Making Japanese Sweets at Kanshundo

May 29, 2017

By Yuri Nonaka, Karen Takeda, Mayu Kuwahara

“Wagashi” are Japanese traditional sweets. The continental culture of Tang China was introduced to Japan by special envoys during the Nara period. At that time so Tang cakes were introduced to Japan. The Tang cake was used as an offering and they became popular among the Heian aristocrats because the cakes were so beautiful. The Tang cake was deeply related to the Imperial Court and it developed forms that were peculiar to Japan. Confectioners who made “wagashi” polished their skills and created graceful wagashi. They named each wagashi after the beauties of nature. Besides, when tea was introduced to Japan by Eisai, a Zen priest who founded Kenninji Temple, “kyogashi” (Sweets made in Kyoto) were already developed here. Kyogashi sweets were made with high-quality water and natural ingredients of Kyoto, so they were praised by Japanese people.

 

kansyundo

 

We went to Kanshundo (甘春堂) confectionary on November 14th to make kyogashi and interview wagashi makers. It took one hour and fifteen minutes to make four different wagashi cakes. One of them was higashi, which is made of sugar and has little moisture.  I made one that was in the shape of a maple (momiji) leaf. The others were jyonamagashi, which contains candies, creams, jam, or jellies, and is very moist. Each wagashi reflects the changing seasons, therefore, we made autumn ones. These days, wagashi makers are taking in Western holidays such as Halloween and Christmas.

 

namagashi

 

  Interview

Q : What kinds of customers do you deal with? Do foreigners also come here?

A : Many high school and junior high school students and families. And recently, foreign customers have been increasing. They are also great at making wagashi, because some of them learn waka and haiku.

Q : How many customers come per day?

A : The number of customers depends on the day, but the maximum is 180 people per a day.

Q : How much does each wagashi cake cost?

A : From 100 yen to 1000 yen. An assortment is usually between 2000 yen and 5000 yen.

Q : What is your recommendation?

A : “Chajyu no utsuwa,” which is a cake shaped like a Japanese tea cup. You can pour drinks in the cup and eat it too.

 

Information

Stores:

in Higasiyama・Kiyomizu

in Arashiyama ・Sagano

 

Open: 9:00

Close: 18:00

 

Timetable for making wagashi

1. 9:15-10:30

2. 11:00-12:15

3. 13:00-14:15

4. 15:00-16:15

Please book a few days in advance.

Charge for wagashi-making class: 2160 yen

 

 

namagashi2

Japanese Traditional Fishing Method

by Hosono Natsumi and Haruka Onishi

Cormorant Fishing at Night

Ukai, or ‘cormorant fishing’ is a traditional fishing method using a cormorant bird to catch ayu (sweetfish). The season for cormorant fishing is from the middle of May to the middle of October of each year. Interestingly, ukai is often practiced at night. Fishermen make a fire on the fishing boat because ayu have a habit of gathering in lighted places in the dark. This allows the cormorants to catch the fish more easily. However ukai is never practiced on the night of a full moon, because the ayu do not gather around the light of the fire so well. The people who train and control the cormorants are called ‘cormorant fishermen’. The number of cormorants used at one time differ by region and fisherman, but the average number is five to ten. Cormorant fishermen have to know exactly when cormorants swallow the fish so that they can call the cormorants back to the boat and have them regurgitate the fish into a basket.

History of Cormorant Fishing

Cormorant fishing in Japan has a long history. It is unknown who began cormorant fishing. However, a history book published in 712 A.D. mentions cormorant fishing. This suggests that it has been practiced for at least 1300 years or more. Not only do Japan and China have a history of ukai in their cultures, but surprisingly ukai was practiced as a sport in Europe from the 16th to 17th centuries. The fish caught by cormorants lose consciousness in esophagus of the cormorant without injury. This keeps the fish fresh and uninjured, making them highly valued in the marketplace. However, due to its inefficiency in comparison with standard methods of fishing with nets and hooks, the popularity of cormorant fishing gradually decreased over time. Now, it is mostly done in Japan for the tourism industry.

Cormorants

Cormorant in Kyoto

Cormorants are highly intelligent birds and can understand hierarchical relationships. They are about 80 cm in length and have a sharp crooked bill. Therefore they are suited for fishing. Cormorant craftsmen catch wild cormorants.

