How to Enjoy Kyoto with Disabilities

January 14, 2019

by Ema Maeda

People with disabilities have so many obstacles to sightsee the heritage sites because might not have services, such as a useable toilet or paths for wheelchairs.

 

Kyoto city is promoting universal tourism in cooperation with private organizations in order to develop an accepting environment where everyone, including elderly people and people with disabilities, can enjoy Kyoto sightseeing comfortably.

 

 

  • Kiyomizu Temple

 

Kiyomizu temple is located in the middle of Mt. Okuyama, so they will have many slopes and stone bumps. Although 5 million people visit the temple in a year, and those who are using wheelchairs were more than 2,000, a considerable number of people, including elderly people, are forced to stop and give up because of this slope and bumpy stone road.

Therefore, the temple has tried to accommodate the ideas “to accept all people”, and, “to visit anyone” especially to honor the goddess Kannon, who is the main deity of the temple. They have started a barrier-free service by making an effort to repave the roads so that they are smooth, rather than bumpy, and established the slope. It became easy to go around the precincts even in a wheelchair.

 

Service

  • Usually, an adult needs 300 yen per person but with a handicapped identification, the handicapped person and one companion are admitted free of charge.
  • There are 2 handicapped access toilets in the temple grounds.

    the view of stage

    Kiyomizudera stage

Buddha statues

The view of the main hall of Kyomizu stage. This photo is taken from another  . Unfortunately, they are not able to go on the stage in the picture.

It is Buddha statue of stones. This place is not a famous sightseeing course. There are more than 100  .

 

Tofuku-ji

You can also see the Tofuku-ji temple from a wheelchair, which is one of Kyoto’s foremost sightseeing destinations for viewing autumn leaves. There are parts with steps and gradients in the famous “Uneme bridge” and “Tonto bridge”, but sightseeing in a wheelchair is also possible if there are assistants. The inside of the precinct is almost flat and pavement roads are running around, so the wheelchair can be easily rotated. There are no particular problems as long as you choose a shallow place and pass through, such as in the vicinity of the hall and around the temple. Because you can rent a wheel chair, the elderly, people with mobility problems, other issues can enjoy sightseeing if they are accompanied. In addition, pamphlets describing the precincts are available in several languages

 

Service

  • Rent the wheelchair for free.
  • Usually an adult needs 400 yen per person but if you have handicapped identification, you and people who accompany you are free of charge.
  • Near the reception desk, there is multitask toilet.

    Tofuku-ji hallway

・When travelling by wheelchair

When traveling by wheelchair, it is convenient to use a sightseeing taxi. The autumnal leaves season is crowded with many tourists in particular, so sightseeing taxis can save you the trouble of securing parking space and you can move smoothly. In addition, local drivers familiar with the sightseeing spots of Kyoto can also tell you various information. Depending on the location, if you have a handicapped person, you can use the disaster prevention road inside the temple, so you can contact and procedure. It is safe for those who are new to Kyoto with wheelchair tourism.

 

  • Points for visiting at a temple by wheelchair

In the temples in Kyoto, there are many cases where the approach is narrow, and it is difficult to go forward. In such a case, you can move smoothly as you move with the wheelchair facing backward with the wheelchair facing backwards. Also, please check that the wheelchair tires are firmly inflated when you go out to travel. It’s hard to push hard if the air is low, and the effectiveness of the brake will also become worse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Enjoy Kyoto Sightseeing in the Rain

How to Enjoy Kyoto Sightseeing in the Rain

 

By, Yuka Yamazaki, Taiga Fukushima and Riko Adachi

 

 

You came to Japan with great pleasure but may feel you cannot enjoy it if it is rainy. Since Kyoto sightseeing has a lot of tours to temples and shrines, you may get wet by rain. There are many places to enjoy in Kyoto without getting wet in the rain. We will introduce three spots that you can enjoy not only in the rain but also when it is sunny.

 

Kyoto Station

 

There is a roof at Kyoto Station and it will not get wet. Also, because the station building is right next to you, you can go without getting wet with the rain. There is an underground floor (B1 and 2) and a department store called Isetan that has 11 floors. Since the two basement floors in Isetan sell delicious groceries, you can also go for lunch and dinner. There are lots of delicious things, so you might get buy too much. Female cosmetics and ladies’ clothing is sold on the 1st to 4th floors, men ‘s clothing is sold on the 5th to 6th floors, and children’ s clothing is on the 7th floor. You can purchase clothes in Japan without going to many various places here. You can also buy clothes and socks for the rain here. Also, there is Kyoto General Tourist Information Center on the 2nd floor ,so it will be helpful as it tell you what is going on. On the 10th floor there are lots of ramen specialty shops where you can eat delicious ramen from all over Japan; it is called Lanno Shodo. There are many kinds, so you can choose your favorite ramen. Furthermore, if you pass through the underground shopping street called Porta in front of Kyoto Station, you can enjoy shopping without getting wet with rain.

