May 29, 2017
by Mayumi Otsuka, Mai Takezawa, and Kanako Wakamatsu
You can see Kimono (old style Japanese clothes) all over Japan, but especially in Kyoto. Kimonos have many different patterns and colors, but do you know how many of them are actually designed? Well, the designs on kimonos are often achieved by dyeing, using a method known as Kyo-yuzen. Here, we would like to introduce some aspects of this unique dyeing method.
1. History of Japanese dyeing methods
2. What is Kyo-yuzen?
3. How to dye by using Kyo-yuzen
4. Kyo-yuzen in foreign countries
5. Actual experience of Kyo-yuzen
History of Japanese dyeing methods
There have been a lot of dyeing methods used in Japan over the years, and most of these were developed from Chinese dyeing types. These were introduced to Japan several thousand years ago, and taught by people from China or Korea, they formed the basis of Japanese dyeing tradition. Before this people dyed clothes very simply by applying different types of grass, flowers or even mud. In the Asuka era, in the middle of the 6th century, there was a system developed that divided people by the color of the clothes they wore. This was to distinguish between class and status, and required greater use of color in fabrics and design. In addition, in the Nara era, in the 8th century, international trade was increased, which meant further diversification in dyeing methods were introduced and spread all over Japan, with each area developing its own style. One of the most famous of these was Kyo-yuzen, a dyeing method created in Kyoto that became hugely popular. Next, we would like to introduce this unique and beautiful, traditional Japanese item.
What is Kyo-yuzen?
Kyo-yuzen is one of the dyeing methods developed in Kyoto during the Edo era of the mid to late 17th century. At that time, there was an artist in Kyoto by the name of Miyazaki Yuzensai, who had built a reputation for the exquisitely drawn folding fans he produced. Due to this, his patrons soon began to encourage him to apply his artistic skills to designs for kimono, too, which he did. Following this, his name quickly came to be associated with top class kimono design in Kyoto, hence the name that was given to this particular dyeing style, Kyo-yuzen.
There are some interesting features unique to Kyo-yuzen that need to be noted. First, it is possible to apply any kind of design you want, just like drawing a picture. Second, there are many colors and hues used in the production of Kyo-yuzen pieces. Third, a technique using elements of glutinous rice is used to guard against colors mixing or merging together. Finally, Kyo-yuzen is done by combining more than one dyeing method, and requires several steps to achieve a final result. Through this, Kyo-yuzen is quite superior to other dyeing methods and has become very popular all over the world.
Kyo-yuzen in foreign countries
As we said before, Kyo-yuzen is very famous globally. For example, some events involving Japanese culture have been held recently in Paris, and there are sales booths for Kyo-yuzen products set up there. At the booths, stainless steel mugs that are made in cooperation between Japanese Kyo-yuzen craftpersons and craftpersons in Paris are sold, and these are also available in Eigamura, a very famous sightseeing spot in Kyoto. Selling a large number of these mugs means expanding the exposure to traditional crafts of Kyoto to people in foreign countries
How to dye by using Kyo-yuzen
There are two main types of dyeing method used for Kyo-yuzen. One of these is hand painting, and the other is using stencils. First, we will explain the hand painting method:
- Think of the design you want for the cloth and make a design pattern
- Trace the design onto the cloth
- Apply the special glue ② to prevent the colors from mixing with each other (this is called Itomenorioki)
- Apply the colors to the cloth
- Steam the cloth
- Wash the cloth
- Steam the cloth again and stretch out the wrinkles
- Using a stencil, draw the design onto special Japanese paper and cut out the pattern to make the stencil
- Paste the cloth onto a wooden board that is called “Yuzen-Ita”
- Put ① onto ② and dye
- Same as ⑤～⑦ of hand painting method
Actual experience of Kyo-yuzen
In Kyoto, visitors can actually experience Kyo-yuzen at some special studios. Participants can experience dyeing cloth items like handkerchiefs, wrapping cloths, and so on. One session is usually about one and a half hours long, and costs between 1,500 yen and 2,500 yen. Therefore, you can experience a traditional craft of Kyoto easily, and after the lesson, you can take the Kyo-yuzen item that you made with your own hands home with you.