Wild cormorants are well-trained. Cormorant fishermen take care of them every day for 2 or 3 years. In general, the longevity of a cormorant is from 4 to 5 years, but the cormorants used in Ukai are treated carefully. For this reason, their lifespan is from 15 to 20 years. Cormorant fishermen do their work with the birds around the noon. This practice is what is often shown to the public.

What is the life cormorant fishing like? In the morning, after checking the condition of their birds, the fishermen decide which cormorant take to fishing. In the afternoon, fishermen give the birds free time to relax in the water. The fishermen don’t feed them so much because hungry cormorants can catch their own fish quite well. In the evening, fishermen take chosen cormorants fishing. It is important not to tie their throat too strongly because it will decrease the birds’ motivation. On the other hand, if the rope is too loose, most of fish get swallowed completely. After fishing, fishermen feed and stroke their cormorants to thank them for their efforts.

Cormorant Fishermen

Most cormorant fishermen are born into their craft via long lines of cormorant fishermen. Still, they need a long training period to become fully qualified. First, they need a strong grip and skillful hand movements because the power of cormorants pulling the ropes is quite strong. In addition, it is difficult to make cormorants eject the fish from their throats. This is done by holding the birds’ throats in just the right way. Although cormorant fishing is done only in during the warmer months of the year, fishermen must still take daily care of their birds year round. They have to feed them, take care of their bills, and clean their cages with love.

Where to Observe Cormorant Fishing

The best ukai season is in the summer evenings. If you are interested in observing ukai, you should reserve an ukai tour in advance because it is very popular and crowded. Moreover the road to the spot is also crowded, so you ought to arrive as early as you can.

In Japan, there are about a dozen famous ukai locations, one of them being Kyoto. Kyoto actually has ukai areas, one of them is near the Uji River and the other is near Ooi Arashiyama. But it is the one near Arashiyama that is the most popular.

Getting to Arashiyama

From Kyoto station, take the JR Sagano Sanin Line (#3) to Saga Arasiyama station. It takes about 15 minutes and it costs \240. From the Randen station (Keifuku train), take the train to Arasiyama station, the last stop on that line. On the other hand, if you have One-Day Bus ticket, take the No. 28 bus, which takes about an hour from Kyoto station.

Reference

Ukai

Arashiyama

Kyo-yuzen

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.

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Kimono

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?

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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:

  1. Think of the design you want for the cloth and make a design pattern  
  2. Trace the design onto the cloth
  3. Apply the special glue ② to prevent the colors from mixing with each other (this is called Itomenorioki)
  4. Apply the colors to the cloth
  5. Steam the cloth
  6. Wash the cloth
  7. Steam the cloth again and stretch out the wrinkles
  8. Using a stencil, draw the design onto special Japanese paper and cut out the pattern to make the stencil
  9. Paste the cloth onto a wooden board that is called “Yuzen-Ita”
  10. Put ① onto ② and dye
  11. 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!  

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Kyo-yuzen studio

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Kyo-yuzen items

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.

Kyoto City Subway – Tozai line

By Yumika Fujii and Erika Wada

In the Kyoto area, there are many kinds of public rail transportation, such as JR (Japan Railways), the Shinkansen, and the Keihan and Hankyu Railways (which connect Kyoto and Osaka). There are also two lines of the Kyoto City Subway system; the Tozai line and the Karasuma line. They travel through 10 city wards, with the exception of Sakyo in Kyoto city, and Uji city, and each of them is used by many people every day for commuting and for pleasure.

Tozai Linemap

The Tozai line was the second subway line to be built in Kyoto city. When the Tozai line was inaugurated on October 12th, 1997, there were just 13 stations, from Daigo station in the east to Nijo station. After that, further stations were added, from Rokujizo station to Daigo station, built in 2004, and from Nijo station to Uzumasa Tenjingawa station, built in 2008. This means there are 17 stations in all now. Each station has a number, from T1 to T17 and all are located near famous and popular places for tourists to visit, or for people to get to their workplaces or school, even from other prefectures. In 2003, the Daigo community bus that is run by local citizens was started, and this also connects with the subway. Moreover, it is possible to use Yamashina station and transfer to the JR Tokaido and Kosei lines, so we can get to Shiga prefecture easily, and Nijo station to transfer to the JR Sanin line. We can also use Rokujizo station to transfer to the JR and Keihan trains and go on to Uji and Nara prefecture, and at Uzumasa Tenjingawa station, built in 2008, we can transfer to the Arashiyama dentetsu train and go to Arashiyama. Travelling east to west or west to east across the city has never been so easy.

macchaRokujizo Station

Rokujizo Station is located in Fushimi, which is in Kyoto City. This station is a hub for 3 different transport options: JR, City Bus, and the Keihan Railway. People can transfer here for Kyoto Station and Uji, which is famous for Japanese green tea.