There are many shops in Porta in the underground shopping mall. There are fashionable cafés and delicious Japanese food shops, and there are two popular Starbucks stores. Why don’t you drop in at the food street in the underground shopping area if you are hungry. You can also go to the big shopping mall called Avanti by passing through the underground passage. Of course, the underground shopping mall has a roof so you can go to your destination without getting wet by the rain. Avanti has not only clothing stores but also various shops. First of all, there is Don Quijote on the second floor. Don Quijote handles various items such as electric appliances cheaply, It is possible to purchase sweets for souvenirs in large quantities cheaply, as there is a 100 yen shop on the 3rd floor. As its name suggests, you can buy it for 100 yen each. On the fourth floor there is a fashion center called Shimamura. Sincee it is very cheap and there are various kinds of clothes, People rarely suffere from what souvenir to get for their friends and family. And there is anime shop on the 6th floor. Many Japanese anime goods and manga are sold there. People who like animation can enjoy enough just by dropping in here. Even just going to Avanti, you can enjoy shopping adequately. You can also go to the Yodobashi camera by passing through the underground passageway. There are many Japanese appliances in Yodobashi Camera, so how about checking them out? How about a rice cooker  as a souvenir for your family?

Tsuruya Yoshinobu

 

Are you interested in making Japanese sweets? Are you interested in Japanese sweets?

One of the famous Japanese sweet shops is Tsuruya Yoshinobu. Tsuruya Yoshinobu is a traditional Japanese confectionery shop. Although you can purchase many sweets in the shop, there is also a tea shop  named Kayuuchaya. One tea set here includes two kinds of freshly made seasonal confections and a green tea. It is very popular. In addition, at the counter you can see how carefully craftsmen make each of the confections you ordered. In this shop, you can eat not only Japanese sweets. This shop has zenzai, shiruko, kinako jelly and green tea ice in season. This shop is near the Imadegawa Subway Station, so you can go there after sightseeing. If the weather is rainy you can enjoy after the Manga museum or Kitano Tenmangu.

 

 

 

Teramachi Kyogoku

 

The Termachi Kyogoku shopping arcade is a short walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. If you go from underground at Kawaramachi station and use exit 9, you can get out to the shopping street without getting wet in the rain. There are many shops in this shopping arcade where you can eat at various cafés and eat delicious rice. First of all, there is a shop called Taiwa Tampa where you can eat delicious small balls. The recommendation of this shop is that you can eat 6 steamed fish bunkas at 380 yen. Since the temperature will be cold on the day when it is raining, we recommend that you warm up by eating these warm balls.

 

The next shop we recommend is SHIN-SETSU, Cream Soda Specialty Store. There are 24 flavors of cream soda in this shop, so you can enjoy your favorite flavor of cream soda. Since it is colorful and beautiful, I strongly recommend taking pictures of your soda. Please try taking many photos foir Instagram. The most popular is the classic melon soda. You can enjoy cream soda of various tastes and colors, so stop by and have a look.

Our next recommendation is café Mumokutikikafe. This shop uses healthy Japanese ingredients such as okara and konnyaku, and a meal that is healthy enough to make you full is attractive. It is a salad and pork cutlet using okara and konnyaku instead of meat, but it is tasty and of course it is tasty and has satisfactory eating habits. It is a shop recommended for those worried that they have come to travel to Japan and eat too much because they can eat healthy rice with Japanese ingredients. In Teramachi Kyogoku, there is not only the rice shop, but also game centers and karaoke boxses that can be enjoyed, and there are many sundries shops. Here you can enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto without getting wet with the rain.

 

Did you find a place to enjoy on rainy days? Kyoto has places to shop a lot as well as temples and shrines. If you would you like to experience shopping, perhaps these places are good to visit on a rainy day.

History of Kyoto’s roads

by Shinji Yasuda, Shogo Koizumi and Kosuke Ono

street of Kyoto

A lot of tourists from foreign countries visit Kyoto. Most of them go to famous temples and shrines like Kiyomizu temple and Kinkaku-ji temple. However, Kyoto has other attractive points. Did you know Kyoto is a city in which streets are laid out in a checkerboard pattern? If you have ever been to Kyoto, you may noticed that. These straight roads are based on the ancient Chinese capital city. This article tells you why Kyoto imitated ancient China, and the background and history of Kyoto’s layout.  Most Japanese cities don’t have long, wide, straight roads, so you may enjoy Kyoto city more after reading this article.

History

The checkerboard was made about 1200 years ago by the 50th Emperor of Japan, Kanmu. Largeness of area was 23.4 mk2, and this was smaller than it is now. In addition, Kyoto had a spiritual role as well as a practical aspect. It is said that ancient China made streets like this to fulfill military functions. Such streets are capable of moving a large-scale army quickly and impressively. Such wide streets are useful in preventing the spread of fire. Next, it is important to manage the population. The management is essential to stay calm and be safe. Thanks to this road, people who were in charge could figure out what might happen there and move soldiers or workers quickly to the needed area. And then current Kyoto is became increasing narrow alley. Now each intersection is named for the two crossing roads. This custom was started from Heian Era (794 – 1185). The most flourishing section of the town was Kawara-Machi. The reason is that Kawara-Machi was given a boost after much of Kyoto burned during the Ounin Rebellion (1467 – 1477).

Kyoto has songs that can tell where you are if you have no idea where you are. For example, Kyoto has plenty of streets, including main streets, and one way roads. Many roads have similar names so visitors may be confounded. Even most of the people who live in Kyoto do not understand some of its geography. First of all, the checkerboard is divided by 3 rivers which are used as boundaries. The song named Teragoko starts with Teramachi and ends with Senbon. Thirty names of streets are included the song that is about streets at southeast. Next, the song named Marutakeebisu starts with Maruta and end with Kujo. This song has twenty-six name of streets. Each song is structured in the right order. Most of words that appear these songs are an initial letter of the street. These songs are a mnemonic to help people remember where streets are laid out, before they had access to GPS. This song was uploaded on Youtube. You can search and listen to it.

