Winter Sightseeing Spots and Events in Kyoto

November 27, 2019

Winter sightseeing spots and events in Kyoto

by Akane Mukai, Riho Miyagi, and Yuka Yamazaki

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

Hanatourou

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

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

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

 Projection Mapping Winter Kyoto

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

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

 Popular hot foods in Kyoto

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

Conclusion

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

Randen area between Uzumasa Koryuji and Oomiya.

by Taishiro Hashidume, Kazuki Sonoda and Yusaku Nishiyama.

Randen is one of the most famous train in Kyoto prefecture that’s because large number of tourists from other country use Randen everyday. On the otherhands, most of people actually get off in Arashiyama Station because other area is not known so well, then we want you to know about area where along with Randen trail between Omiya and Uzumasa Koryuji station.
randen

Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Toei

First of all, we recommend you about Toei Kyoto Studio Park(Uzumasa Eiga mura). It is placed nearby Uzumasa Koryuji station.

It takes 5-7 minutes from Uzumasa Koryuji station by walk.

Toei Kyoto Studio Park is the only theme park in Japan where you can watch the filming of period dramas and also only theme park in Japan where you can enjoy the atmosphere as if the town was frozen in Edo period.

This set have been constructed and was modelled after a street from the Edo period, and it is used to shoot more than 200 films per year.

Here you can walk freely around the Toei Kyoto Studio film set with wearing japanese traditional costumes.

Here you can rent so many kinds of ancient clothes like samurai, ninja and so on.

Enjoy the atmosphere of Edo period of Japan by taking in a ninja show with dressing up Japanese traditional costume.

You can also have some foods and drinks in here, so you can enjoy film set and atmosphere with taking some food.

You will find all kinds of entertainment for both the young and the old, in this world of imagination and creation.

Secondly, we want to let you know in Uzumasa Koryuji station is “Koryuji temple”.

Kyoryuji temple is one of the Kyoto’s Shingon temple. It is also known as Uzumasa-dera and Kadono-dera now, but originally it was known as Hatanokimi-dera, Hachioka-dera and Hoko-ji long time ago.

This temple is locates in front of Uzumasa Koryu-ji station.

Koryu-ji is the oldest temple in Kyoto and it have been constructed in 603 (Asuka period) by Hatano Kawakatsu, that is to say this temple is older than Ancient Kyoto (Heiankyo).

ushimasturi

It is also famous for Ushi-matsuri which is one of Kyoto’s three main strange festivals. It had been held in October 12th every year, but now it have been suspended because of problem with getting oxen.

In this festival, the Matarajin diety dressed in white appears and wearing a strange mask from darkness riding on a black ox.

He climbs onto the altar in front of the temple accompanied by four Oni. All of them wear strange paper masks. Matarajin starts reading prayers. The mantra is very long with a deliberate slowness. The oni and audience try to disturb reading. Nobody have any idea what it means, but if Matarajin makes a mistake, he has to read it all over again.

Finally, Matarajin and the oni run down the altar and rush into the temple and then it will be finished.

Kyoryuji has many important pieces of cultural heritages. In those of them, “Hōkan Mirokuwooden (image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya sitting contemplatively in the half-lotus position)” is one of the Japanese national treasures and it is amongst the rare objects that are preserved and displayed at there.

For the reasons mentioned above, Kyoryuji is worthy to visit when you come to Kyoto.

Another convenient destination on the Randen line is the Omiya area and the Saiin area. Visiting these areas, you will be able to feel local atmospheres rather than tourism spots. A similarity between the Omiya area and the Saiin area is affluence of small restaurants like cafes and izakayas (kind of Japanese pubs), and these are perfect places to have lunch or have a rest. Also there are some temples and shrines there and those are quiet and you can probably feel their atmosphere.

Gyoza no Osho Omiya
Gyoza no Osho is one of the biggest and most famous chain restaurants of Chinese food in Japan. It started business in 1967, and there are around 740 shops in Japan, according to the official website of Gyoza no Osho. You can go to the head store of it when you visit Omiya. Gyoza no Osho is famous for the unique set menus each shop possesses, and surely, there are a lot of unique ones in the head store, such as Omiya Teishoku, Osho Set, Ramen Set and so on. There are so many menu items to choose from but a strong recommendation might be their dumplings. The word “gyoza” actually means a dumpling, and you will probably understand that the dumping is popular in this store judging from the name of it. An order of gyoza is amazingly tasty and cheap (about 250 yen). Some people might think they would like to try Japanese food during the stay in Japan, but although gyoza originally came from China, Japanese people have been eating and enjoying them for hundreds of year. Please eat some gyoza and Chinese food here so that you can get to know why Gyoza no Osho is so famous among Japanese.

Kasuga Shrine Saiin
Kasuga Shrine is located in the Saiin area and it is beautiful and calm red shrine. It is a huge building but decent sized and hidden in residential neighborhood, but it still worth visiting there. Moreover, if you visit Japan in October, this shrine holds a festival named Kasuga Festival every year on the second weekend of October. Although this festival is not also so big compare to Gion festival, it has an ancient and honorable origin, and you can see mikoshi (portable shrine) and people wearing traditional cloth. A lot of street stalls are also available, so you can enjoy Japanese-style festival there.

There are so many places and restaurants to visit in the Omiya area and Saiin area, but not room in this short article to introduce them all. There must be many splendid restaurants, shops and other places there. It is one option to search some places and restaurants and there are a lot of small shops, so visiting by yourself and finding wonderful ones is also enjoyable another option.
In addition, Saiin is very conveniently located to take advantage of buses towards to Kinkaku-Ji, Nijo-jo, Kawaramachi and so on. Choosing the Omiya and Saiin areas as just the interval of your journey will surely make you satisfied.

One day trip in Kyoto

by Yuka Nakamura and Sakura Nakatani

 

When you come to Kyoto, where do you want to go? Actually, there are many famous spots such as Kiyomizu temple, Kinkaku temple and others. However, why don’t you go to Imamiya shrine and Shimogamo shrine? These are famous for dango (rice dumpling), so if you like eating sweet, please go there.