Japanese dyeing methods have continued to develop over the centuries, and Kyo-yuzen especially. This method was created by combining a lot of different dyeing methods, which have been improved upon over time, and have become famous all over the world. You can buy Kyo-yuzen items in many places in Kyoto, and you can also make them by yourself. Why not give it a try!
One of the studios where you can experience Kyo-yuzen is “Marumasu-Nishimuraya” in Kyoto city.
Here’s their website: http://www.marumasu-nishimuraya.co.jp/
You can reserve an experience time and get the access details there.
By: Shiori Iwawaki, Hina Uematsu, Mina Ito
There are several types of kimono, and they vary from place to place. In this article, we will introduce ‘furisode’. Furisode is a kind of kimono and is important to Japanese because almost all Japanese women wear it at least once in their lifetime. We will look at what a furisode actually is and its history, and will introduce three typical situations where furisode can be seen.
History of the furisode
A furisode is a style of kimono that can be worn in the coming-of-age ceremony which is called Seijinshiki. The furisode originated in the mid-1500s as middle and upper-class children’s clothing for both sexes, and at that time it was not worn by adults. At first, furisode had quite short sleeves and were used as everyday wear. However, furisode is a form of very tight clothing, so some people couldn’t wear them all the time as they were not practical. As time went by, sleeves became bigger and bigger and they became an elegant form of dress worn mainly on special occasions. Nowadays, popular furisode have long sleeves, but at first they weren’t that long. In the Genroku Era, from 1688 to 1703, furisode sleeve lengths were about 55cm to 95cm, but in the Edo Era, furisode sleeve lengths became about 95cm to 122cm. There was actually a reason that the lengths became longer, and that was because they started to do special dances at that time, and the movements looked much more beautiful if they had longer sleeves.
According to a 17th century text, boys could wear furisode until their 18th year or until they went through their coming-of-age ceremony, while girls were supposed to stop wearing them when they married or reached their 20th year. Initially, furisode were not that different for boys and girls, but fabric designs started to become more gender specific in the 19th century. In the 20th century, furisode became restricted to women only, mainly due to western influence on clothes for boys and girls. As the furisode became increasingly associated with young adult women, the shorter-sleeved children’s type became known as Wakiake. This means open-sided, in English.
When and where they are worn
Furisode are mainly worn in three situations. One of them is at a wedding as an attendee and another is at Yuino. Yuino is a proof of engagement ceremony when both families and the matchmaker gather together. However, the most common situation for Japanese is at the coming-of-age ceremony. People who became 20 years old are called ‘seijin’ in Japan and a coming-of-age ceremony is held on the 2nd Monday in January. On that day, women who became 20 years old wear furisode and celebrate becoming ‘seijin’. Originally, furisode could only be worn by women who were not married, therefore, almost all women wear furisode in the ceremony even though they are already married. Also the design of furisode has changed. In the past, the designs of furisode were older, traditional patterns, which could fit the Japanese mind, but now, along with the times, the designs are changing to more common patterns like leopard print. There are many more kinds of design than a long time ago, so we can choose from a large variety of patterns of furisode. The clothes which we wear today are comfortable to wear and easy to move in, too. On the other hand, furisode are very tight and hard to wear and move and run in.