Ono Station

This station is located in Yamashina, Kyoto, and the number is T04. This is near Kajuji. Kajuji is sometimes called “Kannsyuji” or “Kanjuji”, but Kajuji is the official title. Kanjuji is the temple at which the head priest has always been drawn from the Imperial family or the ranks of the nobility.

Keage StationNanzenji temple

Keage Station is located in Higashiyama, Kyoto City, and the number is T09. This station is very close to Nanzenji Temple. Nanzenji temple was the first temple built at the Emperor’s behest in Japan, making it the highest rank of temple in Japan. Moreover, it is famous and popular for its colored leaves in autumn, which offers one of the best views out of all the four seasons in Japan.

Higashiyama StationHigashiyama

This station is located in Higashiyama, Kyoto city, and the number is T10. To the west side of the station is the crossing at Higashiyama and Sanjo streets, so it is very accessible for tourist spots like Heian Jingu Shrine or Okazaki Park. In Okazaki, there are many cultural delights and facilities, such as the Modern Art Museum, The Municipal Art Museum, The Prefectural Library, Kyoto Zoo, and the Okazaki Athletic Field. Everyone can enjoy sightseeing here, and engage in different activities.

Sanjo Keihan stationSanjo Keihan Station

Sanjo Keihan Station is located in Higashiyama, Kyoto City, and the number is T11. This station is connected to that of the Keihan Electric Railway, which is a private railway line that goes to Osaka and Shiga Prefectures. This station is very convenient for people who want to go to the Gion area, and also Kawaramachi Street, which is the popular downtown shopping street in Kyoto. In addition, there are cafes, convenience stores, ATMs and other shops on the concourse of the station, so people can spend their time comfortably here.

Kyoto Shiyakusho Mae Station

This station is located in Nakagyo, Kyoto City, and the name of the station means “the station in front of Kyoto City Hall”. The station number is T12, and is the next station to Sanjo Keihan. There is only one automatic ticket gate here, so it is very easy to find, even for tourists from other countries. Kawaramachi Street is a short walk from here, but there is also a very extensive underground shopping mall that is convenient when it is raining up top.

Karasuma Oike Station

This station is also located in Nakagyo, Kyoto City, and the number is T13 and K07. The station complex is one of the biggest in the Kyoto Subway system, because people can transfer here from the Karasuma Line Subway. There are a lot of buildings, cafes and shops near the station in the business district, and you can enjoy STARBUCKS coffee on the concourse. The automatic ticket gates are provided on the basement level, the platforms for the Karasuma Line are on the 2nd basement level, and the platforms for the Tozai Line are on the 3rd basement level.

NijojoNijo-jo Mae Station

Nijo-jo Mae Station is located in Nakagyo, Kyoto City and the station number is T14. The station name means “the station in front of Nijo Castle”, so it is very convenient for tourists going to the castle. In fact, you can walk there in just a few minutes, and you should take Exit 1 for the easiest access. In addition, this station is on Horikawa Street, which is one of the main streets in Kyoto, and transfers to many city bus routes can be made here.

 

 

In conclusion, Kyoto City Subway system Tozai Line is a very convenient and reliable mode of travel within Kyoto City. If you visit Kyoto, you should be sure to make the best use of this form of public transportation to reduce your travel times, and make your stay more enjoyable.

 

Talking to a Rickshaw Driver

by Mayu Kuwahara, Karen Takeda and Yuri Nonaka

Rickshaw Driver Yoshito Ayata

Rickshaw Driver Yoshito Ayata

 

Rickshaws in Japan

The Japanese-style rickshaw was invented by Kosuke Izumi, Kosuke Takayama and Tokujiro Suzuki in about 1868. When they went to Tokyo, they saw carriages and inspired by them to develop a jinrikusha or rickshaw. It is one kind of vehicle that has been used as a means of transportations in Japan. A rickshaw has a covered seat set between two wheels, and is pulled by a “driver.” People who pull rickshaws are called “shahu.” Rickshaws are still used in many tourist areas for sightseeing, especially in Kyoto. When customers hire a rickshaws, the rickshaw driver is expected to tell stories about local history and give advice about popular stores or restaurants because they know the best places in Kyoto.