Moreover, when you go to these shrines, sometimes you will take a bus. Our recommendation is to use 1 day bus card, so we will introduce these shrine with using 1 day bus card. (600 yen for 1 passenger)

 

Schedule

  • Kyoto station → Imamiya shrine

Take a bus from station B3, Kyoto City Bus 205 or 206, get off at Funaokayama (take about 45~50 minutes)

 

  • Imamiya shrine → Shimogamo shrine

Take Kyoto City Bus 205, get off at Shimogamo Shrine (takes about 16 minutes)

Take Kyoto City Bus 1, get off at Shimogamo Shrine (takes about 16 minutes)

 

  • Shimogamo shrine → Kyoto station

Take Kyoto City Bus 205, get off at Kyoto Station (takes about 31 minutes)

Take Kyoto City Bus 4, get off at Kyoto Station (takes about 32 minutes)

 

Aburimochi at Imamiya Shrine

Imamiya Shrine is also called “Tamanokoshi shine”. How about taking back some traditional Japanese sweets home? These are called Aburimochi. Aburamochi also are reputed to have a benefit of driving out evil spirits. If you come here, please try it.

“Aburimochi” is a famous Japanese sweets shop at Imamiya Shine in Kyoto. It is rice cake that is just as big as the thumb, coated with soybean flour, grilled over a charcoal fire, and dipped in white miso sauce. Long ago, there was an ancient tradition that Aburimochi were provided to the public at the approach to a shrine.

There are two shops selling Aburimochi across from the approach to Imamiya Shine. The delicious smell of grilled sweets drifts out from the edge of the eaves, as you approach the shrine, so you may suffer from having two choices. My advice is to enter both shops if you have enough time.

 

Kazariya

Kazariya is a shop which serves Aburimochi with tea. Aburimochi is grilled and coated with soybean flour. It is a bit sweet. The point of taste is the good flavor of rice cake and mild sweetness of white miso.

Shop information

  • Shop name: Kazariya
  • Price: 500 yen
  • Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shrine” 3 minutes by walking
  • Adress: 96 Imamiya-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto city
  • Phone number: 075-491-9402
  • Business hours: 10:00~17:30
  • Closed: Wednesday

 

Ichiwa

Aburimochi have been made for 1000 years with an unchanged recipe. They are coated with refreshing white miso and sweet sauce. The white miso sauce matches the mild and good flavor of rice cakes.

Shop information

  • Shop name: Ichimonjiwasuke (Ichiwa)
  • Price: 500 yen
  • Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shrine ” 2 minutes by walking
  • Address: 69 Imamiya-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto city
  • Phone number: 075-492-6852
  • Business hours: 10:00~17:00
  • Closed: Wednesday

 

Which shop is tasty? In conclusion, both stores are delicious.

Kazariya’s Aburimochi are simple and look like they are handmade because of their irregular shape. The sauce is a bit sweet. On the other hand, Ichiwa’s Aburimochi have a uniform shape and good condition. Their sauce is a bit lightly seasoned. If you prefer sweeter sauce, you should go to Kazariya.

Both shops’ aburimichi cost 500 yen. Both shop offer free parking for 1 hour.

 

 

Mitarashi-dango at Shimogamo shrine

Mitarashi-dango (rice dumpling in a sweet soy sauce) came from the Mitarashi festival, which was held by Shimogamo shrine at Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city. Although, there are other an ancient traditions, one story is that Mitarashi-dango were originally made and imitated the bubbles in Mitarashi pond in the precinct grounds.

 

The birthplace of Mitarashi-dango

Kamo Mitarashi Chaya

Mitarashi-dango came from Shimogamo shrine. Kamo Matarashi-chaya is an old-established teashop that was started in 1922. It is located in the west part of Shimogamo shrine. When you go inside that shop, you can smell roasting rice cakes. You can eat mitarashi-dango at this shop but also you can take some away if you want.

The wrapping of each mitarashi-dango has a picture of Shimogamo shrine and that shape looks like a chimaki (a cake wrapped in bamboo leaves) of Gion festival. A feature of this mitarashi-dango is that the top rice cake and the other four rice cakes are separate. There are two theories to explain this. The first theory is that the Kamakura period when emperor Go-daigo tied to draw from Mitarashi pond, one big bubble and four small bubbles appeared. Another theory is that mitarashi-dango imitated human body. Thus, the top rice cake symbolizesthe head and the others symbolize the arms and legs.

In addition to mitarashi-dango there are other sweets available here. These are are chestnut rice cakes, chestnut sweet bean jellies and bracken-starch dumplings.

Their mitarashi-dango is covered in brown sugar and soy sauce. It is matching with a rice cake and kuro mitsu (black syrup, similar to molasses).

 

Shop information

  • Shop name: Kamo Matarashi-chaya
  • Price: 420 yen
  • Nearest station: Kyoto City Bus 46 line “Imamiya Shine mae” by 3 minutes walking
  • Address: 53 Matsunoki-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city
  • Phone number: 075-791-1652
  • Business hours: 9:30~19:00
  • Closed: Wednesday

In Kyoto, there are many sweet shops including these shops that we recommended. If you have an interest of Kyoto’s sweets, please search for them. After that, please come to Kyoto and try to eat a lot of sweets and find your favorite sweets!

Does Kyoto Need a Tram System?

November 22, 2018

by Fumiya TAMAOKI  and Masahiro KOMATSU

About Transportation in Kyoto

Because Kyoto is an urban city, it is rare for people to be inconvenienced by transportation. The bus system which runs in the city covers all the main streets so making connections is also not complicated. In addition to that, the subway and the train also go through the city and it is very convenient when going a distance from the center city.  Unlike buses, trains are not going to be late because of traffic jams, so you can get to the destination station on time.

The problem that comes up is that buses often are delayed due to traffic congestion. If you live in Kyoto, you may be able to predict when the buses will be delayed and act. However, Kyoto, one of the world’s leading tourist cities, has many tourists from Japan and abroad. There are many disadvantages that tourists cannot act on schedule. For example, they cannot go to some sightseeing spots and have time for a return trip they are one a tight schedule.

In this way, transportation in tourist cities should be as timely as possible. Therefore, we would like to recommend running trams. There used to be a tramway operation plan in Kyoto, but the plan has disappeared. How would a tram system benefit Kyoto residents and visitors?

