Glamping in Kyoto

February 28, 2018

by Sakina Nishitsuji, Nami Shinkado, & Shiho Tojo

Glamping is a term combined from the words ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’. It is a new camping style where people can experience some luxurious and comfortable services. It’s like being in a hotel in nature, where guests don’t need to take any camping equipment or pitch a tent. There are glamping areas all over the world these days, as glamping has become so popular recently. It is said that the origin of glamping is in Africa in 1900s. Then, rich Westerners luxury-camped to have adventures in Africa. In short, the high-quality outdoor adventure resort that targeted the well off in the West existed since before the term ‘glamping’ was born.

Why has glamping become so popular recently? There are two main reasons why glamping has become so popular. The first is that glamping targets a wide audience. If you are an indoor person or one who hates insects, you can still enjoy camping comfortably there. Of course, if you are an outdoor person, you will like it, too, because you don’t need to prepare anything in advance. Also, glamping lets you feel as if you were in a foreign country. In nature, you can spend relaxed time.

The second reason is SNS applications. Recently, many people have been using Instagram. People always try to take wonderful photographs to share on Instagram. In glamping, people can take very fashionable photographs because there are very stylish tents, nature, food, beds and so on. It is so popular for Instagram users.

How to spend time glamping


You need lots of equipment to do normal camping, for example, tents, cooking tools, and so on. But with glamping, you do not need anything at all. Everything is provided, such as barbeque sets, cooking tools, and tents. You do not need to buy these. You need only a bag.


Most glamping experiences include a barbeque. You do not need to bring your barbeque tools, as they are provided. Therefore, you can eat a delicious barbeque. You can also use a Dutch oven to roast, boil, steam or fry something. This allows you to enjoy lunch time without preparation.

Free time

In your free time, you can enjoy various activities, for example, canoeing, horseback-riding, and marine sports. And glamping provides not only the outdoor experience. You can also enjoy yoga indoors. You can have some wonderful experiences glamping.

Night time

At night, you can enjoy sitting around a campfire outside. You can drink coffee and alcohol while surrounded by fire, talking with your friends in a relaxed mood. If the skies are clear, you can see the stars. It is a very beautiful view.

What makes glamping unique in Kyoto?

As you know, Kyoto is a famous, cultural city with many sightseeing spot. Therefore, if people go glamping in Kyoto, they can see the sights of Kyoto on their way home. This is why glamping is so special to do in Kyoto as opposed to other places in Japan. Besides, the nature in Kyoto is very beautiful.


One well-known glamping spot in Kyoto is called GRAX. It is located in Rurike, Nantan-city, Kyoto Prefecture. It was established recently and is at present the only glamping spot in Kyoto. There are also different types of structures to sleep in, for example, glamping tents, lumiere cabin, trailer houses, camping junior suite, camper’s glamping tipi, and delux cabin. Each option costs a different amount per night. Which to stay in might depend on the time of year. You can stay there comfortably in the winter, because that rooms are provided some beds and home heater. Glamping tents are the cotton tent which natural lights come through the window. It prepares a kotatsu only in winter. Lumiere cabin is a very comfortable room. They have air conditional and some beds. Trailer house is like your house, so you can relax and spend a day in the nature. Camping junior suite is only winter, it has kotatsu. You should talk with your partner in the kotatsu at camping junior suite. Camper’s glamping tipi is really simple tent. Delux cabin is a two stories building. You can stay here with many people. In this way, GRAX has many types of rooms, so I think you will found your favorite room.

GRAX has many attractive features. First, there is very good hot spring nearby, called Rurike Hot Spring. It is a natural hot spring, so is has always been a popular place to take a bath in nature. You can relax at Rurike Hot Spring for a small fee of 700 yen to 850 yen. Of course GRAX has a bath and restroom, but they are not per person. A bath and restroom are in a common space. Next, you can enjoy eating a BBQ at GRAX, because they provide fresh vegetables and meat. Although it is a little expensive at about 5,000 yen per person, it is delicious and will give you good memories. However if you do not want to eat BBQ, you should take food from your home. This is because GRAX is very much in the countryside, so there are not restaurant nearby GRAX. Next, GRAX provides breakfast. It is depends on a day, for example burger or toast bread. No matter which you make, you will be satisfied with it. Finally, GRAX is lit up in the night. This is very beautiful, as you are able to see a star-filled sky there. And if you stay in the summer, you can sleep outside your tent under the stars. In this way, if you stay at GRAX, you can enjoy not only glamping itself, but also the surrounding area. You can enjoy time in nature with your friends, partner, and family at this most excellent glamping spot.

GRAX operates seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. If you stay at GRAX, you can check in between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., and check out between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. GLAX also offers parking. It takes about 1 hour to get there from the Keihanshin. The address is Sonobe, Kawachi, Nantan-shi, Kyoto Hiroya 1-14.

In conclusion, recently glamping has become popular in Japan. There are a lot of glamping spot in Japan. Among them, Kyoto has a very good glamping spot, called GRAX. We recommend this glamping spot for everyone. We hope you will go there with the people you care most about. It truly is glamourous camping!

Things to Do on the JR Sagano Line

by Miyabi Saeki, Natsumi Awa and Saki Hirobayashi

When you travel to Kyoto, which transportation do you use? There are many rail lines in Kyoto, such as the JR (Japan Railways) West line, and the Hankyu line, which are mainly in Kansai area. Taking the train is the best way to go to various sightseeing spots in Kyoto, because it is hardly ever delayed and the traffic in Kyoto sometimes bad, especially around the sightseeing spots. The JR Sagano line is the one of the most convenient rail lines, not only for local citizens, but also for tourists. There are 15 stations from Kyoto Station to Sonobe Station. On the way to Sonobe Station, you can see beautiful scenery through the window of the train, and of course you can get off the train and go and see these areas more closely. These are some recommended stations, which are near famous sightseeing spots.