Do you know the differences between kimono and furisode? Actually, they are basically the same. As there are many kinds of dresses, so there are many kinds of kimono. All furisode have long sleeves, but they can be divided into three different types, which are ko-furisode, chu-furisode and o-furisode. The ko-furisode is usually worn with a hakama for graduation ceremonies. The sleeves are a little bit shorter than furisode sleeves at about 75-87cm long, but they are still longer than standard female kimono sleeves. The chu-furisode is the most common type of furisode. Young girls usually wear it during their coming-of-age ceremony. The chu-furisode has medium size sleeves somewhere between ko-furisode and o-furisode, and the sleeves are about 91-106cm long. The o-furisode, also called the hon-furisode, is the most formal furisode, and mostly worn by brides. The O-furisode has super long 114-125cm sleeves, as well as a train. They are quite heavy, and difficult to walk around in. Furisode come in various styles and designs and it is lovely to see women and girls still wearing them in modern society, on their wedding days, special occasions, and especially on the day of the coming-of-age ceremony.
by Mayumi Otsuka, Mai Takezawa and Kanako Wakamatsu
Have you ever heard of ‘Geta’?
Maybe you know “Kimono”, which is a traditional style of Japanese clothing, but how about “Geta”? Geta are a kind of shoe or sandal, and Japanese people wear them when they wear Kimono, like women wear high heels when they wear dresses. Here, we are going to introduce Geta to you in three ways:
What are Geta?
History of Geta
Different types of Geta
In addition, we are also going to give you some surprising facts about this interesting Japanese clothes item.
What are Geta?
As we mentioned before, Geta are a kind of old Japanese style shoe and people wear them with Kimono or Yukata, in general.
Geta are usually made of wood, with the price changing by the kind of wood used. If Geta are made of “Kiri”, for example, then they would be a high price indeed. There are some different styles of geta, but in general, they have three main components to them; “Dai”, “Ha”, and “Hanao”. Dai is the base board that people put their feet on, and Ha are the pieces of wood that support the Dai from below. Ha means teeth in Japanese, and the name comes from the side view of a Geta. Geta usually have 2 “Ha”. The Hanao is made of cloth and it is placed on the Dai. When people wear Geta, the Hanao passes between the big toe and the second toe, a little like a beach sandal. Geta consist of these 3 parts, and this type of Geta is the latest type. Then, how about the old style?
History of Geta
In olden times, Geta were made and used as work shoes in Japan. In the Yayoi period (about BC 300 ~ BC 300) people in Japan started using “Ta-Geta” (“Ta” means “rice field” in Japanese). At that time, rice farming was started, and people could not move easily in the rice fields because the ground was muddy and soft. Therefore, they made Ta-Geta to make it easier to work in rice fields. However, Ta-Geta did not have Ha and their Hanao were made of straw. Furthermore, another style, “Nezura-Geta” (“Nezura” is a kind of fish in Japan), were used on the beach or in the shallows. Nezura-Geta had needles attached to their soles, like spiked shoes, and people wore them to catch fish.
During the Heian period, (BC 794 ~ BC 1185), one type of Geta, “Takaba”, which had only one Ha, were worn by priests. They usually wore them when they climbed up and down a mountain. It sounds very difficult to climb up and down a mountain wearing Takaba, but apparently they were quite suitable for slippery mountain roads. However, towards the end of this era, nearly all the common people wore “Zouri” (that were made only of straw and very simple) instead of Geta, and Geta became a rare and expensive thing for the average person.
It wasn’t until the Edo era (BC 1603 ~ BC 1868) that people started to wear Geta again, and this was because people started to become more interested in fashion. They wore Geta not only as work shoes, but also as a fashion item. Also, up to then, Geta had usually only been worn on rainy days, however, from the middle of the Edo period, people began to wear them on sunny days, too. Thereafter, the skill of making Geta improved and the shops selling them began to appear, and in greater numbers. Because of this, more than 200 kinds of Geta were made at that time, and Geta became more and more famous among common people. So, what types are there around now?
Different types of Geta
Actually, there are many kinds of Geta still worn now, and a good example is “Ippon-Geta”. They have only one Ha, supporting piece, and are very good for your body balance. If you wear them, it can make your upper body stronger. It is also said that wearing Ippon-Geta can heal back pain or gonalgia, too. Another type is called “Tengu-Geta” because it has been said this type of Geta was worn by Tengu, a sort of Japanese monster, and also god, that has a long nose and red face. This simple variety is very similar to the Ta-Geta we introduced earlier.