Merits of a Tram System

There are some merits of having a tram as an example of a successful city. For example, in Hokkaido which is located in the northernmost part of Japan, and in Sapporo city in Hokkaido there is a tram and it is very successful. The streetcar in Sapporo is circulating in the city and stops at major tourist spots. Connecting with trains and buses is complicated because the sightseeing spots of Sapporo city are scattered in a wide range in the east, west, north and south. However, the circulation of the tram has made it easy to go to various sightseeing spots. Not only that, because it is operated on time, it is convenient for commuting and going to school, so it seems that there are many customers on the streetcar in Sapporo. Next, the streetcar of Toyama, prefecture located in the center of the Japanese archipelago, is also a successful example. Toyama prefecture made various efforts to increase the number of customers using trams. For example, the plan is to improve convenience by maintaining the bicycle parking lot around the station, and also to improve the understanding of the residents because it operates firmly with the administration. Many customers have gained easy access to large shopping malls and public facilities. As you can see from examples of these successful cities, many people can easily access each sightseeing spot on time, easily by using trams in Kyoto.

Problems of a Tram System

However, in order to utilize a tram, it is necessary to clear many problems. First of all, Kyoto is a city that has existed for over 1000 years, and its remnants are a lot left behind. As a result, the road width is very narrow compared to cities of the same size. The road in Kyoto has no space for a tram. If the Kyoto tram planner goes over the rail of the tram without taking any measures at all, traffic congestion and traffic accidents will occur frequently. In order to clear this problem, it is necessary to regulate traffic to protect the streetcar by taking a firm link with the administration. For example, on roads where traffic congestion is likely to occur, there will be traffic regulation of general vehicles. Therefore, in order to solve the problem, understanding from residents is necessary. A sufficient explanation will be necessary for residents to understand the convenience of trams. However, the use of trams in Kyoto, a tourist city, leads to improvement of traffic congestion and improvement of convenience. By connecting the tram cars, it is possible to increase the number of people who can be transported. Buses have an upper limit on the number of people who can be transported at one time, but trams do not have an upper limit. Utilizing trams in Kyoto can reduce the amount of cars that customers ride, which leads to improved traffic congestion. In addition, the convenience for tourists would be improved by the creation of new transportation with transporting power.

Future of Trams in Kyoto

Next, consider the other merits of having a tram in Kyoto. If a tram can work to connect tourist attractions, tourists can plan stamp rallies etc. If you do such a project, it will be more fun to tourist attractions. Tourists are visiting Kyoto sightseeing spots, Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine and Heian Shrine are on the straight main street called Higashi Oji Street so that it is easy to access. However, these places are a bit far to walk, but the same time is required to walk and use the bus, as buses are used to get caught up in traffic or the number of buses is small. Therefore, if tourists can utilize a tram without a traffic jam, it will be less stressful and accessible. Furthermore, if cooperation with other transportation facilities is established, it becomes easier to access various places.

The subway in Kyoto is inconvenient because it has only two lines. However, if you add a tram to those existing method of transportation, the range of access will be several times wider. Since the tram is a circulation line, even at the terminal station, the number does not decrease, so do not worry about the time. However, there is a possibility of a decrease in the number of people going to sightseeing spots away from the streetcar. To solve the problem, change the bus diamond according to the situation, set a rental bicycle at the station, and so on. Such efforts lead to departure from the car society. Utilization of trams will also be a solution to problems of exhaust gas and traffic congestion

Kyoto Needs a Tram

The operation of trams has all kinds of problems, and it will take a considerable amount of time and money to solve them. However, as trams become available, access in Kyoto will be very convenient. And the tram is good not only for people but also for the environment. We are hoping for a streetcar to be born in Kyoto for people and the Earth.

Love Fortune in Kyoto

by Mayu Nishikawa & Natsumi Nishimura

There are many kinds of shrines and temples in Kyoto. There people pray for various things such as health, happiness, work, and learning. Of course, praying for love is important in life. Many shrines in Kyoto house the deity of love. Moreover, the Gion area, where many shrines are gathered, is best for praying for love. If you are in love or are considering getting married, you should go to places that we recommend, and try a love fortune. First, do you know what omikuji is? Omikuji is the paper that tells us about our future. One of the kinds of omikuji is a love fortune, which tells us about our future as concerns love. In this article, we will introduce two places that are well-known for their love fortunes: Yasui Konpiraguu and Jishu-Jinja shrine.

Yasui Konpiragu

Love Fortune in Yasui Konpiragu
Power Stone

If you want to meet the god of marriage, you have to go to Yasui Konpiragu. It was built by Kamatari Fujiwara in 671 A.D. Yasui Konpiragu is the shrine connected with breaking off all kinds of bad relationships and initiating good ones. You can break off not only relationships between men and women, but also all relationships with things such as sickness, alcohol, cigarettes and gambling. Once you do so, a happy life will follow. The love fortunes at Yasui Konpiragu are colorful and very cute. These omikuji in this picture are pink and blue. I’ m sure you’ll want to take a picture them. The way to draw a fortune is to pick a stick, and then you tell the Shinto priests the number on the stick. They give you the love fortune paper. It tells your fortune on the topics of health, love, and money. There are several kinds of luck. Daikichi means best luck, kichi means good luck, and kyou means bad luck. If you get a lucky strip, you should bring it home, but if you get an unlucky strip, you should go home after tying the strip to something, like a tree or fence, in the shrine. In the shrine, there is a power stone monument for breaking off relationships and initiating good ones. It is in the shape of an ema, or wooden prayer tablet. It is said that if you pass through this stone with a wish, the wish will come true. Do you want to meet a wonderful boy or girl? If your answer is “yes”, we recommend you that you go there immediately.