Nijo Station

Nijo Station is located in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, between Tambaguchi Station and Enmachi Station. It is two stations and 6 minutes away from Kyoto Station by train. Many people use it because all trains stop at this station.

Recommended Sightseeing: Nijo Castle

You can get to Nijo Castle from Nijo Station in 15 minutes on foot. It was built in 1603 by the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, so this is a very famous castle in Japanese history. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. 400 cherry blossom trees and many other trees are planted on the Nijo Castle premises. When the cherry blossoms begin to bloom in the spring, every year they light up the trees after dark. Also, you can see snowfall in winter. Therefore, you can enjoy the seasonal nature at Nijo Castle. Special events are also held in Nijo Castle, such as the aquarium exhibition held in 2017. Admission is very reasonable for adults at 600 yen. Junior high school students and high school students pay 350 yen. You can check event information on the website.


Uzumasa Station

Uzumasa Station is located in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, between Hanazono Station and Arashiyama Station. It is a very small station, but there are many universities around there, so many people use it.

Recommended Sightseeing: Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Toei Kyoto Studio Park is a theme park where you can experience the world of TV samurai dramas. You can get there from Uzumasa Station in five minutes on foot. The admission fee is 2,200 yen for adults. You can also buy a book of attraction tickets and an annual passport. Inside the park, you can experience a film set of a town set in the Edo period, which is used in actual television shooting. There are also other attractions such as a haunted house and live shows. The park and its attractions can be enjoyed by adults and children all day. Also, there are Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean versions on the web site, so it is recommended that foreigners who are interested visit the web site.


Saga-Arashiyama Station

Saga-Arashiyama Station is located in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto city, between Uzumasa Station and Hozukyou Station. Many people use this station for transferring to the Trokko (Trolley) train. This station is near Arashiyama and you can walk to there, so many tourists pass through this station. Trokko train is train for tourists to enjoy the beautiful views of each season. This station was built in 1897 for cargo and passengers, and in 1994, the station’s name changed from Sagano station to Saga-Arashiyama Station.


Around the station, there are many attractive shops and restaurants. For example, there are some meat store where you can buy a croquette and eat it while you walk. It is enjoyable to sample the croquettes of each shop. Also, there is a café called Sagano-Yu. This building used to be a public bath, but is has been converted into a café. You can eat lunch there and buy some souverniers.


Hozukyo Station

Hozukyo Station is located in between Saga-Arashiyama station and Umahori Station. This station is actually on a bridge between two tunnels running through the mountain. The view from the station is very beautiful and we can feel the strong presence of nature. This station was built in 1936 near the current Trokko Hozukyo station, and in 1989, the station was placed on the bridge. There are no buildings around the station, but under the station runs the Katsura River. In the summer, many people enjoy white-water rafting downstream, so you can catch a glimpse of rafters enjoying the river if the timing is right. Many people also enjoy cycling and hiking in the area.

Seishun 18 Ticket

There is no discount ticket only for the JR Sagano line, but if you travel to Kyoto, and some other places in Japan, you should buy a Seishun 18 ticket. This is a 5-day train pass that costs 11,850 yen. You can use it at almost all JR stations in Japan. Also, if you travel to Japan with your friends or family, you can share it. However, it can be used only on local trains, so you can’t use it for the Shinkansen (bullet train), limited express trains, or sleeper cars. If you are interested in this ticket you can research it on the internet, as there are other kinds of passes as well.

As you can see, there are many things to see and do along the JR Sagano line. If you would like to go to some famous and traditional Japanese sightseeing spots in Kyoto, you should definitely use the JR Sagano line.

The Saiin Area of Kyoto City

by Sae Kawabata, Mayu Matsumoto and Mayumi Otsuka                                                        

Hi! We are students of Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. In this article, we are going to explain about the Saiin area in which we live and where our university is located. Saiin is in the west-central part of Kyoto city and is part of the Ukyo Ward. Nearby are three train lines, so Saiin is a high-traffic location and therefore has many commercial facilities. The number of incoming and outgoing passengers of Saiin was 37,896 people in 2016.

Café Branche

In Saiin are, there are a lot of cafes. So, we will introduce one cafe that we would like to recommend you for lunch: Branche. Branche is both a cafe and gallery where you can eat lunch and buy products such as clothes, furniture, bags and eating utensils. It is near Saiin station on the Hankyu line, so it takes about 10 minutes to arrive on foot from the North Gate of Saiin station. At the lunch time, the cafe is bustling with young people like university students and housewives. It is especially popular with young ladies.

There are three set menus for lunch. The first is a rice set. It costs 1,050 yen and includes a main dish, five side dishes, a salad, miso soup and white rice. The main dish is changed every ten days. The second is a white bread set. It costs 950 yen and includes a club sandwich with pork and burdock salad, two side dishes, and some clear soup. The third is a curry set. It costs 950 yen and includs well-stewed curry with vegetables and chicken soup, three side dishes and a salad. In addition, these set menus include one drink. You can choose either hot or iced coffee or hot or iced tea. Therefore, you can have dessert for an additional 250 yen. Reservations can be made by phone call.


Pagong is a clothing store in Saiin that sells Aloha shirts, bags, cardigans and so on. The main selling point of this shop is that designers make all the clothes using Kyo Yuzen, a Japanese traditional dyeing technique. The distinctive feature of this craft is that we can use more color in Kyo Yuzen than in the ordinary way of dyeing.

The history of Pagong is as follows. A man named Mr. Kameda started a dyed clothing shop in 1919. Around that time, Japan was waging war and its people lived a harsh and brutal life. He hoped that peace will come to Japan again. After the war, he made luxurious Kimono using dyes of red, yellow and so on. This is the origin of Pagong. In 2001, present owner wanted to use designs of Kyo Yuzen, which was made past by craftspeople. He wanted foreign people know this Japanese traditional craft. Therefore, he made aloha shirts using the skill of Kyo Yuzen.

Kiku and Matsu are Japanese plants, and their meanings are to wish for long life. Botan is also a Japanese flower, and it represents the gain of wealth and status. You can make your choice using this information when you buy clothes in this store. In addition, you can buy clothing as a souvenir for your friends, family, and so on.

Daimonji Ame Honpo

Daimonji Ame Honpo is a traditional kyoame store in Saiin founded in 1919. Kyoame is a one of the most popular traditional products of Kyoto, it is a kind of candy. Their refined candy which is made in Kyoto contain Kyoto vegetables and fruits flavor. By the way, do you know the Daimonji event in Kyoto? On the night of August 16th each year, the Kanji “大” appears on the mountains. Furthermore, there are other words and shapes on four other mountains surrounding the city of Kyoto. All of them together are called Kyoto Gozan Okuribi. By the way, why did the store named Daimonji come to sell one of the most famous products in Kyoto? The store founder has idea of connection of Daimonji, Daimonji Kyoame will become seasonal tradition. They have main products which name is “Daimonji”. There are 9 flavors in it, strawberry, green tea, sesame, soy, black sugar, chocolate, orange, arare which means hailstone and Kyoto’s soup which means gravy or juice of Kyoto products. In addition there are many kinds of Kyoame for example using kyoto specific products like Kyoto vegetable and seasonal things, throat candy, tea flavor candy and so on. Furthermore, you can order special kyoame at this store on the internet, for wedding gifts or birthday presents. Also, children can experience making kyoame with craftsman in this store for only 2,000 yen. Children can feel the achievement and pleasure of giving their own handmade kyoame to other people.

Good Information on Saiin

There are many good spots in Saiin. Saiin is a comfortable area for students to live in for several reasons. First, there are many transportation options. There are two main train lines: the Hankyu Kyoto line and the Keifuku Denntesu Arashiyama line. For example, you can get to Kawaramachi on the Hankyu line in 7 minutes, go to Arashiyama on the Randen line in 25 minutes, and also can go to Osaka for 40 minutes on the Hankyu line.

Also, if you have gone sightseeing in Osaka the day before, and you want to come to Kyoto today, you can take the Hankyu line from Umeda station straight to Saiin.

Also, Saiin is a miniature city of students. Kyoto University of Foreign Studies and Kyoto Koka Woman’s University are the main universities in Saiin, but some students of Ritsumeikan University, Hanazono University, Bukkyou University and Kyoto Saga University of Arts live in Saiin, too. Therefore, apartment rental prices are little lower than in other places in Kyoto.

In the spring, people enjoy cherry blossom parties under the cherry blossoms along the Tenjin River in Saiin. There are many cherry trees along the Tenjin River, from Gojo Street to Sanjo Street. This spot is not so famous for tourists, but rather is only known by the locals. We recommend a stroll along the river to take it easy and enjoy the beautiful colors.

As you can see there are many attractive places and things in Saiin area. Why don’t you visit Saiin area and makes special memories in Kyoto? We recommend you to come Saiin area after you enjoyed popular Kyoto sightseeing spots, beacause Saiin has a local attraction.

Access Information


Tel: 075-925-8133

Adress: 4-Jo-machi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto 615-0066, Japan

Time: 11AM-6PM (day off: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday)

Access: Hankyu Kyoto line Saiin station North Gate 10minutes walking



Tel: 075-322-2391

Address: 17, Saiin Nishimizosakicho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto city, Kyoto, 615-0046, Japan

Time: 11AM-6PM

Access: It takes 15 minutes from Saiin station to this shop on foot.



Daimonji Ame Honpo (大文字飴本舗)

Tel: 075-312-1568

Address: 28, Saiin, Higashizyunnnainncho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto 615-0011, Japan

Time: 9AM-5PM (day off: Sunday and holiday)

Access: Hankyu Kyoto line Saiin station 2 minutes walking

Bus from Kyoto station: bus station B3, Number 205 bus, at bus station “Nishi Oji”


10 Minutes Mont Blanc

by Shiori Iwawaki, Maya Kondo & Eri Inaba

Do you know the Mont Blanc that you cannot eat without lining up in Kyoto? Mont Blanc is originally from Piemonte, Italy and it means White Mountain. A French chef was the original creator using a chestnut candied syrup called marron glace. In 1933, a Japanese chef, Mr. Keizo Nishida, went to Italy to learn how to make Mont Blanc, bringing the technique back to Japan. However, at that time not many people knew about Mont Blanc in Japan. Nowadays Mont Blanc is a very famous sweet in Japan. People think that Kyoto is famous for green tea, but it’s not 100% true. There is a now a shop called 10 Minutes Mont Blanc in Kyoto which is very famous right now. In this article, we would like to introduce about this shop’s history, its Mont Blanc, and interview its owner.

The owner of 10 Minutes Mont Blanc is named Mr. Keizo. He opened the shop in Kyoto because he was born here in Kyoto. One more reason is he worked at many bakery stores after he graduated from high school and he wanted to run a shop by himself. The reason he wanted to work at a bakery store was when he was a high school student was he first saw a wedding cake. From that time, he wanted to make a cake by himself. He finally managed to open his own shop at near Nijo castle, in the Sanjo-kai shopping district. The name of the shop was ‘Sweet Cafe Kyoto Keizo’. Before he managed to run this shop, he had worked at a first-class confectionery shop for 40 years. At that time, he wanted to open a shop offering to customers amazing sweets as soon as they are ready to serve. It has made happen by building his own pastry studio. He restricted a building which had been there for 100 years to create a beautiful shop. Because of it, people can feel missing and relaxing.

From inside his shop, we can see the garden that leads to the pastry studio. We can sit in a terrace seat and smell the scent of sweet cake. Then, we can observe the process of making the cake. Mr. Keizo wants to give customers a fresh taste, because he believes a cake that has already spent time waiting to be eaten is not a good for offering to a hungry customer. The concept of this shop is based on this principle, so they give the cakes to the customers as soon as they are prepared.

We asked Mr. Keizo about how to make the Mont Blanc, so he gave us permission to go inside of the pastry studio. Therefore, we were able to watch carefully how the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc was being made. First of all, they squeeze whip cream in the middle of a plate, and then put a sponge cake on the top the whip cream. Next, they put a crunchy meringue over the sponge cake. This crunchy meringue is the most important point of the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc. It takes about three hours to make the meringue, and the chefs have to pay close attention because the baking time may vary depending on how they mix the dough. Toward the end of the process, they squeeze chestnut paste all over the meringue. Finally, they decorate around the plate with chocolate sauce, sprinkle some white sugar powder and put a single chestnut on the top of the cake. They make the Mont Blanc after their customers place their order. They don`t stock the Mont Blanc in advance, but rather they start the process after the customers place their order. After the customers order the Mont Blanc, they can go to the pastry studio and watch how their pastry is being made. 10 Minutes Mont Blanc means if you eat it within 10 minutes, you can feel the meringue is crunchy. But if you wait longer than 10 minutes to eat it, the meringue become soft and the texture become totally different from the crunchy one. Therefore, you can enjoy two kinds of meringue textures with just one Mont Blanc.

We asked Mr. Keizo how he invented the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc. Then, he answered that he wanted to use meringue as a protagonist in this sweet story. As everyone knows, meringue always plays a supporting role; never the protagonist in the production of a sweet. He discovered the right type of meringue when he was making a chiffon cake, as it uses a lot of meringue. When he tried to bake the meringue, it became crunchy. This was the first step in the process of making Keizo’s Mont Blanc. Moreover, Mr. Keizo wanted to let the customer imagine the inside of the cake. The top four most popular cakes are shortcake, cheese cake, minnefeuille and chocolate cake, but these cakes can be seen through to the inside. On the other hand, the inside of a Mont Blanc can not be seen, so we must imagine what it looks like and what it is made of. However, to make use meringue as the main ingredient, you cannot take the pastry homme because it will not last long. The most challenging part of making a 10 Minutes Mont Blanc is to make a crunchy meringue. Therefore, they can only serve the pastry in the shop itself in order to keep the meringue crunchy.

Mr. Keizo said that he was most confident about his staff. This is because they are all able to explain about the menu and go to the customer’s seat and explain about the food and dessert. Also, Mr. Keizo wants all the customers to enjoy and smile and go back home and feel that they were glad to come to this store. His happiest moment is when a customer says with a big smile, “It is so delicious, I will come to this shop again.” For him, the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc is like his child because he worked so hard through trial and error to create it. In the future, he wants to make a new kind of Mont Blanc that is relevant to the season in which it is eaten, and made with seasonal ingredients like pistachio, cherry blossom, pumpkin, and many others. Moreover, in the shop there are many other kinds of cake, so he wants the customer to taste other things as well. Now, many people say “Let’s go and eat 10 Minutes Mont Blanc,” but he wants customers to say “Let’s go to Mr. Keizo’s shop” and “which cake should I eat today.” This is his goal and he wants to spread this shop around the world as well.

As you can see, Mr. Keizo has a lot of feeling for 10 Minutes Mont Blanc, and his store’s staff can give customers that same feeling when they explain about the way to eat the Mont Blanc. The staff said to us “Let’s enjoy the sound of the crunchy meringue, using a fork and knife.” After that, we started to eat with a fork and knife, and listened the sound carefully. When we eat just Mont blanc, it taste still dark, but when we eat it with chocolate sauce, that is becoming sweeter. From the beginning to the end, we could enjoy feeling the change of texture. After we left the shop, there was a long line of people waiting to get in. Finally, Mr, Keizo described 10 Minute Mont Blanc is as his son, so you should go and try this amazing cake.

Kurumazaki Shrine

by Mayu Nihari, Ayu Kitora & Yuki Fujimoto

Kurumazaki Shrine (車折神社) is a shrine located in Saga-Ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto prefecture. It is located a little away from Sagano and just between Arashiyama and Uzumasa. This shrine enshrines Yorinari Kiyohara (清原頼業, 1122-1189), who was a Confucian scholar in the late Heian period.

Praying at Kurumazaki shrine has various benefits such as academic success, economic fortune and good relationships. It is especially popular with entertainers, who frequently visit. It is popular as a power spot in Kyoto.


History of Kurumazaki shrine

Originally, in 1189, it is said that the building was constructed to mourn Yorinari Kyohara, who was the predecessor of this shrine. After he died, from his name, Hojyuinden, a temple called Hojyuin was built. This temple existed until the Muromachi period, and when the Tenryu Temple was founded in Arashiyama by Ashikaga Takashi (足利尊氏), it became a branch temple. In addition, many cherry blossom trees were planted in the surroundings because he loved the cherry blossoms. Therefore, as the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, it was called Sakuranomiya.

The origin of Kurumazaki is that when the Gosaga emperor visited Kurumazaki shrine, his car stopped suddenly. He wondered what it was, so he asked people who lived in the shrine. They said that this shrine was dedicated to Yorinari Kiyohara. He was impressed and he conferred upon it the title Kurumazaki.

Mifune festival at Kurumazaki shrine

The Mifune Festival  was held for the first time in commemoration of Emperor Showa in 1928.  It is held on the third Sunday of May every year, but is cancelled on rainy days. The festival uses boats as a way to pray to the gods. It was held in the Arashiyama River in the Heian period, where it is still held today. It is a traditional event.

First, they do a Japanese ceremony for the appearance for gods. The ceremony is important for gods to move from the shrine to an oxcart. The oxcart goes to the river.  Next, they go boating with gods. There are four boats for dedication and gods move to the boats. These boats are called Gozabune, Ryuutoubune, Gekisyusen and Mitomobune. Every year a woman is selected to play the role of Seishonagon (清少納言), and she waves a special fan on the Gozabune. Seishonagon was a historical person and a great poet in Heian Period. Also, Gagaku plays traditional Japanese instruments on the Ryuutoubune. Gagaku is traditional Japanese music and had spread around Japan in Heian period. Besides, some people sing Imayouuta on the gekisyusen. Finally, Mitomobune goes with Gozabune. Mitomobune is just go with Gozabune together, it’s a duty of the boat. Finally, the gods go back to the oxcarts and go to Arashiyamatonguu. Then gods then return to the shrine.


Tessai Tomioka

Tessai Tomioka (1836-1924) was a Japanese artist in the Edo period. In Kyoto, he studied history and Buddhism. At first, he served as a priest at Ishigami Zingu (石上人宮) and Otori shrines. After that, he served as a priest at Kurumazaki Shrine. Because of this, there are many his works at Kurumazaki Shrine. There are about 100 works there, and many artists are attracted to them. In addition, he said “I do not paint meaningless pictures.”

Talisman for Entertainers

Inside Kurumazaki Shrine is Geino Shrine, literally the “performing arts shrine,” which is known to help entertainers.  As it is said that the god of performing and fine arts is enshrined here, this shrine is extremely popular with a variety of entertainers. You can see a fence around the shrine made from more than 2,000 talismans bearing the names of famous entertainers, such as the singer Atsushi from the popular band EXILE.

Divine Power of Kurumazaki Shrine

The divine power of Kurumazaki shrine is also effective for studies and exams.

It seems that it has an effect on conventions and management, too.

It is effective for promises at the individual level, for lovers, money making, company contracts of shops, etc. For example, you can pray to borrow money, pay back lent money, and becoming better at the management of your household economics.

Power Stone Amulets

Kurumazaki Shrine is often associated with its power stone amulet called Kinen Shinseki. Before you receive a Kinen Shinseki, your must rinse your hands and mouth at the temizuya, a place for ritual cleansing of hands and mouth with water when visiting shrines. Then you worship at Kiyome no Yashiro to purify yourself.

After that, you can receive a Kinen Shinseki. When we went there, there were two types of Kinen Shinseki: a portable amulet (700 yen) and a household amulet (500 yen). Both types have sacred stones in them.

Finally, in front of the main shrine building, put your power stone amulet between your hands and make your wish with all your heart. Those who are in show business have to visit Geino Shrine after that, and do the same thing there, too. They carry the portable Kinen Shinseki every day, or put the household Kinen Shinseki somewhere in your home higher than eye-level and pray to it every day. If your wish comes true, fetch one stone from a mountain, a river or your home yard, and write a thank-you message on it. Then bring it to the shrine and place it in front of the main shrine building. Also, return your Kinen Shinseki to the box by the main shrine building.


Kurumazaki Shrine is one of the traditional places in Kyoto. It is located between Arashiyama and Uzumasa. It enshrines Yorinari Kiyohara, who served the Emperor during the Heian period. Many stones are dedicated to the main shrine. We highly recommend going to Kurumazaki shrine. Especially, you will be able to see a very beautiful view of cherry blossoms in the spring.


Kurumazaki Shrine is open to the public from 9:00 am to 17:00 pm and admission is free. It takes 35 minutes by bus from JR Kyoto Station. Alternatively, get off at the Keifuku Dentetsu station ‘Kurumazaki Shrine’.

Keifuku Railway ”Kurumazaki-jinja Station”Near
Hankyu Train ”Arashiyama Station”(A 20-minute walk)
JR Sanin Line “Saga Arashiyama Station”(A 15-minute walk)

Address: 23 Sagaasahicho, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto


Phone: 075-861-0039

Open:8:00 a.m〜5:30 p.m

Nishijin Brocade

by Motonari Iwamoto, Kana Kobashi & Kensuke Nagai

Nishijin Brocade is one of the traditional crafts in Kyoto.  Traditional crafts are disappearing year by year in Japan.  We have to protect traditions and pass them on to the next generation.  However, some traditional crafts are changing with the times. It is important to keep traditions, but sometimes it is not enough.  If the traditions change and evolve, people will pay attention to them and will want to know their history.  Therefore, we researched Nishijin Brocade and thought about its future.

Nishijin Brocade is a general term for Sakizome – or dyed textile goods – created in a certain region of Kyoto. Sakizome refers to the prior dying of the threads before the cloth is actually woven.  There are many different types of these textiles produced in small quantities.  Nishijin Brocade has been designated as a national traditional craft since 1976.  There are many kinds of Nishijin Brocade and they are all beautiful and produced delicately.  So, it is used in many products like Noh costume, a long outer garment, obi (traditional sash), underwear, neckties, and so on.  The name ‘Nishijin’ comes from the area of the city where the brocade was produced and traded.  It is in the northwest section of Kyoto.

History of Nishijin Brocade

As the Onin War (1467-1477), which split Japan into two parts, ended in the Muromachi era, textile craftmen who were spread out across the country returned to Kyoto.  The production of textile was resumed around this area, where it used to be a territory occupied by a western military troop led by Sozen Yamana during the War.  The textile town prospered before the war, an area known today as the northern west part of Kyoto, which had started being called Nishijin around that time.  The name of Nishi (west) – Jin (territory) was derived from the territory of the western military troop.  The site of residence that was owned by Sozen still remains at Itsutsuji-iru, Horikawa-dori in Kamogyo-ward.

Nishijin Brocade Types

There are 12 kinds of brocade that have been designated in Japan, and there are three different weaving machines to produce them. Now we will introduce some types of Nishijn Brocade.

The first is Tsuzure.  In this type, the weft is three to five times thicker than the warp, where the weft wraps around the warp.  So, the warp does not appear on the surface of it.  This way of weaving involves many small techniques, so it takes long time to finish.  The oldest it in world was made in 1580 B.C., around the same time as the 17th Egyptian dynasty period. In Japan, Sehei Izutsuya was the first person to weave it in the Edo period in Nishijin.

The second is Nukinishiki.  It is a general term of brocade that is woven with several threads and it is used to make gorgeous brocades.  Many of Nishiki brocades use Enuki that weft needs surface of the pattern. Nukinishiki represent most of brocade.  It has longest history of Japanese brocade weaves.  Its origin isn’t known for certain, but it said to have been woven from more than 1,200 years ago.

The third type is called Kasuri-ori.  It is created with some patterns by the warp and weft are resist printing in some designs.  There is the brocade of the satin weaving.  It represents a simple weaving.  At first, it began in India and then it arrived in Thailand, Burma, Java, Sumatra, Okinawa and finally to Japan.

There are five stages to the production of Nishijin Brocade.  The first is the planning. Producers think of the design and then decide on the pattern that how to make it with which colors.  The second stage is the preparation of the materials yarn sellers in white silk and dyers prepare them.  Nishijin brocades are weaved silk yarn of high quality. The third state is weaving.  Representative Nishiki-ori and Kara-ori are weaved by jacquard loom. Jacquard loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804.  In the old days, producers used Sorabikibata. They weaved Nishijin Brocades two people, so they can’t produce many products.  However, they began using jacquard loom, they can produce many products.  The final stage is that products are given a certificate stamp issued by the Nishijin Brocade Industrial Association.  It indicates the number of producers, kind of obi material, and structure of the fiber used.

Presence and Future of Nishiijin Brocade

In the past, the designs were drawn by hand, but today they are done on the computer.  As it became digitalized, making corrections became easier, but a lot of the work is still manual labor.  Recently, with the assistance of big designer names such as Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, the industry is starting to focus on expanding abroad as well.  The new Nishijin strategy is to create interior designs, shawls, and bags.  As the number of foreigner visitors has increased recently, many wear kimono, and in order to adapt to this, producers started making foreign sizes as well.

There is a technique of knitting, which is a very complex structure, and this technique is weaving from a thick thread into a fine thread.  The complexity of building this technique will probably be close to the top in the world.  In addition, this technique is used on space projects.

We knew about Nishijin Brocade from before, but we made sense to be throughout this research.  It is used in many products, so recently many foreign people are interested in it.   Also, Japanese young people pay attention to it because the industry is now collaborating with some famous brands.  Time moves on, so traditional crafts have to evolve with time.  And we have to study about it and tell next generation from now.  If we and traditional industry do that, traditional crafts won’t disappear and they will keep their history.  Won’t you help to protect our traditions with us?

Gourmet Tour of Uji

by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta Kobayashi, Takanori Tsuhako

Uji is a city located in the south part of Kyoto. There are many famous historical spots there, such as Byodoin Temple and Ujigami Shrine. That is why if you are interested in Japanese history, you can enjoy a visit to Uji. Moreover, you can also feel nature in Uji because this city has a good river running through it and it is surrounded by mountains. In addition, Uji is an attractive place for people who like eating delicious food. Uji is famous for Uji-cha, which is a kind of green tea famously known as one of the big three green teas in Japan. It has been produced since the Kamakura era (1192) and it was a very expensive tea in those days. Because of that, there are a lot of nice shops where you can drink Uji-cha or eat sweets that are made from Uji-cha.

Getting There by Train


There are two train stations in Uji: the JR Uji station and the Keihan Uji station. The JR Uji station is the most accessible station for sightseeing in the center of Uji. It is suitable for people who arrive at JR Kyoto station by Shinkansen from Tokyo or Osaka. On the other hand, the Keihan Uji station doesn’t connect to the JR Kyoto station directly, so it is good way to get from Kawaramachi after doing sightseeing at Kiyomizu temple or the Heian shrine. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to Uji from Kyoto station, so it really is a short trip.

Main Sightseeing Spots


Ujihashi is a bridge spanning the Uji river, which is a Class A river running from Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture in the northeast. Its color looks like emerald blue and makes us calm. It was built in 646, making it the oldest bridge in Japan. Its length is 155m and width is 25m.

Koshou Temple

A shady path surrounded by lively trees marks the way to the entrance of Koshou temple. It is named Koto Saka and has very moderate incline to the temple. In autumn, all the leaves turn to a vivid red, and its beauty attracts visitors every year. Unfortunately, very few leaves were red when we visited the shrine because it was still the beginning of November. We recommend you that you go there at the end of November. You will most certainly be stunned by its landscape. It is about a 15-minute walk from JR Uji station, crossing over Ujihashi.

Ujigami shrine


A short walk up from Kousho temple brings you to Ujigami shrine. This shrine is one of the popular sightseeing spots for visitors to Uji. It was built at the end of the Heian era (From Wikipedia). The main shrine (in the above picture) is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan. It is also part of the Koto Kyoto-no Bunkazai, which is registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.



There are no Japanese people who haven’t yet seen this famous structure. This is Byodoin-Hououdo, which is a kind of temple. The elegant and dignified main temple with two gold phoenixes on top appears as a reflection in the small pond in front. This always fascinates all visitors in every season. Also, this main temple can be found on the Japanese 10 yen coin. That’s why it is super famous in Japan and so recognizable to Japanese people. You must visit here when you go to Uji. It is a 15-minute walk from JR Uji station.

Delicious Food and Refreshments

Uji Cha (Green Tea)

Uji is known as the one of tea production areas in Japan. The tea produced around the area is a kind of green tea, called Uji cha. Its taste depends on how much time it is brewed and at which temperature it is made. For example, you can enjoy the real taste of green tea made with hot water. In contrast, green tea made with cold water tastes so sweet, and in this way results in reduced levels of caffeine. Green tea has been loved by all Japanese for a long time due to its good effect on our health, such as activating blood flow, preventing diabetes, and so on. The green tea in the picture is not the usual green tea. It includes plenty of sugar so that even people who don’t like the taste of green tea can still enjoy drinking it. It tastes so sweet and is easy for everybody – including foreign visitors – to enjoy.


Ice Cream

Even in the extreme cold of winter, Japanese people are willing to buy ice cream, not to mention in the heat of summer. In Uji, you can eat locally made ice cream. It has two different flavors: macha (Green tea) or hojicha (Roasted green tea). You can often see a lot of macha flavored ice cream shops in the center of Kyoto. However, as for hojicha, it is a rare one for visitors from another country. It is a refreshing flavor compared with that of macha. Make sure you compare each taste and feel it by yourself because it is difficult to explain. Each costs approximately 300 yen. There are a many stores selling this type of ice cream, so you can find it easily.




Cha-dango are rice dumplings flavored with green tea. This is a traditional snack in Kyoto, especially in Uji. It looks so cute. The flavor spreads throughout your mouth as soon as you put it into your mouth and chew it. Its flavor and texture depends on each store. So you can enjoy a wide range of Cha-dango in Uji. One stick with three rice dumplings costs anywhere from 50 to 80 yen. It is very cheap and can satisfy your hunger. Just be careful not to eat too much. You don’t want to spoil your lunch!





Model Plan Route


After arriving at Uji station, your main way of getting around would be walking because Uji is so compact city that you can walk. Except for Koshoji Temple and Ujigami Shrine, there is not so much slope.

First, let’s go to Uji Bridge from JR Uji station. It takes about five minutes on foot. Crossing the bridge with seeing nice view. After crossed the bridge, please turn right. It leads to nice path, especially in fall, autumn leaves are beautiful. On your left side, you can see Koshoji Temple and Ujigami Shrine. The slope is a little hard but please visit there. Especially, Ujigami Shrine is a world heritage site, so you should visit there. After visiting temple and shrine, let’s across another bridge called Asagiri Bridge. This bridge is smaller than Uji Bridge, but you can walk more comfortable than Uji Bridge.

Lastly, let’s go to the main tourist attraction in Uji, called Byodoin Temple. This temple is a model of 10 yen coin. You can take out your 10 yen coin and compare them. Around Byodoin Temple, there are a lot of nice restaurants, sweets shops, and souvenir shops. You can visit there and enjoy famous food in Uji.


Kyoto Station → (20 min.) JR Uji Station

Kawaramachi Station → (40 min.) Keihan Uji Station

↓ Walk (5 min.)

Uji-hashi (Uji Bridge)

↓ Walk (10 min.)

Koshoji Temple → Ujigami Shrine

↓ Walk (10 min.)


Tamba Wine

by Hiroaki Kawakami & Yurie Natsume


Now, there are four major wine production regions in Japan. These are Yamanashi, Nagano, Hokkaido, and Yamagata. Especially, Yamanashi prefecture is known for its excellent wine, so there are a lot of wineries in the prefecture. However, one winery which is different from the four major production areas is in the spotlight now. It’s Tamba winery in Kyoto prefecture. Tamba winery is located in Kyoutamba district, and it is the only winery in Kyoto. Now, we will show about the history and attraction of Tamba wine.

History of Tamba Wine

Tamba winery was established in 1979. Its founder, Tetsuo Kuroi, went to Europe and was impressed by French wine there. Therefore, he decided he wanted to produce wines in Japan. His ideal was that the wines should agree with Japanese food, so he rented a sake brewery in Kyoto and started to produce his ideal wines there. In 1981, he sold his first wine produced in the Tamba winery. The reputation of Tamba wine was established almost immediately, and only two years later in 1983, Tamba winery won the gold prize of Monde Selection, a prestigious wine contest. After that, he gradually increased the number of cultivars and descriptions of wine. In 1984, the Tamba winery started to sell new brews, called nouveau in France. Now more than 40 species of grapes are grown as tests in the Tamba winery. When they can cultivate better varieties, they can produce wine with the grape as authentic products.

The Vineyard


What Makes Tamba Wine Special?

Tamba wine is different from other Japanese wine and overseas wine in its aromas and in its feelings it produces on the tongue. These differences are attributable to its production methods. Most of wine makers in the world ferment the intact juice of grapes, but Tamba winery first clarifies the juices of grapes before the process of fermentation, especially for its white wine. This method makes the wine smoother and fresher than other normal white wines. In regards to its aromas, the location of Tamba winery is deeply related with a unique scent. Actually the land of Tamba winery was originally a sake brewery, so the founder started producing wines with the exaxt same facilities and equipment that the sake brewers used. So the brewing machines still contain traces of the flavors of rice-malt, giving Tamba wine sublte aromas resembling those of Japanese sake. Hereby, they can produce the wine that is suitable for Japanese foods. Based on these factors, it can be said that Tamba wine is a perfect fit for the cultural climate and preference of Japanese people.

Wine curve


Now we are going to introduce two products of the Tamba winery.

Tamba Toriino Pinot Blac Sur Lie

The first product is white wine by the name of Tamba Toriino Pinot Blanc Sur Lie. This is made from the white grape called Pino Blanc. The color is clear yellow with a greenish tinge. In terms of aromas, it doesn’t just contain a roasted flavor derived from casks of oak, but also traces of rice-malt, honey, and apple. The taste is so rich, resulting from maturing in oak casks, and the sharpness of its sour taste is attributable to features of Pino Blanc and the climate of the Tamba district. However, the sour flavor is definitely not harsh. White wines made in Bourgogne of northeastern Frence sometimes contain too much sour taste, derived from abundant mineral compositions like Chablis. On the other hand, we can feel the comfortable and refined sour flavor in Pinot Blanc of Tamba Toriino.

Tamba Toriino Pinot Noir

The second wine is a red wine by the name of Tamba Toriino Pinot Noir. This is made from Pinot Noir, which is one of the most famous black grapes in the world. Furthermore, Pinot Noir is very famous as the grape which is considered difficult to cultivate. The color is like a deep ruby with a garnet edge. In terms of aromas, it contains various scents like watery soil, sweetly scented herbs, cedar, and black tea. The attack of taste is so soft and velvety, but tannins contained in the wine are rather strong. The aftertaste is as long as those of the wines made in New World, including America, Chile and Argentina. The global impression of this wine is that the Pinot Noir of Tamba Toriino is closer to New World’s wine. However, Tamba wine is milder than wine from the New World – which is fruity – so Tamba wine is suitable for Japanese dishes.