Finally, we have “Okobo”. Okobo are often worn by Maiko. We talked about Maiko in a previous article:
The height of an Okobo is about 10cm, and are worn mostly by women. In the “Shichi-Go-San”, a festival in Japan to celebrate the healthy growth of children, girls often wear them. They also go by some other names, including Pokkuri, Koppori or Bokkuri, but this is different from place to place.
Geta is a traditional Japanese shoe, and, in olden times people used them as work shoes. Now, however, they are worn still as a fashion item, too. Recently, in Kyoto, the number of rental Kimono shops is increasing because of the number of foreign visitors interested in this style. If you go to one of these shops, you can try wearing Kimono and Geta and go sightseeing with them on. Also, most of the shops have hairstylists, so if you are women, you can try a traditional hairstyle. It costs around 3,000 yen 〜 6,000 yen, so we recommend you to try it. It may be difficult to walk wearing Geta for the first time, but it really is a uniquely Japanese traditional experience. You will surely enjoy Kyoto even more if you try out the old Japanese clothes style, Kimono and Geta!
by Sakura Hatsuta, Risa Hasegawa, and Kensuke Nagai
Nowadays, tourists who come to Kyoto are increasing. They are not only Japanese, but also foreign people. Therefore, Kyoto needs to have hotels as much as possible, although there are a lot of hotels now. Most of the hotels in Kyoto are Western style. However, there are also places to stay in which foreign tourists can experience Japanese life style. That is Ryokan. They can know about Japan from many Japanese style buildings, World Heritages sites, temples, Japanese foods and many kinds of Japanese souvenirs. However, if foreign tourists want to know and experience more traditional Japanese way of life, it is better to stay in a Ryokan. The most important difference between Ryokan and the regular hotel is that guests sleep on the floor on the sleeping mats which for some people are very convenient and comfortable, and the floor is usually Tatami. Tatami is the floor covering of traditional Japanese houses and temples. Similar to a straw mat, it is made of several rice straw layers, interlaced and compressed, and covered with a thin layer of a rush called igusa(Juncus effusus) which is also laced. In addition, you cannot walk in your shoes in the Ryokan, but slippers are provided. That way the place is cleaner, and it actually feels like you are in somebody’s house rather than in a hotel. In your room you will find yukata, which is a Japanese robe similar to kimono, which you can put on while you are in the Ryokan.
First, there is a long history of Ryokan. As I said before Ryokan is traditional Japanese style inn. It is now everywhere in Japan but especially Kyoto has a lot. Ryokan has been part of Japanese culture since the Edo period, which is 1603 to 1868. The Edo period was the first long period of domestic peace in Japan. It made domestic travel safe for the first time in Japanese history. People began to travel around Japan so Ryokan welcome these tired travelers who needed to rest and eat something before continuing their long travels. That is one main reason that Ryokan was born. As time went on, there came to be many Ryokan at various areas in Japan. However these were only for wealthy people at that time because it was pretty expensive to stay in them and not many people had money for travel around Japan. Some Ryokan were very simple – just people with extra rooms in their homes for travelers. In any situation those owners worked hard for making their guests feel as welcome as possible. They can still do the same today. When the Meiji period began, there came to be hotels, which were western style inns. These were imported from western countries to Japan. Therefore hotels became more common than Ryokan but even if Japan has many more hotels than Ryokan, these old style accomodations still play an important role in the tourism industry. Also Ryokan has not really changed their traditional style from Edo period. It sometimes depends on which Ryokan but most of them are have almost the same style. As an example, they usually have Futon (sleeping quilts), Shoji (sliding Japanese doors), Zabuton (sitting cushions), Tokonoma (an ornamental alcove built into the wall used for placing flower vases and hanging scrolls), Oshiire (a closet for futon sleeping quilts), Engawa (enclosed sitting area separated from the room Shoji) and agari-kamachi (after opening the door guests step into this small area and take off their shoes). These styles have not changed for a long time and even now a lot of people, especially people from overseas, enjoy staying Ryokan because they can experience Japanese culture. We should more take care of such traditional Japanese style inns and pass on this enjoyment to next generations.