The northernmost  is named Ichijyo, which means first in Japanese, and the southernmost is named Kujyo, which means ninth in Japanese, and one more easternmost is named Teramachido-ri . As for easternernmost, that place doesn’t have particular name because it hasn’t being considered as the official road.  The history of streets of Kyoto has some interesting stories. For example, there is a street called Higashikyogoku. About 427 years ago, the general Hideyoshi Toyotomi conducted a big improvement which might be called urban renewal. He forced several temples to move to the eastside of the city. Higashi is east in English, so the name Higashikyougoku came from this event. Even Honnoji-temple are moved from it used to be. Teramachi-street has Shinkyogoku-street at a more eastern location. Shin means “new” so it’s New Higashikyogoku Street. These two streets help Kyoto with its prosperity and history of road.

Role of streets

Roads like checkerboard are called jouri-sei. Jouri-sei is system of land subdivision in ancient Japan. This system could also be seen often in capital city of ancient China. Thanks to jouri-sei it is easy to maintain roads and manage people. First, Heian-Kyou (kyou means capital in Japanese) was made in a wide and open field, so they were able to organize this city from the beginning. The model of Heian-Kyou was Cho-an which was capital city of ancient China. There is an  entrance gate, Gate of Suzaku-oji in Heian-kyou which was named Rasho-mon. In addition, this Japanese city has spiritual meaning. It was called Sijin-so-o that is an ideal topography for the four Taoist gods, with a river in the east, a broad avenue in the west, a basin in the south, and a hill in the north. In Kyoto, Mt. Daimonji in the east, Arashiyama in the west, Lake Ogura in the south, Tamba upland in the north. However, in current Kyoto, there is no Lake Ogura. Lake Ogura became agricultural land now. Benefit of Sijin-so-o is that people will prosper for all eternity.

Tradition

Shijo street is one of biggest street in Kyoto. Gion festival is held there.  Gion festival is said that one of the three major festivals of Japan. This festival lasts for a month. Traditional folding screens which feature pictures spreade over several frames or panels and other treasures are shown on the street. Moreover, huge wooden vehicles, called Yamaboko go around city and these are called moving museums. The purpose of this festival is to enshrine god in Gion and protect the city from disaster. This Yamaboko procession is registered in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Contemporary Kyoto

Shijo street

Kyoto looks like a useful city, but actually there is a problem.  Nature is hardly seen in Kyoto. To fix this problem, the municipal government is promoting one project. This project involves both the government and private Kyoto citizens. The goals of the project are as follows.

・Protect and plant cherry blossom trees
・Double trimming trees before and after autumn leaves
・Create lines of trees on wide streets
・Nurture nature reflecting citizens’ opinions
・Make green spaces in the city (green roofs, green walls)
・Establish and management volunteer centers of green space

Shopping arcade

Shopping arcade of Kyoto

There are many old, covered streets in Kyoto that are called shotengai, or shopping arcades in English. On wide streets like Shjio street and Kawaramchi street there are many modern, multistory buildings with department stores and famous brand stores. But there are also narrow alleys with many small souvenir shops. These are crowded with many students from all over Japan on school trips. A famous Kyoto street is Nishi kouji, which has many stops selling traditional Japanese foods and food s unique to Kyoto. This street is crowded with tourists every day. The number of local shopping arcades is decreasing in Japan because of huge supermarkets. However, Kyoto’s shopping arcades are not declining because they are deeply connected with peoples who live in Kyoto and currently Kyoto has many tourists so they spend money.

Conclusion

Kyoto has a very long and interesting history about its roads. The origin of the roads was China but the form has been changed by people. Now, Kyoto’s roads have their own unique style, which can be called part of the identity of Kyoto. These streets are not only part of functional life, but also have traditional aspects.  Moreover, Kyoto is still changing, hopefully in a good direction as evidenced by the municipal project above. We hope you got more interested about Kyoto after reading this article.

Great Food Hall at Kyoto Tower

By Kensei Iizuka and Takanori Tsuhako

Kyoto Tower

As you know, Kyoto city is the main city in Kyoto prefecture and it is really lively. Of course, you can find a lot of nice places in the city like cafés, restaurants, clothing stores, general stores, temples, shrines and so on. Moreover, this city is also has a great edifice that can be seen from many parts of this city. That is Kyoto Tower. It is 131 meters high and is the tallest construction in Kyoto city. From this building, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city. Of course, you can also see some famous historical buildings like Kiyomizu-Dera temple.

Not only can you enjoy the view, you can enjoy some facilities. For example, a beer and BBQ garden is on the 10th floor and Kansai Tourist Information Center is on the 3rd floor and so on. This article is focused on the Food Hall on the B1, or basement, floor.

Food Hall

There are some good facilities in Kyoto Tower and one is the Food Hall on the B1 floor. There are 19 restaurants in this food hall including typical Japanese food like Sushi. This food hall has really varied kinds of restaurants such as Chinese food, Mexican food, sweets and bars serving alcohol.