Jishu Jinja Shrine

Lovefortune in Jishu-jinja
Love Stone

Jishu-jinja Shrine is located within the famous Kiyomizu Temple. This shrine is the oldest shine containing the deity of love in Kyoto. The history of the shrine is not clear because it is said the shrine was founded before Japan was established around 660 B.C. This shrine is famous for its love stone. This stone has existed from the Jomon era (12,000 B.C. ~ 4500 B.C.) There are two stones in the shrine separated by about 10 meters. The way to have your fortune told is simple, but difficult. First, you must stand in front of one stone. Next, close your eyes and walk to the other stone while making a wish. If you can walk to the other stone, your wish will come true soon. If you can’t walk, it takes a long time to make your wish. Furthermore, if you can walk because of people around you, your wish will come true by being helped. In other words, advice from people around you helped your wish come true. The shrine has not only love stones, but also love fortunes. There is a graph near the fortune section. If you draw a fortune, please follow instruction on the graph. Finally, the shrine sells love charms of various types. Therefore, you can find the perfect charm for you. As we said before, the shrine is in Kiyomizu temple. Many tourists go there. Therefore, we recommend that you go to the shrine in the early hours of the morning on weekdays. We hope your wish come true!

We recommend you to visit two great love fortune places. Which shrine do you like? There are many shrines and temples in Kyoto. They will help your love, and you will be able to make a boyfriend or girlfriend. Moreover, if you have a lover, god will lead you into marriage. Let’s try drawing a love fortune.

Access

Yasui Konpiragu

The shrine is accessible 24 hours a day. The reception desk’s opening hours 09:00~17:30 From Kyoto station- No.206 city bus bound for Kitaoji bus terminal, get off “Higashiyama Yasui” bus terminal.

Jishu Jinja Shrine

 The opening hours 09:00-17:00 From Kyoto station- No.86,206,100 city, get off “Gojozaka”

Kimono Date Plan in Kyoto

by Norika Uchida, Kanako Fukushima, Noeka

Kawamura Have you ever tried to wear a kimono or yukata? They are famous Japanese traditional attire. Also, kimono were worn by people during the Heian Era (794-1185). Kimono nowadays are worn only for special occasions such as weddings or graduation from school. Conversely, a yukata are a little more casual and are the standard outfit for going to firework festivals in the summer. The Gion Festival is held every July in Kyoto, and you can see a lot of people wearing yukata there. In Kyoto you can experience wearing kimono or yukata, as there are many shops where you can rent them easily. Let us then recommend some good kimono rental shops, and the perfect plan for wearing your kimono on a date with your special someone

In Kyoto, there are many kimono and yukata rental shops where you can rent them easily and dress up like a tradiational Japanese person. So, we will now introduce some of our recommended rental shops to you.

Kyoto Kimono Rental Wargo

The first is Kyoto Kimono Rental Wargo. This shop’s selling point is that they have various plans. For example, The popular standard plan is reasonable with good value, so we recommended this plan to those who are renting a kimono for the first time. This plan costs 3,500 yen (without tax). Then, the Premium Kimono Plan offers many famous brand name kimono. This plan is perfect for the people who want to enjoy the luxury of decorative modern kimono. This plan costs 4,500 yen (without tax). Also, there is the High-end Kimono Plan, which has the best luxurious brand-name kimono with various patterns, so if you can afford it, you should choose this plan. This plan is 5,500 yen (without tax).

Access
1 minute walk from Randen Lines [Saga-Arashiyama Station]
1 minute walk from Keihan Kyoto Line [Gion-Shijo station]
2 minutes walk from Kyoto Station
It’s on the 3rd floor of the Kyoto Tower Building.

Opening hours: 9am – 7pm

Kyo-Temari

The next shop is named, Kyo-Temari. The main selling points of this shop are its simple price and its photography plans. Here, you can rent a high-class, 100% silk kimono at a price of 5,000yen (with tax) which includes dressing up. Also, you can experience a variety of photo shoots, including studio photo shoots and on-location photo shoots. Of course, you can receive the digital data from the photo shoot, and it is also possible to make an album. This plan will certainly give you an awesome Kyoto experience. However, you need to tell the shop what you would like to do when making a reservation.

Access

a 3 minutes walk from Hankyu Kyoto Line [Hankyu Kawaramachi Station], or 5 minutes walk from [Karasuma Station] •5 minutes walk from Kyoto City Subway [Shijo Station] •5 minutes walk from Keihan Main Line Gion [Shijo Station]

Opening hours: 09:00am – 07:00pm

Taking a Rickshaw Ride

We recommend a taking a rickshaw ride when you wear a kimono and go on a date in Kyoto. We often see many couples wearing kimono and riding rickshaws in Kyoto. Rickshaws are mainly used for sightseeing purposes at tourist spots. In Kyoto, Ebisuya runs rickshaw services in the Arashiyama and Higashiyama districts of the city. So, you can ride them there.

In Arashiyama, you can start from the Togetsu-Kyo Bridge, go to the Bamboo Forest, and look around the temples of Sagano, such as Nison-in and Jojakko-ji.

In Higashiyama, you can start from Ichinenzaka or Heian-jingu Shrine, and look around Kiyomizu-dera, Gion and Nanzen-ji.

The price is 3,000 yen per person and 4,000 yen per couple for the cheapest course. Also, there are 30-minute and 1-hour courses. The 30-minute course is 7,000 yen per person, or 9,000 yen per two people. The 1-hour course is 13,000 yen per person, or 17,500 yen per two people. The price is a bit expensive, but it is worth it!

When you ride in a rickshaw, you can enjoy the sights from a slightly higher position. And, you can enjoy them slowly because you are just sitting. So, you do not get tired, even if you wear a kimono. Also, a blanket is provided to keep you warm in winter. Furthermore, rickshaws have a roof, so you can ride them even on rainy or snowy days.

In addition, the rickshaw man will explain many interesting things to you about Kyoto in English. So, it will surely help you have a memorable date in Kyoto. Moreover, he takes a lot of pictures at various spots that are beautiful and photogenic. I absolutely think you will love it. Please enjoy the best dating in Kyoto by rickshaw.

Rickshaw of Ebisuya
View from a rickshaw

Ebisuya in Arashiyama Access:

Address: 3-24 sagatenryu-ji bounobaabamachi ukyo-ku Kyoto Japan
Opening hours: 9:30 am – sunset (There is fluctuation by the season.)

It’s a 4 minute walk from Keifuku railway Arashiyama station, and a 7 minute walk from Hankyu Arashiyama station.

Tel: 075-864-0690

Ebisuya in Higashiyama Access:

Address: 558-9 yugyomaecho higashiyama-ku Kyoto Japan
Opening hours: 10:00 am – 18:00 pm (weekday) 10:00 am – 18:30 pm (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) There is fluctuation by the season.