What do you have in your imagination about Kyoto? Many foreign touists expect to see Kinkakuji temple or Ginkakuji temple, of course those are very famous in the world. However, Kyoto has more wonderful places in many ways. So we recommend the most Japanese-style hotel in Kyoto that is kadensyo in Arashiyama. The dish in this hotel uses local produce, therefore we can experience delicious local foods. There is a good onsen and it is near Arashiyama station, so the place is popular with many temples, especially Tenryuji temple, Seiryoji temple and so on. We can see those temples lighted up beautifully in the winter season, many foreign travellers come to see them with their family or partner. Of course, Japanese visitors come to look at them, too. Any other romantic place is togetsukyo bridge, that is just a bridge, but it is beautiful at night , especially when it may be lighted up in the winter season. However, in summer we can see cormorant fishing and in fall we can enjoy autumn colors. The cormorant is a bird which is trained to catch fish and bring it back to a boat. Tame cormorants often catch sweetfish, and they can be seen from Togetsukyo bridgewith someone. And togetsukyo is famous place for wedding proposal, so many couple of boyfriend selects there for speaking special words.
Many old buildings or houses are being destroyed to make new hotels in Kyoto. However, we had better to keep those buildings or houses. That is because we can make Ryokan by using them and increase the number of them. If there are more Ryokan in Kyoto, foreign tourists can find those places easily and feel free to stay. In addition, to let foreign tourists who come to Japan know and understand more Japanese culture or Japanese life style, we should recommend them to stay Ryokan rather than stay in regular western style hotels.
Yuri Kamakura, Akane Kaneta
Temple is one of the great Zen temples in Kyoto. It was founded in the Muromachi period by Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, who was a shogun at that time. Although, Shokoku-ji was destroyed by fire and rebuilt again and again, it has the oldest Zen lecture hall (hatto), originally built in 1605 and it is an important cultural asset. It has a large dragon painted on its ceiling.There is a wooden sculpture of its founder, Muso Soseki, in the Founder’s Hall (kaisando), which is only open at special times in the spring and fall. Also the hojo, the abbot’s living quarters in a Buddhist temple, a sutra library and Benzaiten shrine are all tangible cultural assets of Kyoto city.
The Temple’s Origin
“Shokoku-ji” means “helping the country” or “governing the country.” This terminology original comes from China. In Japan, the Minister of the Left (in medieval and pre-modern Japan) was called “Shokoku.” Yoshimitsu Ashikaga was the Minister of the Left, so his temple was named “Shokoku-ji.” In China, there are “Taishokoku-ji” which was a temple and the beginning Gozen or “Five Mountains” system. The Gozen system designated the top five Zen temples in Kyoto.
Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji
“Kinkaku-ji” and “Ginkaku-ji” are branch temples of Shokoku-ji. Kinkaku-ji was founded by Yoshimitsu Ashikaga. Later, Ginkaku-ji was founded by Yoshimasa Ashikaga.
Shokoku-ji has a wide variety of activities. Zazenkai or Zen meditation meetings are held for lay people twice a month. Since 1999, the Enlightenment Activity Committee was set up to explore proper measures for religious outlook for several problems in a modern society. They have regular study and training and publisha transcripts of lectures they hold in cooperation with teachers of various fields.
This museum is located in the temple grounds and contains many treasures. It has a deep relationship with the tea master Sen-no-Rikyu, so its collection of items related to the tea ceremony is substantial. On permanent exhibition are many important cultural properties, such a bokuseki or ink painting and the tea implements, etc. Now, this museum has five national treasure and many excellent cultural properties include 143 important cultural properties.