There are some good points of this food hall. First, there are many kinds of restaurant. You can eat beef, pork, chicken, curry, ramen noodles, soba (Japanese traditional noodles), pancakes and doughnuts. In addition, there is a restaurant for vegans and vegetarians. Second, this food hall is big and there are a lot of seats. On the weekend, every place near Kyoto station gets really crowded. That is why, if you find a good restaurant, you have to wait for a long time. On the other hand, you can find your seats more easily at this food hall. Last, you and your friends can choose your favorite food. It is usual for food hall but it is a big merit for using food hall. You can eat what you really want to eat and you can also drink alcohol. The experience at this food hall should be a good memory of your trip.

Recommended Restaurant

Gottie’s BEEF

If you would like to have beef, this restaurant is highly recommended. The beef served here has been carefully selected considering thing such as district where the cows were raised and using only the choice cuts of beef. In addition, it takes 40 days to mature the beef. The stage of production is called “dried-aging method.” By this method, the flavor of the beef will be enhanced. The steak sauce is very well matched with the beef.

KYOTOSENMARU Syakariki murasaki

Ramen noodle is one of the most popular foods in Japan and you should try it if you come to Japan. Ramen noodles in Japan are served in various flavors like shio (salt), tonkotsu (pork bone) and shoyu (soy sauce). Syakariki’s noodles have soy sauce taste but the broth that accompanies them is also made of seafood products and chicken. That is why Japanese like ramen noodles. Japanese people like to eat ramen noodles after drinking so, if you like to drink alcohol, try eating ramen noodles after that.

List of Shops

How to enjoy your meal at KYOTO TOWER SANDO

In the dining hall, which is like a food court, you can sit in any vacant seat. This means your party can buy food from different restaurants.

    1. Order

      When you decide what you would like to have, please go to the individual restaurant and order your meal. Please pay at this time. You can use not only money but also credit cards.

    2. Wait

      The staff will give you a bell. You can go back to your seat and wait until the bell rings, please.

    3. Pick Up

      After the bell rings, go to the restaurant again and pick your order up, please. You can also help yourself to water if you want to.

    4. Return 

      After finishing your meal, please return the empty dishes to the restaurant. You can easily find the sign “Return Here” there.

      Access and Information

You can come to Kyoto station by JR, Kyoto Subway Karasuma line, Kyoto City Bus, or by taxi, bicycle or private transportation. You can come to KYOTO TOWER SANDO directly from the underground shopping area called Porta. If you are above ground, you can come from an entrance which is located at the corner of Karasuma-dori and Shiokoji-dori intersection. Don’t worry. It is easy to find KYOTO TOWER.

Opening hours are from 9am to 9pm (Final Entry 8:40pm). In Japan, restaurants generally stop taking orders about 30 minutes before closing time. Customers are expected to finish their food and drinks by closing time and leave soon after. The telephone number is 075-361-3215 (9am to 8pm). The address is 721-1, Karasuma-dori Shichijo-kudaru Higashi-shio-koji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 600-8216.

 

Three Rare Torii in Kyoto

 

By Yuki Fujimoto, Sena Yagi and Misaki Kodama

 

 

What is a Torii?

Torii is an entrance gate at a shrine. It is said that it separates the world people inhabit from the world gods inhabit. So the gate is an entrance to the world which gods inhabit.

 

There is a torii in every shrine and most of these torii are similar in shape. But there are 3 rare toriis in Kyoto. So we will introduce Mihashira torii, Ishidorii and Karahafu torii for you.

 

 

 

Kaikonoyashiro ( 蚕ノ社 )

The first rare torii is Mihashira torii in Kaikonoyashiro. It is not an official name, the official shrine’s name is Konoshimanimasuamaterumitama-shrine. ( 木嶋坐天照御魂神社 ) the shrine is related with Hata-uji ( 秦氏 ). Hata-uji were ancient people who came from China and carried on the tradition of sericulture. So Kaikonoyashiro enshrines a god of fiber.

 

There are two toriis at the shrine, one at an entrance and another on the grounds of the shrine. The rare torii is on the ground of the shrine. A normal torii has two columns. But the rare torii has three columns and those three torii face toward three shrines which are related with Hata-uji, Shimogamo shrine, Fushimiinari shrine and Matsuo shrine. Stones are piled on the center of the torii and tamagushi is put on the stones. Tamagushi is a kind of decorative object which is an offering to a god. It marks a place in which a god is laid to rest.

 

There was a pond at the torii some time ago and it has dried up. It is called Mototadasu-no-ike. Tadasu is meaning to “to fix rightly”. The torii became the place in which people who have committed some sin and want to clean their souls can come. That’s why it is said people who bathed their feet in the pond water don’t get a disease. Even now the pond is replenished by pumping in some groundwater during the shrine’s event season. Then they will reproduce the old days. Visitors can wade in the healing waters in July which features a festival called Mitarashi-matsuri ( 御手洗祭 ). If you are interested in this rare torii and you want to clean your soul, please go to Kaikonoyashiro.

 

 

Information

There is no parking area. There is no entrance fee. The shrine is always open, so you can visit when you like.

 

Access

From JR Kyoto station to JR Hanazono (花園) station and walk about 10 minutes. Go straight toward the west after you exit the ticket gate. Go under Route 162 and the turn left at croft and stay on the road. Then you will see the shrine on the right hand side.

 

Take a Kyoto City bus 【28】at Kyoto station on the north side and get off at the Nishiojishijo (西大路四条). Wait for a Kyoto City bus【11】there and take it to Kaikonoyashiro.