It’s a 5 minute walk from Kyoto city bus Higashiyamayasui, and a (Ichinenzaka) 1-2 minute walk from Kyoto city bus Ginkaku-ji mae. (Ginkaku-ji bashi)

Tel: 075-533-2600

You can also make a reservation.

Arashiyama Yoshimura and Arabica Kyoto

We also recommend going to Arashiyama during your kimono wearing experience because Arashiyama is one of the many beautiful places in Kyoto. There is such a good atmosphere there, so couples can have deep long talks and enjoy a meaningful moments together. So, we highly recommend visiting Arashiyama on your date.

In Arashiyama, you will see the Togetsu-kyo bridge, which has become an iconic symbol of Arashiyama. Many movies and dramas were filmed there. Also, there is a bamboo forest that has become a famous spot in Kyoto.

In addition, there are other places that you can enjoy around Arashiyama. One such place is a soba restaurant called Yoshimura. Soba are noodles made from buckwheat flour. The restaurant is located near the Togetsu-kyo bridge, so you can enjoy eating your noodles with a good view the river and a sense of openness. You will have a great time eating soba there. When we went there, we ordered Tenzaruzen for 2019 yen. It included soba, tempura, rice, and pickles that were made in Kyoto.

View from the 2nd floor
Tenenzaruzen for 2019 yen

Yoshimura is really popular, so you might have to wait if you don’t have a reservation. You can get a reservation online, but making a phone call is more reliable than trying to reserve online.

When we went there, there were a lot of people – both Japanese and foreigners – who had already been waiting. Since we didn’t have a reservation, we had to wait for an entire hour. However, it is easy to kill some time if you have to wait because there are some shops nearby. They are some good places to pick up some souvenirs or get a cup of coffee.

There is also a famous café along the river, called Arabica. There is often a long line at this coffee shop. They have two shops in Kyoto, and one is located in Arashiyama. Their coffee is tasty for sure. Also, we recommended their lemonade, if it is hot outside.

Front of store
Their signature is “%”.

Arashiyama Yoshimura Access:

Opening hours: 11:00am~5:00pm (Off season) 10:30am~(Peak season)

It’s a 3 minute walk from Keifuku railway Arashiyama station.

English, Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese menu are available.

Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama Access:

Opening hours 8:00 – 18:00

It’s a 5 minute walk from Keifuku railway Arashiyama station.

Conclusion

Having a kimono or yukata experience with your partner must be an unforgettable memory in your life. There is no doubt that you can have an awesome time in Kyoto. Also, kimono have various patterns and colors, so maybe you can try to wear another design when you come to Kyoto again. Wouldn’t it be amazing to make your sightseeing trip to Kyoto better and create great memories by wearing a kimono or yukata with the person you love the most?

Photogenic Spots in Kyoto

By Hanami Yanagi, Saya Ishida, Tomoka Yamazaki

Recently in Japan, photogenic spots are getting a great deal of attention. Such spots are increasing dramatically. There are many attractive places in Kyoto. Therefore, we would like to introduce a few specially selected locations in Kyoto that are very good for taking photographs. Not only Japanese, but foreign tourists can come to these spots. Tourists enjoy visiting these locations, taking lots of photographs and then upload their favorite images to SNS. We chose three spots to recommend and introduce them here.

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine

Access: 7 minutes’ walk to the east of the Inari Taisha-mae bus stop on the Minami 5 line

Right next to Inari Station on the JR Nara Line (2 stations/5 minutes from Kyoto Station) 5 minutes’ walk to the east of Fushimi-Inari Station on the Keihan Main Line

Business hours: Always open

Closed: No closing days

Admission fee: Free

Also known as “O-inari-san”, the Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine is very famous in Kyoto. In the 1300 years since its establishment, people have gathered here to pray for good harvests, ecomnomic prosperity, the safety of their home and the health of their family. They may pray for many other things as well, such as finding a good partner, safe travels and good scores on examinations. And Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine has recently become famous as a photogenic spot.  There is “Senbon-Torii” in the shrine, or a thousand toriii gates, They are painted bright vermilion.

Senbon-Torii

They are placed next to each other and so form tunnels up the mountain. In the winter, snow accumulate on them, and you can take beautiful pictures that are different from the usual.  Many people enjoy taking pictures there every day, but if you want to take especially good pictures there, we recommend you to go to the shrine in the early morning.

Senbon-Torii in winter

Nanzen-ji

Access: Near to the Kyoto City 5 Bus Stop ‘Nanzenji-Eikando-michi Station’ stop.

Near to Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Continue on foot about 10 minutes to reach Nanzen-ji.

Business hours: 8:40~17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February)

Closed: December 28 to 31

Admission fee: Sanmon Gate and Hojo is 500 yen, Nanzenin is 300 yen, Tenju-an and Konchi-in are 400 yen each.

Nanzen-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan. Emperor Kameyama loved this beautiful place so much that in 1264 he built his detached palace here. The temple is especially beautiful in the autumn because of the many yellow and red maples trees on its grounds.

Nanzenji

We especially recommend “suirokaku”. Suirokaku is near Nanzen-ji. It is an aqueduct that was used to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto in the Meiji-era. During this age Japan was rapidly modernizing and taking in a lot of Western culture. It is said that its design is based on the ancient aqueducts of the Roman age. It is very wonderful scenery and a photogenic spot. Therefore, there are always many people there taking photos, especially in recent years.

Suirokaku

Shouju-in Temple

Access: Near to the ‘Okuyamada station’ stop

Business hours: 9:00~16:00(November 16 to March)8:00~17:00(April to November 15)

Closed: December 26 to January 4

Admission fee:400 yen

The Shoujuin temple was founded in 1291, about 800 years ago. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and fresh green. This temple treats visitor very kindly. Therefore, you can make special memories here.  The most recommend spot within the Shouju-in temple grounds is the window called ‘Inome-mado’.

Inome-mado

It is a heart-shaped window because it is based on the shape of a boar’s eye. Boar is an animal regarded for its ability to expel evil and avert fire hazards. Moreover, it brings happiness. Of course, you can enjoy seeing it. However, we want you to see the heart-shaped pool of light. You can see it between 3:00 to 4:00 pm. You must take a picture it. There are many more beautiful things here. For example, the roof has a beautiful picture. You can feel the artistry of Japan traditions at this temple.

“Photogenic” is buzzword and popular all over the world nowadays.  Kyoto is famous area for photogenic spots.  In fact, there are a lot of spots in Kyoto that we haven’t introduced here.  We want you to go photogenic spots in Kyoto and take good pictures!

Unique Buildings in Kyoto

by Noa Murakami,Masashi Morishita and Kaho Imamura

Where can you find ancient Japan? Most people will say it is Kyoto. Indeed, the cityscape of Kyoto is very old-fashioned and is famous worldwide. There are many historic buildings in Kyoto. Buildings have strict regulations to protect their traditional feel. in order to protect them and maintain the traditional atmosphere of the cityscape, the shape, color, and appearance of buildings in Kyoto are highly restricted.

History of Kyoto City

During the Nara period (710-794) the capital city was placed in Kyoto. We call the next era when the capital was changed to Kyoto the Heian period. Kana letters, yamato pictures and stories became popular in the Heian period. Many of the structures built in that era were houses with gardens. Also, the famous Byodo-in Temple, Chuson-ji Temple, and Konjiki-do were built. The original culture of ancient Japan was called kokufu culture. Kokufu were the capitals of the historical provinces of Japan. Since Kyoto was the capital during the Heian period, and many of its buildings were preserved, it now offers visitors a historic cityscape from over 1,300 years. Foreigners like the old cityscape of Kyoto.

Currently Kyoto is working to maintain this historic atmosphere of the cityscape. In January 2006, Kyoto City decided on the maximum height limit allowed for buildings in each area of the city. Currently many tourists – both domestic and foreign – come to Kyoto for sightseeing. And it is people’s desire to maintain its old-fashioned landscape that makes Kyoto such a special place.

Keikanho – Landscape Laws

Keikanho are Japanese laws designed to create and maintain a pleasant scenery in Japanese cities and rural areas. The goals of keikanho is to develop beautiful and stately land, to create rich and comfortable circumstances of life, to improve the economy, and finally to contribute to the development of communal society in Japan. The original keikanho were made in order to protect the loss of tradition because a lot of modern houses, buildings and factories were being built that did not have any relation to tradtional Japanese culture. This caused degradation of tradition and local characteristics, which disturbed the harmony between the townscape and the natural landscape. Therefore, keikanho was put forth in June of 2004 and actually became an enforceable law by June 1st, 2005. As a result, the Japanese government has been able to regulate the way buildings are designed and how they look, including shape, size, materials, and color. In fact, Kyoto now has the strictest keikanho regulations in all of Japan. In this way, the scenery of Kyoto has been protected.

Examples of Keikanho in Action

There are many ways that keikanho have affected the way buildings look in Kyoto. For example, in the famous Gion shopping street, the design of all the signboards of stores in the area are unified, creating a traditional atmosphere.

Another example is post office boxes. Everyone knows that post office boxes in Japan are red and shaped like a square box. However, in Kyoto there are still old post office boxes in the form of cylinders. These can be found on Hanamikoji-dori street in Gion, for example.

There is also an AED box that is so unique, few have ever seen one. The meaning of this kanji is “be careful about fire”.

Also, convenience stores often use different colors in Kyoto than what is the norm in other cities in Japan. For example, Lawson is usually blue, but there are some Kyoto-based branches that use brown.

This same phenomenon can also be found in Kyoto-based restaurants, like McDonald’s, Nagasaki Champon, Freshness Burger, and so on. When compared with their counterparts in other Japanese cities, they are different in Kyoto from the color you usually see. The signboards of all these shops are brown. This is one way to protect the landscape in Kyoto.

Unique Buildings in Kyoto

One unique building with an interesting appearance in Kyoto is an okonomiyaki shop called Issen Yoshoku, which is near Gion-Shijo Station. The name of this shop means ‘Western food’, but its appearance looks traditionally Japanese. Once you enter the restaurant, you can see many wooden plaques on the wall, called ema. Japanese people write their hopes and wishes on the boards and typically hang them in shrines for the Gods to receive. It is very beautiful, so you should go and see it.

Like most major cities in the world, you don’t need to look far to find a Starbucks. And as you might imagine, some of the Starbucks cafes in Kyoto have unique appearances. For example, there is one near Kawaramachi Station in an old wooden building of Kyoto. And not only do they sell items from their normal menu, but they also offer powdered green tea, which is popular with customers. Once inside, you may look at the beautiful courtyard. And one of the highlights of this Starbucks is that they have a tatami room. So you can drink your coffee or tea on a Japanese traditional tatami mat. This is the only Starbucks in the world where you can do this. Therefore, a lot of foreign tourists come here every day.

Conclusion

You can see a lot of old-fashioned, traditional buildings just by strolling around Kyoto on foot. You can meet a lot of people wearing kimonos as well. Kyoto is a fun city with old-fashioned shopping streets and shops. Kyoto is both lively and refined at the same time. Foreign tourists can enjoy the strange landscape. It is a calm space for us Japanese. Kyoto is a town in which you will never get bored. When entering one alley, it may be like a totally different world for you. Everyone, please try walking around Kyoto city.

Access

Issen Yoshoku

You can go to Issen Yoshoku about 3 minutes on foot from Keihan line Gion-shijo stati

〒605-0073

Adress:238 Gion-cho kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan.

TEL:075-533-0001

FAX:075-531-6511

Opening hours:Monday to Friday AM11:00-AM3:00

Weekends and holiday AM10:30-PM10:00

HP: http://www.issen-yosyoku.co.jp/

Starbucks in Ninenzaka Yasaka-Chayaten

You can go to Starbucks in Ninenzaka yasaka-chayaten about 18 minutes on foot from Keihan line Gion shijo station exit1.

If you use the bus, you get off bus at Higashiyama-yasui and can go to the shop about 10 minutes on foot.

〒605-0826

Adress:349 Shimogawara-Higashiirumasuya-cho, Minamimon-dori, Kodaiji,

Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan.