 

Rickshaw Driver Youshito Ayata

We interviewed a Japanese rickshaw driver named Yoshito Ayata. He works at Ebisuya, which is a rickshaw company located near Arashiyama Station in Kyoto. He is a 20-year-old student and goes to Ritsumeikan University. He has been driving rickshaws for about one year, so he talked about his job.

Karen: Why did you decide to start working at Ebisuya?

Yoshito: It has been my dream job since I was about nine years old. When I saw the rickshaw for the first time, I thought it was super cool. Ever since that day I decided to do this job after I graduated from high school.

Mayu: What have you learned by your experience as a rickshaw driver?

Yoshito: I learned a lot of things—not only how to drive the rickshaw but also how to show hospitality. And it is very good exercise for me and I can practice foreign languages with my customers.

Karen: That is great. What do you consider when you interact with foreign customers? Is there any difference between Japanese and foreign customers?

Yoshito: There is so much difference between Japanese and foreign customers. Some foreigners think that the rickshaw is just a cheap means of transportation like in India or Thailand, so they will be surprised when they see the price. One more example, when I give them a guided tour about one area in Kyoto, most of them don’t know about the Tale of Genji nor Hyakunin-isshyu, so it is a bit hard to explain about the history.

Yuri: I see. It is so interesting.

Karen: Yes. Even Japanese don’t know a lot about Japanese history, so it must be harder to explain about Japanese history to foreign customers.

Yuri: By the way, why can you speak English so well?

Yoshito: Oh, I studied abroad in New Zealand for one year when I was a high school student. That is why I speak English better than the other drivers, so I mainly deal with foreign customers. My boss always passes them to me. But many times I interact with Chinese customers too, so I would like to improve my Chinese language. It is the hardest thing for me.

Yuri: Do you have anything that you think about concerning this job? And also I’d like to know how you felt when you drove a rickshaw for the first time.

Yoshito: I think a lot about maintaining a healthy condition, especially in the summer time. And also in the rainy season! It takes about 40 minutes to polish my rickshaw when it rains. And balancing the rickshaw for the first time was the hardest thing for me. Also the rickshaw is categorized as a light vehicle such as bicycle or scooter, so you have to follow the traffic laws, and you have to speak to the customer at the same time.

Yuri: I never thought about it. You have to run with the road traffic! So interesting.

Mayu: That is so scary!….haha. Okay then, what is the most precious thing for you when you are working?

Yoshito: When my customers could enjoy my ride from the bottom of their heart. I like their smiles very much.

Karen: Okay thanks. It’s the last question. What are the attractive points of Kyoto when being viewed from a rickshaw?

Yoshito: When you ride the rickshaw, everything seems attractive, because you can see the town from a different perspective. And I highly recommend the path that goes through the bamboo forest here, especially in the early morning when nobody is around.

Mayu: I don’t know about rickshaws much but really want to ride one someday.

Yoshito: Please come to Ebisuya!

Yuri: Yes! Thanks!

 

Hiring a jinrikishya in Kyoto will become one of your best memories. They are not at all like a bus or a taxi. Not only as vehicle, but also as an activity, you can get closer to Kyoto, learn about recommended places, touch culture and history, and find new attractive points from the new perspective of rickshaw. Try and go around Kyoto with Jinrikisya!!!

Arashiyama Station

Arashiyama Station

Prices

1 Passenger

– 1 block tour (1200m, 12min) – 3,000yen

– 2 block tour (2200m, 22min) – 5,000yen

– 30 minute tour  – 7,000yen

– 45 minute tour – 10,000yen

– 60 minute tour  – 13,000yen

– 120 minite tour – 23,500yen

– 180 minute tour – 32,500yen

 

2 Passengers

– 1 block tour (1200m, 12min) – 4,000yen

– 2 block tour (2200m, 22min) – 7,000yen

– 30 minute tour  – 9,000yen

– 45 minute tour – 13,500yen

– 60 minute tour  – 17,500yen

– 120 minite tour – 32,500yen

– 180 minute tour – 47,500yen

* cash only, credit cards not accepted

 

More information  ↓Please cleck here↓

http://www.ebisuya.com/en/branch/index.html

 

Yōkai Street

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

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.

white bread-ojisan

white bread-ojisan

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.