 

Address: 50 Uzumasa-Morigahigashicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto

TEL: (075) 861-2074

 

 

 

  1. Tomouji Shrine ( 伴氏社 )

 

Tomouji Shrine is a small shrine and torii in the precincts of Kitano-Tenman-gu Shrine (北野天満宮).

The shrine is very old, so its foundation date is unknown. Is it clear that the shrine was constructed far in the past.

Originally, the Imiake pagoda (忌明塔) was built here, but early in the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) the Imiake pagoda was moved south, next to Higashimuki Kanonji (東向観音寺), then Tomouji shrine was constructed here.

 

Tomouji Shrine, is dedicated to Prince Michizane Sugawara※’s mother. Michizane Sugawara’s mother is a patroness of education and her reputation as a good mother is high. She was also a poet. Her worshipers pray for the growth and scholastic accomplishments of their children

 

※Michizane Sugawara (845 – 903) lived in the middle of the Heian Era (901-1068). He was a courtier, Sinologist and writer.

 

What does “Tomouji”mean?

Toumouji is called after Michizane Sugawara’s mother who was a native of Tomouji (it is came from Otmouji).

Because she is from Otomouji (one of the Japanese old ethnic group), people called so.

 

This torii is called Ishidorii (stone torii) it was made in the Kamakura Era (1185 – 1333). It is appointed in a Japanese art treasure.

 

The characteristics of Tomouji shrine

 

①Pedestal

This torii is called “Renza torii “. Renza means lotus pedestal. ②Gakuzuka (frame) Gakuzuka is something like signboard notified at the highest point of the torii’s frame. The normal torii has a Gakuzuka under the under Shimaki※, but this torii is different because Gakuzuka penetrates under Shimaki and reaches Kasagi※.

※Shimaki

※Kasaki

 

Location of Tomouji Shrine

San no torii (三の鳥居) is located near Kitano-Tenman-gu Shrine (北野天満宮)

Kitano-Tenman-gu (北野天満宮) 〒602-8386 Kitano, Bakurocho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi Tenman-gu Shrine office

Take a Kyoto City bus 50 or 101 at JR Kyoto station, then get off at the Kitano-Tenman-gu mae ( 北野天満宮前 ).

 

Opening and closing time of the tower gate

From April to September from 5:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m.

From October to March from 5:30 a.m. to 17:30 p.m.

The shrine office, is staffed from 9:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m.

There is no admission fee.

 

 

 

 

Itsukushima shrine: Karahafu Torii

 

◎What is Karahafu Torii?

⇒It is at Kyotogoen (京都御苑) which is Itsukushima shrine (厳島神社) and one of the three great Torii of Kyoto. Karahafu Torii was built in Mie in old times. After that it was built at Kyoto in 1772.

 

◎Why is it called Karahafu Torii?

⇒ There are two common styles of Torii. They are Shinmei Torii and Myojin Torii. Most Torii are either Shinmei Torii or Myojin Torii. But Karahafu Torii is neither of these styles.  It is called Karahafu Torii which ⑦Shimagi and ①Kasagi is Karahafu style. Karahafu style is a rare Torii in Japan because it is the only one in this style. Karahafu Torii which was at  Mt. Mikami (三上山) in Shiga in olden times. So it is also called Mikami Torii. (It is written in 2 styles in kanji三上鳥居 or 御上鳥居.)

⇒Shinmei Torii.                           ⇒Myojin Torii

 

 

 

⇒Karahafu style

 

In old times, Kiyomori Taira (平清盛) was built to honor his mother from Hiroshima. And now, it is an important cultural artefact, recognized by the Japanese government.

In addition, it is one of the branches of Itsukushima shrine in Hiroshima.

 

◎Recommended spot at Kyoto Goen.

Kujo pond

(九條池) has especially good scenery of Kyoto Goen. People can look all over Shusui-tei (拾翠亭) .  Shusui-tei can be seen only from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. During the rest of the week, it is rented for tea ceremony or gathering of haiku poets or other cultural events. If you come to there on Friday or Saturday, you should go to Shusui-tei.

⇒A view of the scenery in June.                           ⇒A view of the scenery in  August.

 

◎Where is it?

Kyoto Goen Itsukushima shrine

Address: Kyotogyoen Kamigyo-Ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan 602-0881

Access : Kyoto city subway Karasuma line Marutacho station (7 minutes walk)

HP: http://fng.or.jp/kyoto/

 

Green tea and coffee in Kyoto

Huaman Hideki,Koki Nakano

 

Maccha

 

If I ask you what a famous drink in Japan is, what would you think of? I think there are many options. However, the most the famous drink in Japan would be green tea, definitely. I think it is part of our culture and it is part of our tradition. The green tea is famous in Japan mostly in Kyoto prefecture. Everyone in my country loves it, even foreign people love to drink and eat foods flavored with it. It is also good for our health. Many foreigners come to Japan, to have green tea. There are some reasons for it.

 

We asked some international students in our school about green tea. Most of them said they like it because it has a similar taste to green tea which they can drink in another country. Also, they like it because they can focus to study when they drink it and what is more, it helps their memory work. Furthermore, green tea contains caffeine, like coffee, so they can keep awake when they want. Also, some exchange students said that the rule of making green tea is very interesting for them because the rule is kind of compact and nobody can learn about it in another country. Therefore, observing green tea being made is popular for foreigners.

There are many tea restaurant. Skin Kyoto called “Maccha house”. There are thousands of maccha houses in Japan and the most popular is the maccha house in Kawaramachi which is in Kyoto prefecture. There is such a long line at the place every day, even when it is raining. Many people wait for two or three hours to enjoy to. The reason why is because of SNS. Many people, mostly students, like to post food on SNS, like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. In maccha house they provide not also green tea drink but also sweets. Especially the most famous sweets they serve is called “uji maccha tiramisu”. Almost every customer, Japanese or non-Japanese, orders it because they serve it Japanese traditional container which is called “uji maccha” square wooden cup. It is said that it is a great idea using square wooden cup because they feel Japanese culture more deeply.

The last reason is that it is good for our health and it can provide benefits to us. For example, green tea increases or improves metabolism, burns calories, calms the mind and relaxes the body and so on. What is more, it helps us to prevent disease such as high blood pressure, aging, and diabetes, stroke.

Green tea is an important thing. It is a representative drink or food in my country. I am glad that green tea is known by many people from all over the world because it means that they’re able to touch upon Japanese culture. I can proudly say that it’s tasty besides they are many ways to have it. Moreover, green tea can help us to focus on studying and can protect us from disease.

 

Coffee.

 

 

Recently, a news story said that Kyoto was the top consumer of coffee in Japan. People in Kyoto drink more coffee than people from other prefectures. Do you know why? Perhaps, because there are a lot of students in Kyoto. We took a survey of customers in coffee shops in Kyoto city and asked “What do you drink coffee ? And why did you choose to come to this shop?” The consumers answered, “We are students. We saw some pictures of this shop and we thought it is quite nice so we wanted have a chat in a nice and fashionable place.” The students went there to talk or study because they wanted to do it in nice and quite shop. So,it is not only because the students like coffee, it is because they like the space and atmosphere there.

The number of coffee shops in Kyoto have been increasing. They serve coffee like Blue bottle coffee and Arabica coffee. Those shops are not only popular with Japanese people but also they are popular with foreigners, such as Koreans and Chinese, we observed. People paid money to buy coffees. They sat down but they didn’t drink it first. They took many pictures from different angles. They posted on SNS, mostly on Instagram. They finally drank their coffees when coffees were getting cold but they seemed happy. People in Kyoto drink coffee a lot and they also eat a lot of bread, so a culture of western food spreads in Kyoto. Many people ordered coffee with some sweets. Perhaps how much coffee people drink and how much bread and sweets people eat are commensurable. In Kyoto, there are a lot of coffee shops and also there a lot of universities. There are many students and, of course, there are many professors too. People in Kyoto tend to like something new so they want to share information. Coffee shops are used as a place where people can share their information. I learned a lot through this research. In Kyoto, there are a lot of students and also foreign visitors of residents. They communicate and share information with each other while they drink coffee.

Bread shop in Kyoto

Bread shop tour in Kyoto

 

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.

Two Kyoto Hotels Welcome LGBT Guests

Nobember,20,2018

by Ema Maeda

 

According to a survey by the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Research Institute in 2016, LGBT accounts for about 8% of the total population. Based on estimate, about 1.92 million people or 8% of the 24 million foreign tourists, 1.92 million people, traveling to Japan in 2016 can be inferred to be LGBT people. It is considered that Japan has many attraction: high quality services like facilities, culture, tradition, arts and foods and those potential make it one of the leading tourist destination in the world attracting LGBT travelers. This article will help LGBT guests to feel comfortable with a stay in Kyoto. This article introduces you to Hotel Granvia Kyoto and Rinn.

 

 

Flag of LGBT

 

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

This hotel directly connects to JR Kyoto Station, “Hotel Granvia Kyoto” boasts outstanding convenience in because it is easy to access anywhere you go. Guests arrive through a modern entrance which stands out for its sophistication and proceed to their rooms, which are perfect for adults to relax and spend time while visiting Kyoto. Since 2006, it has become a member of IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association / International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) that supports tourism of LGBT, and it is said to be a pioneer of the Japan traveling industry. Currently, Ms. Shiho Ikeuchi, director of Hotel Granvia Kyoto Sales Promotion Office, serves as Japan Ambassador for IGLTA.

 

The Service

They do not have a special plans for accommodation, but if a LGBT couple identifies themselves as such in advance, they will put a welcome message with folded cranes of 6 colors, and for customers who stay on anniversaries, they will prepare a pink heart cake. However, these will only be available as requested by the LGBT couple in advance.

 

Also, in autumn of 2015, they changed the sign of the universal toilet in the lobby to the notation “Gender Neutral Bathroom” so that the transgender can use the toilet without hesitation. It is a so-called “anyone’s toilet” sign, but this is the first installation as a domestic hotel in Japan.

 

Gender Neutral Bath Room

Rinn(鈴)

The Rinn hotel group has 35 hotels in Kyoto. These hotels all welcome LGBT guests. These hotels are a type of Machiya, traditional wooden townhouses that are long (deep) and narrow, and so tourists can experience “only-in-Kyoto”. The hotel management wants their guests to experience the daily life of old Kyoto. Toward that end, they have tried to recreate rooms that capture the spirit of ancient Kyoto, but with modern amenities.

The entrance of Rinn 鈴 in Kujo

On January 10, 2018, all members of the staff in Rinn group learned the Hotel Granvia Kyoto’s services and manners for LGBT and prepared for acceptance of these guests.

 

The Services

Guests can rent a single Machiya, which is a bungalow, unconnected to other guests, so that you can stay without having to worry about other guests or surroundings.