Tamba Toriino Pinot Noir & Tamba Toriino Pinot Blanc Sur Lie


Today, the sales of retailing of wine targeted at individuals is increasing year by year in Japan. This data shows that Japanese people often drink wine with Western dishes, but few people often pair it with Japanese dishes. Most Japanese people might think that Japanese dishes are not suitable to pair with wine. However, this thinking is wrong. Features of wine can be changed by the climate, the soil and the maker, so we must make an ideal wine that can be suitable for Japanese food. The wine from Tamba winery proves that this can be done. We believe that Tamba wine gives Japanese wine a big hope. We hope you try these wines of Tamba so that you can know new horizon regarding Japanese wine.

Tamba Wines

The Charm of Kyo-Machiya and a Machiya Hotel

We wonder how many people know about it Kyo-Machiya, Machiya is a type of house that can be seen throughout Japan, but Kyoto is especially famous for it. It is a traditional wooden townhouse that has been used in one form or another from the 8th century to the 1th century. The typical area of a Kyo-machiya is determined by a frontage width of about 6 meters and a length’ of about 20 meters or more. Because of this long and narrow shape, people call them “unagi no nedoko” which mean “eel beds” in English. Even now, there are over 45,000 of the traditional and historical machiya in Kyoto city. They make cityscape more beautiful and have been attracting people as a symbol of Kyoto for centuries. However, the number of machiya has been decreasing because they are torn down by owners who face high maintenance costs, inheritance taxes and the simply the inconvenience of living in such a traditional space. The decrease of machiya means the loss of the beautiful cityscape in Kyoto. Machiya should be known by more people and should be preserved. Therefore, we would like to introduce machiya hotel in Kyoto to make more people aware how nice they are! Fortunately, we had an opportunity to contact with Akiko, the owner, who has a machiya and uses as an accommodation in Kyoto city.


The name of the hotel is Kyo-machiya Kokon Higashiyama Holiday Home Kyoto. It is located in Higashiyama-ku, Chaya-cho, Kyoto and is only 0.5 km from Hokoku Shrine, 1.5 km from Kiyomizu Temple, and 2.5 km from To-i Temple and the Kyoto International Manga Museum. We could get there in 15 minutes by foot from Gojo Station. Although the location is very good, the place is very quiet. The appearance was very traditional, but at the same time was also very new and clean inside. There is a kitchen, bathroom, toilet, living room space on the 1st floor and 4 beds, chair and desk on the 2nd floor. Whatever guests might need are already stocked inside; there is even a washing machine, dryer and etc. If you stay there in winter, you can use a kotastu, which is a low covered table with a heater inside. Furthermore, there is information in English for foreign guests.


On the 2nd floor, we could see black beams on the ceiling. The contrast between white walls and black beams looks modern and very beautiful. Most interesting point was the toilet, because it was outside. The type of the toilet is familiar with old style Japanese house. You can find it in “Sazae-san” and “Chibi Maruko-chan,” which are Japanese famous cartoons. Also, you can enjoy a tsubo niwa, which is a very small Japanese garden that can be seen from living room. It was cute and tastefully laid out. Most of the customers are foreigner the owner said. Tourists want to have new experiences in Japan by spending time in the Japanese traditional house. I want more people to know about the existence of machiya hotels and want them to use them more. If the demand increases, we can save more machiya and keep the beautiful cityscape, too!

image If you visit in Kyoto, you should stay in a machiya hotel.

Hirano Shrine

Kyoto is one of the best places to experience the four seasons. For example, in fall you can see lots of beautiful autumn leaves everywhere, and in winter you can see wonderful temples or shines covered by snow. Especially in spring, you can see cherry trees in full bloom. Many people say that Hirano Shrine (平野神社) is the best places to see these beautiful cherry blossoms.

The History of Hirano Shrine

Hirano Shrine is located in northwest of Kyoto. In this area are many famous landmarks: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kinkajuji Temple, and Ritsumeikan University. Hirano Shrine was established in 794 when the capital was changed to Heian-kyo from Nagaoka-kyo. When you visit Hirano Shrine can see the large torii (a gateway at the entrance to a Shinto shrine) and you can pass through it for fee. The shrine has been involved with Japan’s Imperial Household and Imperial Family. This shrine is very famous for its cherry blossoms. There are about 400 cherry trees of sixty different types on the shrine grounds. Every spring, many tourists come to visit here to see the beautiful blossoms.

Events at Hirano Shrine

As already stated, Hirano Shrine is famous for cherry blossoms. A cherry blossom is on the crest for the shrine. The origin of it is from the Heian period and at that time Emperor Hanayama had thousands of cherry trees planted on the shrine precincts. One of the cherry trees in Hirano shrine is called “Sakigake.” It comes from this Shrine and it is said that when this cherry tree starts to bloom, then people in Kyoto start to have cherry blossom-viewing parties. Cherry blossoms are not usual, but special. Every year, On April 10th, Hirano holds a cherry blossom festival. People cannot merely see these trees, but can also see them lit up at night from March 25th to April 19th. When the light up is held, music concerts are also held. They are held outside and free of charge.

Shops around Hirano Shrine

I want to recommend going to lunch and takinga break around Hirano Shrine. At first I recommend going to Shikura ramen (Chinese noodles) shop. The ramen here is based of the pork-bone broth. It is so popular that at lunch time there is always a long line. Next I want to recommend you to go to Tawaraya. This shop is famous for udon noodles. It serves a really different style of udon. It is famous for very thick and long udon that you cannot eat at any other udon shops. Next I recommend you to go OKONOMIYAKI JYANBO. This shop is famous for okonomiyaki and fried noodles. Their okonomiyaki is really big, so it is a good place to go for growing boys. Next I recommend you to go to the Harbor Cafe. This shop is nothing special, but it is open 24 hours. So you can go there after a walk at night time.

In conclusion, Kyoto has a long history, so there are many kinds of temples or shrines. And each temple or shrine has a best season to visit. The season you should visit Hirano Shrine is spring. Please enjoy the four seasons in Kyoto!