65years of age older・College students：600円
Junior and senior high school students：300円
Primary school children：200円
Zen meditation is a practice of Zen Buddhism; it is a means to wake up. People want to live like Buddha, sit and hope that get the enlightenment. Since it’s difficult to continue alone the temple holds zen meditation meetings. It’s encouraging if there are others doing meditation with you.
Every month second fourth Sunday
But there are flying off, be careful.
Zen meditation ９：００ ～ １０：３０
Lay sermon １０：３０ ～ １１：００
「Imadegawa」 near the subway station
「Doshisyamae」name of nearest city busstop
by Manami Otahara & Miki Sawai
Our travel dairy: Fukakusa’s loves story
We visited Fukakusa to see Fushimi-inari shrine. It is very famous shrine, so people visited to there from around the world. People visit to see many Torii. Torii separates gods and humans. Torii looks like shrine gate made of wood, the color is bright red. Fushimi-inari shrine is the main shrine of all the inari shrines in Japan. Other Famous place is Fuji-no-mori shrine, it has to with Japanese emperor Tenno. This shrine is famous Ajisai festival and the god is known for having luck in games, so people visit this shrine. When we visited this shrine, we saw may beautiful Ajisai. Ajisai is one of the flower in summer. Next place was main the temple for this trip. This temple is Gonjo-ji temple. Gonjo-ji temple is has to with our report.
Fukakusa’s love story
The place we visited is called Fukakusa. It is called Fukakusa because a long time ago, a person named Shosho-Fukakusa lived there. He loved Onono Komachi. She was most beautiful woman in Japan in Heian period. He loved her, but she didn’t love him, so she got an idea. The idea was very simple, he met her every night for 100 days. Her house and his house were far away. The distance was about 7 km, but he would like her to be his wife, so he met her every night. First day, second day, 97th day 98th day 99th day, he met her with peanuts. On the 100th night, she waited for him. However, didn’t come. That day he died because of heavy snow. The next day she found out that he died. She was very sad, so she was planted his nuts in her village. Later the nut grew and the tree is believed to be 1,000 years old.
Gonjo-ji temple is a very important place. This is where Fukakusa lived. There is a pond and this pond is where he looked at himself. There is a big Buddha in this temple, and Fukakusa and Komachi are buried here. Her house was in Yamashina. Yamashina is a town on the border of Kyoto and Shiga, so her house and his house were far away. However when she heard that he died, she was very sad. Therefore when she died, she was buried in this temple.
68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto
609 Fukakusatoriizakicho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto
1038 nishimasuyacho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto
Learning how to Kyo-Kanoko: A special trip to the Miyako-messe
by Manami Otahara & Miki Sawai
Today we went to Miyako-messe. Miyako-messe is a museum, you can see traditional crafts in Kyoto. When we entered in Miyako-messe, we were very surprised, because there are many people in there. In Miyako-messe, you can see demonstration by craftspeople. The demonstrations are very powerful, so we were excited. Next, we went to the souvenir corner. You can buy many kind of traditional crafts. For example, scarfs, bags, hair accessories and so on, however we were most impressed by the Kanoko.
There are 74 traditional crafts in Kyoto. Everybody knows about kimono, however not everyone knows Kanoko. What is Kanoko? There are two patterns of kimono, one is dyed, another is woven. Kanoko is dyed cloth. Kanoko is used for Kimono and Kanoko is one of the 74 crafts. However it is different from dyed Kimono. There are many bits and wrinkles. How is it made? It is made from one piece of cloth. The cloth is made by craftspeople. Craftspeople twist one by one.