 

Inside the hotel, there is a sign that offers a friendly welcome to LGBT guests, and all hotel staff are well-trained so they are always concerned not to be rude to LGBT people.

 

 

Lastly, Kyoto are really trying to be open-minded to the LGBT community, Kyoto city supports “diversity response” which accepts various tourists such as Muslim and LGBT, “marketing survey” using AI and IoT (Internet of things), and also supports aiming at foreign tourists improvement of satisfaction and support for strengthening capture of inbound demand throughout the city. Other services that Granvia began with the temple of Rinzai sect in Kyoto City, Shunkouin and handling of LGBT’s wedding plan for foreigners began in this April. Because gay marriage is not approved in Japan, it is said that there are many inquiries from overseas with a package of 7,700 yen for 2 people with wedding expenses and transfer, rental of costumes.

Gay Wedding Service

Hopefully, LGBT tourists can feel relaxed and welcome when they visit Kyoto and increase more services which focus on these people.

Sake in Kyoto

by Suguru Takauji, Hanami Yanagi & Yuka Yamazaki

Japan has nice alcohol called sake, which a lot of people in both Japan and around the world enjoy drinking. Sake is a really interesting drink because the taste is different depending on the type of water and rice used. Also, there are many ways of enjoying sake. Let’s find out more…

What is Sake?

Sake is an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice or ‘rice-koji’. Koji is the fungus that is used in the process of fermentation. From a legal perspective, sake is also called seishu, in which the alcohol content is less than 22%. The main materials are rice, rice-koji, and water. The type of rice used to make sake is different from the kind people eat. It is called shuzo-koteki-mai, and the size of its grain bigger than that of normal rice. Also, it can be fermented more easily than normal rice.

Although water does not sound like a special ingredient, it does make up 80% of sake. Therefore, the quality of the water is very important for making a sake that tastes delicious. For this reason, all sake breweries are near to a source of good quality water. Water that contains low levels of minerals, like iron and manganese, is good for flavor. In addition, hard water can make a sharp-tasting sake.

In general, people tend to think of sake and other rice-based distilled spirits, like shochu, as Japanese sake. However, the manufacturing process is not the same. Sake is brewed through the fermentation of yeast, while shochu is distilled. Typically the alcoholic percentage of distilled spirits is 25%~30%. The alcoholic percentage of sake is under 22%, and most sake is around 15% alcohol content.

Sake can be drunk in various ways. For example, you can drink it at a wide range of temperatures. Cold sake has a fresh taste, while sake at room temperature is mild. And with hot sake, you can experience the sweet taste of rice.

Sake also contains a lot of amino acids, which can moisturize the skin. It is said that some geisha have used sake as a facial lotion before putting on their makeup. Moreover, sake improves blood circulation, so sake have a positive effect on a variety of different health conditions related to poor blood circulation. Therefore, elderly Japanese people often say sake is good for health. In fact, 60% of healthy Japanese centenarians drink a moderate amount of the sake every day. Drinking moderate amounts of sake is good, while drinking too much sake is not good for health.

The History of Sake

Sake is not the first alcoholic beverage in the world. Alcohol has been around since the dawn of civilization. The earliest form of alcohol probably came from naturally fermented fruit. Wine was first drunk by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia in 4,000 B.C. Beer is the second oldest, first appearing in Mesopotamia in 3,000 B.C. Finally, distilled spirits made their appearance in in Asia in 800 B.C., and later in ancient Greece.

As for sake, people started making it about 1,300 years ago in the Nara period (8th century). However, the people couldn’t drink it freely, but rather only during celebrations and festival rites. People prayed for a good harvest and good health. Also, people drank it to get rid of evil. They believed sake brought gods and people together. For this reason, even today Japanese people often offer sake before Buddhist and Shinto altars.

Tokkuri

The people in the Nara period drunk only cold sake because they thought sake was a holy thing. The custom of drinking hot sake didn’t begin until the Mid-Heian period (about 969-1089). In the Kamakura period (1185-1333), people started to drink sake privately, outside of festivals and religious settings. In the Muromachi period (1338-1573), the drinking of sake became even more common and generalized than before. Moreover, people began using a thin-necked bottle with a round bottom, called a tokkuri, when drinking sake. People also began to bottle sake and sell it for business.

In the Edo period(1603-1868), people started to also make sake during the winter. They discovered that making sake at low temperatures slows down the fermentation process, which results in a good taste and depth. Also, a brewing laboratory was founded in the last part of the Meiji Period(1868-1912) in order to develop faster brewing methods. Since then, Japanese people found science is essential to making sake.

Water

Clean and beautiful water is absolutely necessary for making good sake. Kyoto is called The City of Water because it has tons of water. There are some big rivers that run through the region: the Katsura River from the mountains in the west and north, the Uji River from Lake Biwa (Japan’s largest lake), and the Kizu River from Nara’s mountains in the east. These three water lines provide a great quantity of water to residents. But not only does water come from the rivers, but there is also plenty of water underground in Kyoto, around 20 billion cubic meters. That’s a lot of water, isn’t it? This is the why Kyoto is so famous for sake and has a lot of sake breweries. When you want to make sake, you need a lot of water. For example, to make two liters of sake requires forty liters of water. That is, you need twenty times the amount of water to make a single bottle of sake.