TEL:075-532-0601

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday AM8:00-PM8:00

HP: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/store/search/detail.php?id=1476

One Day Crazy Curry Bus Tour

by Manaka Tsuneyama, Mayu Nishikawa & Natsumi Nishimura

There are a lot of delicious food and beautiful places in Kyoto. We recommend that you take a Kyoto city bus to visit many places in one day. You can take the bus for 600 yen a day. What do you imagine when you think about delicious food in Kyoto? Of course, you might think about traditional Japanese food, like sushi, tempura, or grilled fish. But did you know there are many traditional curry shops in Kyoto? In this article, we will introduce you to three delicious curry shops and three good places to visit along the way. Then, you can get the most out of your one-day bus pass by eating tasty food and seeing some amazing places.

Asipai & The Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

If you want to experience Japanese style, you have to go to a curry shop called Asipai. This curry shop is in an old house, so you can feel like you are at a Japanese grandmother’s house. It has a relaxed atmosphere, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. When you enter this shop, you have to take off your shoes. It’s traditional Japanese style.

Asipai Curry

Once you are seated and ready to order, you can choose chicken curry, pork curry, the special curry plate, or a seasonally limited curry. The special curry plate comes with either chicken curry or pork curry. If you like cheese, you have to add optional cheese. We recommend the cheese topping. For example, one of us chose the seasonally limited curry named Mushroom and Eggplant Chicken Curry with Cheese. It had lots of vegetables and big chunks of meat. It was perfectly spicy and so delicious. Because cheese was added, it became so creamy. The seasonally limited curry is made with Kyoto food, so please give it a try.

After your lunch, you can go to the famous Kyoto Nishiki Food Market. It’s only about ten minutes on foot from Asipai. This market has 400 years of history, with about 130 shops on each side of the street. There are many seasonal ingredients of Kyoto available there. For example, you can buy Kyoto vegetables, yuba, tofu, dried fish and Kyoto pickles. Also, there are many foods you can taste, while you are looking around. We recommend three foods you should try:

Octopus Egg

The first is called an octopus egg. It is an octopus head that contains quail eggs. It’s so small, like a golf ball, which makes it very cute. The taste is little sour, but it goes well with beer.

Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki is basically a rolled Japanese omelet. It is made with broth from bonito flakes, cooking sake, soy sauce. It goes well with rice and miso soup. It is included much Japanese seasoning. So, you can feel Japanese food. 

Nishiki Food Market

Wagashi

Wagashi is the word for Japanese-style sweets. There are many varieties in Nishiki Food Market. For example, you can find Mitarashi dango and yokan. Mitarashi dango is rice dumpling in a sweet soy sauce. It is like a golf ball. Yokan is made with plant based gelatin and small red bean. It is a bar of galled sweet bean paste. The taste is so sweet, like maple syrup.

Besides these, you can find good stores in Nishiki Food Market such as KAI, which sells octopus balls, Miki Keiran, which sells tamagoyaki, and Ko-fukudo, which sells Wagashi. You can also find new Japanese foods in Nishiki Food Marcket.

Kyoto Curry Works – Karil & The Imperial Palace

The next curry shop is called Kyoto Curry Works – Karil. The shop is off the main street, so it is quiet there. You will be able to find this shop easily, because all you have to do is follow the smell of good spicy curry. This shop has eight counter seats, so it is no problem to go there alone.

Karil Curry

The curry there is made by two curry chefs. On the regular menu are dishes like chicken curry, pork curry, and beans and vegetables curry. If you like spicy curry, you should choose the chicken curry rather than the pork curry. In addition, they offer a special curry each month attract repeat visitors.

You can choose to have two kinds of curry from the four types on the menu. One of us chose to have the chicken curry and the shrimp butter curry, the latter being the special curry for the month of November. It had juicy shrimp with a creamy taste. Also, the chicken curry was very spicy and delicious.

The Imperial Palace

After you enjoy eating curry at Karil, you can visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace. You can get there in about 15 minutes on foot. The Kyoto Imperial Palace is the place where successive emperors lived. Passing through the gate, you will see a large site. The ground is covered with gravel. The Imperial Palace is surrounded by the Tsuiji wall. There are six gates in the wall: the Kenrei-mon, Sakuhei-mon, Gisyuu-mon, Seisyo-mon, Kougou-mon and Kensyu-mon. Once you are inside the palace, I recommend that you see the Shishinden, where the emperor holds important ceremonies. This is the main building of the Imperial Palace. The enthronement ceremony was held here until Emperor Showa. This was built in 1855. You can go to see close it twice a year in spring and autumn. This is the most remarkable place in the Imperial Palace. You should take a lot of pictures here. You will come to have a peace of mind after visiting it.

Songbird Coffee & Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan. At Nijo Castle, you can experience Japanese tradition and history, such as floorboards that creak when walked on and Japanese style garden that express a fountain of got and Mount Penglai. Mount Penglai is mythical island where immortals lived in china. No matter what time of the year you visit, you will be able to enjoy all seasons. In the spring, three hundred cherry trees bloom all at the same time. In the summer, you can enjoy stargazing and illumination at night. In the fall, you can see the colorful autumn leaves. And in the winter, you can enjoy the beauty of goldfish in a special art aquarium.

Songbird Coffee is near Nijo castle. This curry shop is good for people who like spicy curry. The shop has a relaxed atmosphere, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. The curry is called Bird’s Nest Curry because the arrangement of curry and rice resembles the nest of a bird. The most popular attraction is the soft-boiled egg top on the rice. It makes the curry taste mild. The taste of onions is sweet, and the taste of the meat is very tender. In addition, there is an optional menu for making your order even more delicious, such as by adding cheese, cilantro, natto and/or broccoli super sprouts.

Songbird Coffee

Songbird Coffee not only serves curry, but also large egg sandwiches. Furthermore, they offer seasonally limited drinks. For example, you can order sweet potato shake in the fall, which is when sweet potatoes are in season in Kyoto. Just like with your visit to Nijo Castle, you can enjoy each of the four seasons at Songbird Coffee in different ways.

Conclusion

We recommended you three delicious curry shops and good tourist spots. Do you want to try going? There are many good places in Kyoto. You will know more about Kyoto than before.

Access

Asipai & Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

・Asipai

The opening hours 11:30~14:00

Kyoto city bus stop Shijo Nishinotoin

・Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

The opening hours 9:30~18:00

Kyoto city bus stop Shijo Kawaramachi

  1. Caril ~Kyoto Curry Factory~ & The Imperial Palace

・Caril

The opening hours 11:00~15:00, 17:00~21:00

Kyoto city bus stop Fuchomae

・The Imperial Palace

The opening hours 9:00~16:30

Kyoto city bus stop Karashuma Imadegawa

3.SONGBIRD COFFEE & Nijo Castle

・SONGBIRD COFFEE

The opening hours 12:00~20:00

Kyoto city bus stop Horikawa Marutamachi

・Nijo Castle

The opening hours 8:45~17:00

Kyoto city bus stop Nijo-mae

Kyoto Horse Racing Track

by Anzu Yoshida, Nanako Yoshino and Yuki Yamakawa 

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack is a popular place to visit in Kyoto, especially for people who like horses and gambling. It is located in the south part of Kyoto, near Yodo station on the Keihan railway line. To enter the grounds, it only costs 200 yen. Races are generally held on the weekends.

The racetrack can seat more than 4,000 people. Some seats are reserved, so they cost more. But most of the seats are free. However, if it is a popular G1 race, it will be filled from the morning. Some of the big horse racing fans board the first train of the day to snatch the best seats, which gives them a clear view of the starting gate or finish line. When they go inside to buy betting tickets, they put a newspaper on their seat to save it. And as some of the stands are covered, visitors can stay dry when the weather is bad.

You can see the paddock out in front of the main stands, on the side opposite of the track. Horses go there before each race and circle around to show their conditions to the crowd. Many fans take pictures of them, and some cheer for their favorite horse and jockey. At the paddock, you can get up really close to horses, so you can feel their strength and size. Kids especially have fun seeing the horses at the paddock. But it is best to be quiet when horses are walking. Big voices would surprise them.

Kyoto Horse Racetrack has both turf and grass courses. One of the turf courses has a slope at the third corner, which is quite unique. Horses have to go up more than 3 meters. And when they run down the hill, they accelerate, so you can see a high-speed homestretch finish. It is exciting!

Many popular races are held at the Kyoto Horse Racetrack, such as the Kikkasho and the Shukasho, the Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ Cup (which is the final race of the Japanese Triple Crown), and the Tennosho, which has a long history. For those races, the racetrack is packed with fans. It is standing room only.

Ticket vending machines are put inside the building. There are many machines, so placing a bet is no problem. It can be done quickly. Also, there are lots of fans milling around the machines, trying to predict horse racing around there.

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack has many facilities other than just a race track for horses. For example, there is an auditorium where visitors can enjoy an interview with either Jockeys or someone else who is famous. And for children, there is a large playground with big equipment and a horse-riding path.

In addition, there are food court and restaurants within the main building. In the food court, you can buy something to eat very quickly, like fried noodles, fried chicken, ramen, etc.

Most of the customers are in a hurry because they want to see the next race, and sometimes the line is long, so food must be served as quickly as possible.

How the Kyoto Horse Racetrack Gets Customers

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack holds numerous events every month. They invite popular guests to promote races. It tries to get people who have never been to a horse race interested in horse racing.

For example, when a very popular male visits the track, the racetrack tries to use him to attract female visitors. Most visitors to the track are men, and even though women are coming, ticket sales weren’t growing as expected. This is probably because the women were not coming to bet. We think the JRA (Japan Racing Association) should aim to attract more male visitors by inviting guests that are popular with men.

For kids, they have a hero show. It is aimed at families with children. As described above, there is a playground, so families can all enjoy a trip to the horse races. There is something for family members of all ages.

On some race days, they offer food events, too. They invite popular restaurants from all over Japan, so people who love food will come. For example, one of the races is called the Ramen Derby. So people who love ramen will come to the track, not only to watch the race, but also to eat a delicious bowl of ramen.

Special events like these help attract visitors to the racetrack, and for this reason, visitors are increasing. However, this is not connected to the sales of betting. Therefore, the JRA must find ways to entice people to bet on the races in order to grow their sales.

The Betting Rules of Horse Racing

There are many chances to get a lot of money in horse racing all at once. Having a big win is a dream for many bettors. But how do you go about placing a bet? Well, first you need to get a betting ticket. The payout changes depending on how much you pay and what the odds are on the horse at the time you place the bet. You can place bets as low as 100 yen, which is equivalent to about one U.S. dollar.

There are a lot of ways of betting, for example, win, exacta, quinella, tierce, trio, and so on. Betting to win is the simplest way. We recommend it for beginners. In this way, you chose a horse that you think will be the fastest. If the horse crosses the finish line first, you can win money. Next, the exacta is more difficult than a bet to win. In this way, you need to choose two horses that you think will be the fastest. In addition, you need to guess what place you think the two horses will come in. If your guess is right, you win. And in quinella, you don’t have to guess their order of finish; just chose two fastest horses. Tierce is very similar to exacta. In this way you have to choose three horses and guess the rank 1st, 2nd and 3rd. If your guess of the 3 horses and rank is right, you win. And Trio is very similar to quinella. You have to choose three fastest horses instead of two fastest horses. Other rules are the same as those of quinella.

These are just a few examples. There are actually a lot of other ways to place bets. You should enjoy your favorite way. The more complicated and difficult the bet is, the rewards will be bigger. After you get your betting ticket, all you have to do next is just enjoy the race. Running horses are very cool. It is a lot of fun to watch them. And if you win the race, just follow the rules and go collect your money. Horse racing is big dream, but it is not good do it too much. Bet responsibly.

The Paddock

You can see the paddock out in front of the main stands, on the side opposite of the track. Horses go there before each race and circle around to show their conditions to the crowd. Many fans take pictures of them, and some cheer for their favorite horse and jockey. At the paddock, you can get up really close to horses, so you can feel their strength and size. Kids especially have fun seeing the horses at the paddock. But it is best to be quiet when horses are walking. Big voices would surprise them.

Conclusion

The Kyoto Horse Racetrack has a long history with many memorable races. Lots of horse racing fans go there to watch and bet on races. Recently, the track has enriched its facilities, so both children and adults can better enjoy being there. We think that once more people discover how much fun it is, the number of people who visit the track will increase in the near future.