How many twists do you think it takes to make Kanoko? One hundred? One thousand? This Kimono is twisted three hundred thousand times. When people make Shibori Kimono, it takes 6 months to 1 year. Why does it take a lot of time? Why is called it Kanoko shibori? The reason is because Kanoko means young deer in Japanese. Japanese people believe Kanoko looks like a deer pattern, therefore people say Kanoko.
In 7c, Kanoko was introduced to Japan from India. This was written about in a book and there are some Waka poems about Kanoko Shibori from 7c as well. In 10c, Shibori was worn by princesses, princes, and rich people. In the Edo period, it was around as a brand clothes in Japan, and it was made in Kyoto, which was called Kyo-Kanoko Shibori. For a long time, craftspeople passed on the technique of how to twist from generation to generation.
In Kyoto, are there many souvenirs? If you come to Kyoto, what souvenir will you buy? Sweets? Kimono? Macha? I recommend Kanoko. Kanoko is used to make hair accessories and it is a reasonable price. Kanoko Kanzashi is a good item, because Maiko wear Kanzashi. Kanzashi is a hair accessory, and it is able to hold up your hair with only one stick. It is very cute! Another one is furoshiki, it is big cloth, so it can wrap ground something. For example, you can wrap a present in it to become a bag so it is easy to carry. If you come to Kyoto, you should buy a Kanoko item for a souvenir for your family.
9-1, Okazaki Seisyoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8343
by Kanako Murakami and Ayane Yoshikura
Kyoto and Ghosts
The old capital, Kyoto has been connecting with a lot of ghosts since ancient days. On Ichijyo-street at Jyokyo-ku in the north part of Heian-kyo and it is said there is a border line between the daily life and not so. Ichijyo-street is the place where people meet ghosts. Now, this street is famous as Yōkai Street.
Yōkai Street is located in Jyokyo-ku, Kyoto and its official name is “Taishōgun shopping street”. These are many ways to set here. The nearest stations are Kitanohakubai-cho on the Keihuku Electric Railway and Kitanotenmangu by Kyoto city bus. You can go by the easily walk from either station. It is easy to find this street because there are some flags at the beginning. This project started in 2005 by Mr. Jyunichi Kono, a ghost’s culture researcher. The first function was a costume parade of ghosts in 15 October 2005. They reenacted HyakkiYagyō by marching down the Ichijyo-street dresse as ghosts. HyakkiYagyō is a parade with lots ghosts in midnight. It is said these are found mainly age of Heian in Kyoto. Ghost events are not only at Yōkai Street. Randen- Yōkai Train held at Arashiyama Electric Railway is another event. Usually the rate for adults is 200 yen and child is 100yen but if you dress as a ghosts, your rate will only be 50yen. Anyone adults and children participate in this event. There is also a costume contest.
Ghosts in Yōkai Street
Ghosts in Yōkai Street have great originality and they are very mysterious. There are some ghosts who are designed in the motif of goods are sold at stores in Taishōgun shopping street and some ghosts who are famous in Japan. For example, a ghost which is designed like a loaf of bread in a bakery, at a fish shop, it is designed like a fish, in a drugstore, it is designed like a bandage. There are also Nurarihyon (the ghost who looks like an old man with big head and he is sometimes said to be leader of ghosts), Rokuro-kubi (the ghost who wears a kimono and most people think that this ghost has the ability to stretch its neck to great length) and neko-mata (a monster cat) which is famous in Japan. The most popular ghost is white bread-ojisan who lives in a bakery.
Taishōgun shopping street has a mascot character, Yagyōdōji. It is not designed like a product though. Yagyōdōji is a child who has three eyes. He is considered to be a messenger of the god, Henge Daimyojin. This god can change old tool to ghosts. Yagyōdōji is active in some events, not only in Yōkai Street, but also in Kyoto. For example, in Yōkai Street, Yōkai art flea market, an event where the general public sells their original goods of the ghosts and Ichijo Street HyakkiYagyō, an event where the people disguised as a ghost parades around the Ichijo street take place several times a year. The ghost of old tools is called Tsukumogami. It’s said that the idea appeared from the ancient people’s mind to save old tools. In Taishōgun shopping street, they hand down the importance of recycling through Tsukumogami.