Famous Sake in Kyoto

Famous Sake in Fusimi

There are many kinds of sake in Kyoto, but the Fushimi area in the south of the region is the most renowned. This is mostly because Fushimi has been blessed with the best quality water, which comes from wells.

In Kyoto, the best quality sake is made from the Iwai variety of rice, which grows in the Kyoto region. Iwai is a premium variety of rice that is ideal for making sake. The taste is dry, but offers the taste and smell of rice. So you want to experience Kyoto-style sake, we recommend that you try a bottle made in Fushimi from Iwai rice.

As you can see, sake is a really interesting Japanese beverage. It has the long history and is very traditional. And as Kyoto is the center of ancient Japanese culture, it is the best place to learn about and experience the tradition of sake. Once you visit a Kyoto sake factory, you will undoubtedly by hooked on sake. Then, you will find your favorite one.

Guesthouse Len

by Rena Tokunaga, Maya Kondo & Riku hamaguchi

Len is both a hostel and a café, with a bar and restaurant. It is located about an 8-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. Access to the downtown Kyoto area and the Kamogawa River is convenient, so you can see the beautiful view of Kyoto’s mountains as you approach. Len has a café on the first floor and a hostel on the second floor, so you can enjoy yourself even you don`t stay overnight at the hostel.

Staying at the Hostel

Len has six different types of rooming options. There are Mixed Dormitories, Female Rooms, Queen-size Double Rooms, King-size Rooms, Twins Rooms, and Triple Rooms. You can choose the one you want. The hostel can accommodate approximately 70 guests at a time.

First of all, they have dormitories. If you stay there, you have to share a room with other tourists. In the mixed dormitory, you will share one room with 6~8 people. In that room, men and women can share the room. The price is 2,600 yen per person for an 8-persson room, and 2,800 yen per person for a 6-person room.

In the female dormitory, only women are allowed to stay. So if you come to Japan with only women, it is the recommended room for you. The price is from 3,000 yen for one person.

Next, they have private rooms. In the twin room, there is one bunk bed and a desk if you want to work. Moreover, you can watch the sunrise from the window as well. The price is from 3,500 yen per person.

The triple room has a bunk bed and a single bed. It is bigger than the twin room and also you can see the view of the rising sun. The price of this room is 3,200 yen per person.

The queen double room is quite spacious. It includes a queen-size bed (1700mm), a desk, chair, and a washstand. This room is designed to make you feel at home. They prepare amenities as well. The price of the room is 4,400 yen per person.

The king double room is their biggest room of all. It has a king-size bed (1940mm), your own desk, chair, and washstand. It is equipped with three big windows out of which you can see a spectacular view of Kyoto. You must be satisfied with this room, as you relax and enjoy. The price of the room is 5,400 yen per person.

All shower rooms and lavatories are shared with all guests and open 24 hours. So, you cannot make noise at midnight, for it would disturb other guests. In addition to that, they do not have a curfew, so please consider the other guests if you come back at night or early in the morning.

Check-in & out 

Check in time is from 4pm to 10pm. Please make sure to arrive before 10pm. Check out time is by 11am. They can keep your luggage before check-in and after check-out. It cost you a small fee if you want to keep your luggage the day before you check-in or the day after you check-out.

Café bar and dining

The main floor has a café bar and a diner. These are open to guests and visitors.

Len wanted to improve their coffee, so they asked ONIBUS COFFEE`s recommendation for the best coffee. They serve not only coffee, but also baked goods such as cakes and cookies. The Café is open from 8:00-22:00.

BAR & DINING

The café area is turned into a Bar starting from 17:00. In addition to local beer, they also serve brewed craft beer and bottled beer from all over the world, along with various cocktails. Here, we can enjoy an atmosphere open for conversation and drinks. And the food menu contains a rich variety of dishes, such as all sorts of rice omelets and seasonal items. There are seasonal menu and rare menu that it is contend about “kyo-yasai” , variety of country’s food and traditional food. If you could eat only vegetable, staff and cook can make only contained vegetable meals. If you would not eat a lot of salty nutrition, you can tell staff “please decrease salt in meals”. Staff and cook can make decreased salty nutrition’s meals. And I want you to eat “variety county food”. There are rare meals that it is African past, Italian pasta, Spanish meat omelet and ancient Japanese meals. Ordinary people could not eat and see some it. You can go and relax its menu and you had never seen menus. We recommend that you must go and see your both eye and eye. Probably you will be astonished.

Voices of the Staff

Mr. M

Please visit us by all means because my restaurant is a very cozy space. When you come to Len, we will give the best time to you by serving your our most recommended food and alcoholic drinks.

Ms. R

Len is very recommended shop in because foreign guests very often want to use English with Japanese guests. Also, there are rare alcoholic drinks that cannot be found elsewhere. I think that enjoy because there is a local and limited menu of each country. We look forward to your visit.

Mr. N

We have a lot of foreigners who speak Japanese fluently, so I do not worry if you cannot speak English well. Please have a conversation with them because there are a lot of foreigners who want to know more about Kyoto. We look forward to your visit.

Conclusion

We strongly recommend that you go to Len if you want to speak English and learn about a foreign culture. We guess Len is the best space for foreign lovers because Len has a lot of foreigner guests. Also, the food is delicious and alcoholic drinks are rich in variety. So, you can try a lot of things. In addition, Len is convenient because it is open from 8 o’clock in the morning until 12 o’clock in the evening. Make sure you pay a visit to Len soon!