A True Community Cafe

by Misa Ito and Yuka Shinde

Kyogoku Dining

There is an unusual café/restaurant in Kyoto called Kyogoku Dining. It is often called a “town cafe.” That is because it serves the local community and is a hub for not only the local community but also for  the occasional tourist. In addition, it takes on several different roles, that of “pub,” “café,” or “restaurant dining.”
 The main concept behind this café is “information.” It strives to be a place where people can access information to help them in the local community.  So the staff  listen carefully to the voices and opinions of the local residents.  Then they try to meet the demands raised by these voices.
Kyogoku dining in Horikawadori

Outside of Kyogoku Dining

The owner of the shop said that it was  first established after WWII, but there were many times when he was not sure whether to continue the shop or not, to keep it going or to tear it down. So he discussed with local residents. However, they thought they needed to revitalize the local economy and therefore the shop needed drastic reform. So they decided to keep this shop as a “home” for the public. It has a soft image. The residents wanted to make “Dining” a place  where people can come and hang out all the time.
The café has several features that make it different from other Kyoto cafés:
• You can use the toilet even if you don’t order food
• You can drink water even if you don’t order food
• There is a free Wi-Fi in this shop
• We can bring food from a shopping centre into the cafe
• You can ask the staff anything if you need help

Who Uses this Cafe?

The primary customers are local residents. When the café is open, people who work outside come in to relax. Europeans and Americans who live in Kyoto also frequent this shop.

Employment of People with Disabilities

This café hires people with physical disabilities. It also gives jobs to people who need them most, such as mothers who need extra money for their families. One reason they like to hire people with disabilities is that such people are often excluded from the labor market.

The Future

The owner wants  Kyogoku Dinng to become a community center. He hopes that it will be  a place where interchange is multi-generational.

Menu

The most famous item on their menu is curry rice. This curry is very spicy. It is profitable because it is 800 yen even with salad. There are other set meals. There is rice, main dish and a side salad. You can choose each one from the showcase. It is also 800 yen. The two are lunch menus. Lunchtime is from 11:00 to 17:00. There are many types of dinner menus. For example, meat dish, fish dish, pasta, pizza and so on.
the main dinner menu

dinner menu

the main dinner menu

dinner menu

Staff Voices

We also  interviewed a woman who was working at this café. She said that she can learn how to communicate with people who have disabilities. She can also have conversations with local residents and get knowledge about the neighbourhood. Another person said that this work is fun because she loves to work.

Access

The café address is 602-8111 Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Kamigyo-ku, Matsuya-cho (Horikawadori) 28. The business hours are 11:00-22:00 from Monday to Saturday. Sunday is 11:00-18:00.
The telephone number is 075-432-7563. You can get to this cafe by getting on any #9 to #50 city bus from Kyoto Station. It takes about 20 minutes; get off Horikawa-Shimotachiuri bus stop. You can reach this café.

This café is a place that will make a connection with people. Not only people of the local area but also tourists can relax and enjoy a homelike  atmosphere. And the staff will tell you a lot local information. We recommend visiting the Kyogoku Dining. Please visit this Website. http://horikawakyogoku.com/

Two Temples in Saga

 By Eri Aoki and Shoko Osawa

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Jikishi-an

There are many famous temples in Kyoto, but Jikishi-an and Adashino-nenbutsu are not among them. These two small but significant temples are both located in Kita Saga, an area to the west of Arashiyama.

Jikishi-an is surrounded by beautiful bamboo forests. Upon entering, you will see a building that looks more like an old Japanese house at the end of a long, narrow path than a temple. In January, you can see the Japanese flower ‘roubai’. This yellow flower is so lovely and you can see it bloom only during the months of  January and February. In Jikishi-an, there are a lot of trees, so in autumn you can see many red leaves.

Jikishi-an has a long history. It was founded by Dokushou Seien in 1646 and its name, Jikishi-an, originated with the phrase “jikishi-denshin,” which means to “pass on tradition.” Today, Jikishi-an is known as a temple of the Jodo  sect.

Jikishi-an is mostly well-known, however, for ‘omoide-gusa,’ a kind of notebook in which visitors record their own impressions and messages. This notebook was started in about 1965 and the number of entries now exceed 5000. During a special period in autumn, the notebook is opened to the public.

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Entrance to the temple for adults is 500 yen; students are 400 yen.