Revitalization of a town by ghosts
In 2005, Ichijo Street was renamed Yōkai Street. The street started revitalization of a town by ghosts. Some goods of ghosts are sold in the shopping street. For example, Yōkai korokke which is a green croquette, Yōkai ramen which is a black ramen and so on. These entertained the people who visit the street. And Yōkai camera which is application for smart phone has been provided. You can take a picture which includes a ghost when people take a picture in Yōkai Street with this application. Things like these have been an opportunity to visit increase to Yōkai Street.
A big influence of Yōkai Street
Yōkai Street is a landmark event that connected old tradition and shopping street having necessaries of life. But now many shopping streets are out of vogue in Japan. The biggest reason is the appearance of large commercial complexes. Many shopping streets are decreasingly. But if you come here, you may feel something warm all its own. There are many not chain stores, only family run shops. The shop assistants and customer are very close. Yōkai Street is a big chance to take back former Taishōgun shopping street. I hope that everyone will visit here not only on event days but every day to buy something and enjoy talking to the local people.
by Yuya Fukuda
If you walk a few minutes from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, you will be able to see a mint green pretty church in the middle of local residential area. This building is The Holy Annunciation Cathedral in Kyoto of The Orthodox Church in Japan.
On the 10th of 1903, this Church was built. At that time, this church imported many iconostasis. For example, St. appliance, Chandelier, chandelle stands and carpets from Russia. Nowadays, those important things are not exist in other orthodox churches in Japan, and even in Russia, many of those things were lost after the Russian revolution.
During the Russo-Japanese war, this church had a difficult time, but after the war, they solaced Russian prisoners of war. When they returned to Russia, they offered 2 Icons to this church. At the end of the World War II, this church faced the danger of demolition. But immediately after this decision, the war finished, and the church was saved from the danger of demolition. Though twice restorations, in 1987 and in 1999, the original building still exists. In 1986, this church was designated a cultural property of Kyoto city.
The building was designed by Shigemitsu Matsumuro. This Church is one of the oldest Byzantine Architecture Orthodox Church in existence in Japan. The total area of the building is 21,778m, in addition to that, the dimensions are: 1) Depth 27,21m 2) width 15m 3) height 22,3m. The unique part about this building is the wooden copper roofing.
Our first contact with the Orthodox Church was in 1861. It was brought by St. Nicholas of Japan (baptised as Ivan Domitrievich Kasatkin). St, Nicholas was sent as a presbyter to a chapel of the Russian consulate in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
His first converts in Japan were the retainers of the Sendai Domain. For that reason, there are many Orthodox churches in Tohoku region. In 1891 St. Nicholas founded a cathedral church in Kanda, Tokyo. This Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral is known as Nikorai-do today. Japanese Orthodox Churches got over very difficulties, such as Russo-Japanese war, the Great Kanto earthquake, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Fifteen Years War(1930-1945), which was part of World War II. In 1970, Orthodox Church in Japan became an Autonomous church of Eastern Orthodoxy under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On the 5th of July, I visited this Church, and joined in its Divine Liturgy for the first time. It was my first time to visit a church or worship. At first, I was surprised at its simplicity. I thought churches were more gorgeous, like Catholic churches with stained glass windows. In this church, there were no frescos on the ceiling, or statues. In spite of its simplicity, I felt the holiness from the many icons, hymns and the sounds of the bell. And through the worship, I found that this church is not only a legacy, it is still used today among local Japanese, Russians and other foreigners from orthodox countries. I also felt that these Orthodox Churches are a centre for the Slavic community in Japan. In the church, they think about their home, and they receive peace of mind in the far away and foreign country of Japan.
Address; 6-283, 2-Jo Agaru, Yanagino-banba, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto city