and your memory. So I really want you to eat delicious special meals. First I recommend that you have a delicious hot meal. This udon noodle shop’s name is FUMIYA. This udon noodle shop has been carrying on for 50 years. This food is udon noodles served in a pot with a variety of ingredients. This hot food is popular in Kyoto. So you should go there. Next I recommend as a delicious hot meal noodles in sauce in yuba. Yuba is diced bean curds. This dish of noodls in sauce in yuba  shop name is Toyouke tea house. This shop is near the Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine so you can go there easily. The shop is mainly making tofu so you can eat it as well as simmered tofu and other tofu dishes. This shop is really popular, so be prepared to line up. Next, I recommend as a delicious hot meal of simmered tofu. This simmered tofu shop name is Tosuirou. This shop is not so expensive so you can eat lots of hot tofu meals. Next I recommend a hot sweet delicious called Zenzai. Zenzai refers to stewed red beans sweetened with sugar that are served in a bowl with mochi (sticky rice cake), shiratama dango (dumplings made of sticky rice flour called shiratamako), and chestnuts stewed in sugar. This shop’s name is Umezono. This shop is near Kawaramachi. So you can go there during shopping breaks. This shop sells not only zenzai, they have mitarashi dumplings and shaved ice with matcha sauce as well. I could recommend only these shops but Kyoto has lots of shops so you can eat lots of delicious food and sweets in Kyoto. You should try it.

Conclusion

Kyoto has lots of winter sightseeing spots and people can feel charm of winter events. These winter events are really fantastic events and you can feel traditional of Japan and you can find lot of new things. Kyoto is trying lots of new things. Projection mapping is one of the new winter night events. You can go to a winter night event with family or with a girlfriend or boyfriend. You can feel really romantic. You can spend really good time and have really good memories. Kyoto is a really good place for eating traditional Japanese foods. So you can eat a delicious meal and then you feel warm in both your body and mind. Let’s enjoy winter Kyoto.

Traditional ryokan in Kyoto

By Taiga Fukushima, Kana Kobashi, Masakazu Terasaki

A lot of foreign visitors come to Japan recently. Most of them want to experience Japanese-ness, like traditional culture or history so they come to Kyoto. There are old traditional buildings, the beautiful views with changing four seasons, washoku (traditional cuisine) and a chance to experience Japanese culture in Kyoto. It means you can enjoy all of them in Kyoto. That’s why people come to Kyoto. However, you can experience all of them in just one place. That is a ryokan (Japanese-style hotel). Ryokan is a uniquely Japanese hotel tradition that can only be experienced her.

Explain about Ryokan

First of all, the Japanese hotel busiess act has rules for what a ryokan is. For example, a ryokan must have at least 5 rooms. Each room must be more than 7 square meters. If a ryokan is within 100 meters from a school site, they have to have something to obstruct passersby from seeing inside the hotel, for example, a hall which can be used for dancing or some games. Managers or owners have to apply to the prefectural governor for permission to name and establish a ryokan. However, managers can choose the name of accommodation freely no matter the size of their business.

A feature of ryokan is that you can feel WA –Japanese elegant culture- there. This feature can be seen in many parts of services. All rooms are basically Japanese style and estimate guests to be two per one room. In fact, some ryokan don’t allow guests to stay alone. You can enjoy green tea and teacakes for free. In addition, people usually wear a yukata (informal summer kimono), provided by the ryokan, while they stay in ryokan or go for a walk around a hot spring resort. In winter, ryokan provide a short Japanese overgarment or a thickly padded oversize kimono as protection against cold. There are many good points in ryokan However, the biggest sales point is hot spring. Hot springs have many effects for health. It is not too much to say that people stay at ryokan for hot springs. Hot springs have several medical benefits such as relief for neurological pain or to promote healing of wounds so they are popular not only with foreign visitors, but also Japanese travelers.

Tawaraya Ryokan

We would like to introduce three ryokan which have a long history. The first one is Tawaraya, which was built three hundred years ago. Some famous people, such as Hirobumi Ito, who was the first Japanese prime minister. and Steve Jobs have stayed there. It has fans both domestically and abroad, and it is a luxury inn which is representative of Japan. It doesn’t have an official web site, and only people who has visited know the whole picture of the inn. The information of the inn itself is surrounded by a veil. However most people become repeat customers as they are so impressed by the inn. Service, facilities, atmosphere, food, which is a suitable Japanese inn for a very first name. It has an appearance that makes you feel it is old, but it has been properly maintained. Not only the appearance but also the application of professional craftsmanship, maintenance and management are carried out. From the general gardener to the cleaning staff, staff specialized in bathing, changing sliding doors, changing tatami mats and glass wiping, no detail is neglected. The building is old, because it is an established inn, but the comfort of customers is seen to at all times, and this is an inn that matches traditional space with modern comfort. Decorated with Western and Oriental decorations, museum quality art decorates the hall, and the main furniture for fine furnishings.

Sumiya Ryokan

Another ryokan, Sumiya Ryokan was established in the Taisho Period (1912). Masters of the tea ceremony use the facility for meeting. In there, tea ceremony is held on the 7th and 17th days of each month. You can join the tea ceremony if you stay at the ryokan on these days. They serve Kyo-kaiseki which is a traditional Kyoto style course. This is prepared to bring out the natural flavors of fresh seasonable Kyoto vegetables. The rooms are basically Japanese style. Every room has an alcove that is a tea ceremony style room. And you can enjoy seasonable atmosphere with the five senses.

Hiiragiya

The last ryokan is Hiiragiya. Hiiragiya was established in 1818 in Kyoto. It has a long history, so internationally famous men and women-writers, artists, politicians, scientists, and members of the imperial family have stayed there. Nobel Prize winning novelist, Yasunari Kawabata said, “There is no inn with more memories than the Hiiragiya.” The name is taken from Hiiragi Shrine in Shimogamo shrine. Hiiragi is the name of leaf. In the past, it is said that Hiiragi can protect worshipers from evil. You can find the symbol of Hiiragi throughout the inn. It is the staff’s wish that it will bring you the good luck it has brought us over the years.
Hiiragiya are preparing two types of rooms. First is the main building. Rooms are preserved in the tea-ceremony arbor in the Edo (1603 – 1868) to Showa Period (!926 – 1989). You can feel utmost atmosphere of the ancient in Kyoto through them. Another building is new wings. Rooms have new facilities and amenities but with the sophisticated style of traditional Japanese architecture. These rooms inherit Hiiragiya’s traditional and hospitality spirit. You can get there from JR Kyoto Station by taxi or subway. If you use the taxi, please tell the driver “Hiiragiya”. It takes 15 minutes. If you use the subway, you have to take a subway Karasuma line. Get off the subway at Karasuma-Oike station and walk for 7 minutes.

Conckusion

These three ryokan have a long history, so you can feel Japanese-ness very much. Although the style of ryokan may be different from a modern, western style hotel, a stay can allow a visitor to experience a Japanese traditional lifestyle. Sleep on a futon rather than a bed in a tatami mat room with sliding paper covered doors and get the feeling of old Japan. Please try to stay in a ryokan and experience wonderful Japanese traditional cultural until you sleep.