 

Adashino-nenbutsu-ji

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Adashino-nenbutsu-ji temple is near Arashiyama Station and belongs to the Jodo sect. The temple has a special graveyard. It is famous for being an area where people abandoned the bodies of the dead to let them decompose by exposing them to the elements. This was a customary way of getting rid of corpses during the Heian period.

It is said the temple was established by Kukai in 811 in this place where the ashes of the dead had been beaten into the earth. Afterward Honen founded an Amida Buddha training hall here. The principal image is of Amitabha Tathagata. The main hall of temple was rebuilt in 1712.

Sento-kuya

There are about 8000 carved stone Buddhas or gravestones on the precincts of the temple. These stone images had been scattered around Adashino but were collected and place here together in 1903. There is also an image of Jizo, the guardian deity for spirits of miscarried children, at the temple. A special prayer service Is held for the spirits of children here on the 24th of every month. In addition, the temple hosts the Sento-kuya, a service for the dead that takes place every August 23rd-24th. In this ceremony, 1,000 candles are lit to honor ancestral spirits. In the fall a bonfire is made to show gratitude for the harvest and delicious food from the land and sea are offered.

The temple is open every day from 9:00-16:30. Entrance fee is  500 yen for adults and 400 yen for junior high school and high school students; children are free. Visitors can see a lot of cherry blossoms in spring and colored leaves in the autumn.

Nishiri – Unusual Sushi and Japanese Pickles

By Haruka Chaya and Ayaka Endo

 

Special Sushi

Visitors to Kyoto often take back Japanese pickles for souvenirs. Nishiri is one of Kyoto’s famous tsukemono, or pickles, shops. It is located in Arashiyama, but it is not quite like other pickle shops. It offers something different. Japanese have been eating pickles since olden times and they usually eat them with rice. Like this:

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The traditional basis for a Japanese meal is often referred to as “one soup; one dish.” Rice and pickles are givens, so the fundamental Japanese meal consists of one soup, one dish and then rice and pickles. This is the usual manner in which Japanese eat.  However, we’d like to recommend another way of eating Japanese pickles.

In the Nishiri pickle shop, there is a meal that looks like a box of carefully prepared sushi called Kyo-tsukemono-sushi. Almost everyone likes sushi, don’t they? So this  bento meal looks quite appealing.

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However, the individual items are not raw fish placed on cakes of rice. In this case, all of these toppings are different types of Japanese pickles that are made from eggplant, radish, ginger, daikon and shibazuke (chopped vegetables pickled in salt and shiso leaves). This really suits the Japanese taste.

Furthermore pickles are good for you. They have a lot of dietary fiber, vitamins and lactobacillus. Also, they are low in calories, and are good for your skin. If you get tired after walking through Arashiyama, you can take a rest at Nishiri and eat pickle sushi. Besides experiencing  traditional Japanese tastes in a novel way, you will get health and beauty.

If you decide to buy a box of pickle sushi for your family or friends, please be careful because it spoils easily and needs to be kept refrigerated. It is worth giving to a friend at least once; imagine their surprise!

 

Other products

Nishiri also sells small servings of pickles in what is called a “cutting cup.” This enables customers to try a wide variety of pickles without spending a lot of money. The price of just one cup of pickles is 108 yen. Three cups are 324 yen. You can enjoy sampling many kinds of pickles this way. At Nishiri, the foods are dished up so beautifully. This is an example of Japanese sincerity when it comes to guests.

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UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage Certification

Traditional Japanese food —washoku—was recently added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural heritage list . Japanese food was evaluated as being fresh, healthy, well-balanced in nutrition, and beautiful.

 

Where is Nishiri?

Nishiri is in Arashiyama in western Kyoto and is near the famous Arashiyama landmark, the Togetsu Bridge. From the bridge please go straight east down the bustling road and you will see Nishiri on your left side.

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Nishikyogokusogo Athletic Park

Nishikyogokusogo Athletic Park

Ikki Kato, Sota Mori & Makoto Hachiya

The Park

This park is located in Ukyo-ku in Kyoto. It is roughly 180,000 square meters in size, and there are various buildings related to athletics: an athletic field also used as a football field, Wakasa stadium, a sub-athletic field, Kyoto Aqua Arena, and the Kyoto City Gymnasium. The athletic field is also used as a football field and the sub-athletic field is used for track and field, soccer, rugby, and American football. There are many competitions held here, including the home games of Kyoto Sanga Soccer team, Japan rugby top league games, Kansai student’s American football league games, and so on. However Wakasa stadium is only used for baseball. The Kyoto City Gymnasium is used for tennis, table tennis, badminton, basketball, and futsal. We can take classes at this gym, which includes tennis, table tennis, badminton, dance, etc. Kyoto Aqua Arena has two purposes, and the use of this facility changes by the season. It is used as a swimming pool in the summer, but in the winter, the main pool and jumping pool are converted into ice skating rinks. The main pool also meets the criteria for staging world level swimming events. In addition, there is an archery field range in a park called Green Hill, and this is free to use. You can see many people running or training here, but there are also many people walking with a dog or strolling, so the park is a place of recreation and relaxation for citizens. Nishikyogokusogo athletic park has actually been designated as a refuge in case of natural disasters, and can accommodate 36,000 people. The park was designed as an athletic park in 1930 to celebrate the marriage of the Showa Emperor. At present, it helps citizens lead a healthy life and makes the Nishikyogoku area very lively. Do you want to visit now?

The Main Stadium (above and right) and Wakasa Stadium (below)

IMG_1201 The Main Stadium (above and right) and Wakasa Stadium (below)

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Actions of the park for the environment

According to the Kyoto-shi Physical Education Association (managers of the Nishikyogoku General Exercise Park), many actions for the good of the environment are carried out in the facilities of the park. I will introduce some of the actions carried out here:

The park installed a box called “Eco station” from 2009 to collect PET bottle caps, paper packs, dry cell batteries, and tennis balls. 430 plastic bottle caps are worth 10 yen, and the caps money is donated to buy polio vaccine, which costs 20 yen for one dose. 9,550,111 caps have been collected between February, 2009 and May, 2014, raising enough money for 1,166 polio vaccine doses.

The park also collects used tennis balls and sends them to schools, where they are set on the legs of desks and chairs to reduce noise. 75,680 tennis balls have been sent to facilities such as schools between September, 2008 and May, 2014.

6,223 paper packs, such as milk cartons, have been collected between August, 2009 and May, 2014, and this is the equivalent in recycling terms to 1,037 rolls of toilet paper.

In addition to this, the park installed a box to collect used small consumer electronic items and this contributes to the recycling of rare metals.

A great and rare thing I also found when I walked in the park was a box to collect dog poo with a plastic bag.

All these ideas really help the users of the park and make the facilities more comfortable. It also makes sure the users’ cooperation is vital to keep the park a happy and fun place.

Dog poo collection box

Dog poo collection box

Kyoto Sanga

Nishikyogoku sports park can be used for many kinds of sports such as baseball, track-and-field, and of course, soccer. A professional Japanese soccer team named “Kyoto Sanga” uses a facility here as its home stadium.

Kyoto Sanga is a team now in the Japanese professional soccer league. They are the oldest team in existence since the Japanese professional soccer league was organized. The club was founded in 1922, but at first the name was different. The club’s former name was Kyoto Shikou Soccer Club, and Shikou meant purple light. That’s why the color of their uniform is purple. In 1993 they changed the name to Kyoto Purple Sanga after a popular vote. The word purple comes from Shikou, and Sanga is from Sanskrit (in Sanskrit Sanga is Samgha) and means buddy. Sanga also means rivers and mountains in Japanese. Especially in Kyoto, there are some clean rivers and a lot of beautiful mountains, which represents Japanese nature.

Kyoto Sanga is now fighting for the people of Kyoto and for the people who cheer them on. Their original mascots, Pasa-kun and Kotono-chan also cheer for them. They are not purple though, but red. You may think, why are they red? The answer is the color red stands for passion and the ability to take action. This is based on the actual spirit of the team and their motto, “Never give up to win”. Of course their staff and players still wear the purple uniform. Also a very famous Japanese company is supporting them, because Nintendo is their sponsor. Many people love the team, Kyoto Sanga, and they are trying their best to respond to their fans’ hopes and dreams.

Access

By bus

From Kyoto Station C5 bus terminal: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.73 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

From Uzumasa Tenjin-gawa bus terminal: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.80 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

From Shijo-Kawaramachi No.9 bus stop: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.32 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

From Shijo-Kawaramachi No.3 bus stop: Take Kyoto Public Bus No.80 to “Nishikyougoku-sougou-undou-kouen-mae”. Approximately five minutes’ walk from the bus stop.

By Train

Take the Hankyu Railway Kyoto Line to “Nishikyougoku” station. Approximately 5 minutes’ walk from “Nishikyougoku” station