January 21, 2017

by Mayumi Otsuka, Mai Takezawa, and Kanako Wakamatsu

You can see Kimono (old style Japanese clothes) all over Japan, but especially in Kyoto. Kimonos have many different patterns and colors, but do you know how many of them are actually designed? Well, the designs on kimonos are often achieved by dyeing, using a method known as Kyo-yuzen. Here, we would like to introduce some aspects of this unique dyeing method.

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1. History of Japanese dyeing methods

2. What is Kyo-yuzen?

3. How to dye by using Kyo-yuzen

4. Kyo-yuzen in foreign countries

5. Actual experience of Kyo-yuzen

History of Japanese dyeing methods

There have been a lot of dyeing methods used in Japan over the years, and most of these were developed from Chinese dyeing types. These were introduced to Japan several thousand years ago, and taught by people from China or Korea, they formed the basis of Japanese dyeing tradition. Before this people dyed clothes very simply by applying different types of grass, flowers or even mud. In the Asuka era, in the middle of the 6th century, there was a system developed that divided people by the color of the clothes they wore. This was to distinguish between class and status, and required greater use of color in fabrics and design. In addition, in the Nara era, in the 8th century, international trade was increased, which meant further diversification in dyeing methods were introduced and spread all over Japan, with each area developing its own style. One of the most famous of these was Kyo-yuzen, a dyeing method created in Kyoto that became hugely popular. Next, we would like to introduce this unique and beautiful, traditional Japanese item.

What is Kyo-yuzen?



Kyo-yuzen is one of the dyeing methods developed in Kyoto during the Edo era of the mid to late 17th century. At that time, there was an artist in Kyoto by the name of Miyazaki Yuzensai, who had built a reputation for the exquisitely drawn folding fans he produced.  Due to this, his patrons soon began to encourage him to apply his artistic skills to designs for kimono, too, which he did.  Following this, his name quickly came to be associated with top class kimono design in Kyoto, hence the name that was given to this particular dyeing style, Kyo-yuzen.

There are some interesting features unique to Kyo-yuzen that need to be noted.  First, it is possible to apply any kind of design you want, just like drawing a picture.  Second, there are many colors and hues used in the production of Kyo-yuzen pieces.  Third, a technique using elements of glutinous rice is used to guard against colors mixing or merging together.  Finally, Kyo-yuzen is done by combining more than one dyeing method, and requires several steps to achieve a final result.  Through this, Kyo-yuzen is quite superior to other dyeing methods and has become very popular all over the world.

Kyo-yuzen in foreign countries

As we said before, Kyo-yuzen is very famous globally.  For example, some events involving Japanese culture have been held recently in Paris, and there are sales booths for Kyo-yuzen products set up there.  At the booths, stainless steel mugs that are made in cooperation between Japanese Kyo-yuzen craftpersons and craftpersons in Paris are sold, and these are also available in Eigamura, a very famous sightseeing spot in Kyoto. Selling a large number of these mugs means expanding the exposure to traditional crafts of Kyoto to people in foreign countries

How to dye by using Kyo-yuzen

There are two main types of dyeing method used for Kyo-yuzen. One of these is hand painting, and the other is using stencils. First, we will explain the hand painting method:

  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!  


Kyo-yuzen studio


Kyo-yuzen items

One of the studios where you can experience Kyo-yuzen is “Marumasu-Nishimuraya” in Kyoto city.

Here’s their website:

You can reserve an experience time and get the access details there.

Doi-Master Picklers Of Kyoto

2015UA0042 Mina Ito, 2015UA0064 Shiori Iwawaki, 2015UA0067 Hinako Uematsu


Have you ever tried Japanese style pickles? If you imagine they are like foreign pickles, you would be wrong, because they are very different. Nowadays, there are many pickles in the supermarket, but the pickles in this shop are much nicer compared to them. “Doi no Shibazuke” (Doi’s Pickles) might be the perfect Kyoto souvenir for your relatives or friends.



Doi-master pickles shop

Doi no Shibazuke is one of the most well-known pickle making companies, and is famous for its shibazuke. It has a very long history and has been loved by many people for years.  The company was founded in Ohara, Kyoto, in 1901.  Ohara is a famous red perilla (Japanese basil) growing area, and is the birthplace of shibazuke, which are pickled summer vegetables.




The first CEO of the company wanted many people to know about shibazuke, so he founded this company there, first of all selling tsukemono (regular pickles) just in front of the family home. After years of struggle, they finally managed to build the main store in Ohara, and thereafter opened more branches, one after the other, throughout Kyoto.  Now, they currently have 15 stores including a sub-branch in a department store. There are also branches in 6 other prefectures: Osaka, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Fukuoka, and Kagoshima.  This company has only had five presidents in its history, and the current Mr. Doi is the 5th CEO of the firm.  He has worked at Doi no Shibazuke as a staff member since he graduated college, and in 2001, when the company celebrated its 100th anniversary, he was inaugurated as the new CEO.



Doi no Shibazuke has their own farm for growing perilla leaf, and the reason for this is that they can have greater control over the taste of the product. They grow perilla leaf from seed, so they can have the same level of quality year on year.  They don’t use agricultural chemicals to grow their perilla and use a cultivation method that is more than 800 years old.  From June to July is generally the season for growing perilla leaf, but they extend their growing beyond this to make sure they can provide more pickles. DSC_0704

Importantly, Doi’s way of making shibazuke is to use eggplants only, and not cucumber. A cheaper way to make shibazuke is to use cucumber instead of eggplant because it reduces the cost and the process is easier, but Doi insist on eggplant for the sake of quality.



First they get the best eggplants from their partner farms. Secondly, they use a machine to chop the eggplant into smaller pieces.  Thirdly, the employees hop into a big wooden barrel containing the eggplant, fine perilla leaves and salt, and then tread the mixture

with their feet, just like they do with grapes for wine making. The reason they tread the eggplant mixture is to help retain the taste and smell of the vegetable.  If they don’t tread it, the good smell will disseminate and the great taste of the perilla will not be mixed in.

Finally, the mixture, along with added ginger, is packed into a wooden barrel and left to ferment for around one month, with a large stone placed on the barrel lid to seal everything in.  Every year, this company makes 120 huge wooden barrels full of pickles and keeps them for shipment.  Overall, they produce an average of 200 tons of pickles in a year, so in the busy period they can make up to one ton of pickles a day.










So where can you buy them? Doi no Shibazuke has 6 shops in Kyoto, and they are also sold in department stores in Japan, so you should be able to locate them easily.  If you do have a problem hunting them down though, you can also buy them on the Internet. (

京のはんなり漬 WS40   (秋冬)【送料無料】イメージ

The best 3 tsukemono are; shibazuke (475 yen), senmaizuke, which is made from radish and tastes slightly sweet (691 yen), and assorted tsukemono, which offers a variety of different pickles (2,025 yen).   When you buy pickles on the internet, there are some different assortments that are very special and cost around 4,000 or 5,000 yen.  We are sure if you buy these for your family or friends they will be really happy.  The shop manager also told us a good way to eat pickles is to put them on a cracker with some cheese.  Japanese pickles also go well with pasta as a topping, and some match well with certain wines.


Japanese pickles are not like foreign pickles, and this company is a much nicer shop compared to other shops. They have their own farm, grow their own perilla leaves, and make pickles on the premises.  If you plan to come to Kyoto, we really recommend you visit and buy some pickles at Doi no Shibazuke – an Ohara and Kyoto tradition.

(permission to use photos given by Mr. Doi)




Kyoto BAL

By Yumika Fujii, Erika Wada & Konomi Shimbashi

frontThere are many shopping stores in the Kawaramachi shopping district in downtown Kyoto. The name of the district comes from Kawaramachi-dori, which is one of the main streets running north and south in Kyoto city. People who live in Kyoto and Kansai call the entire area ‘Kawaramachi’. There are many popular places in Kawaramachi, such as big amusement arcades, fast food shops, fashion buildings, department stores and so on. In addition, there are some famous places, such as Gion and Yasaka Shrine near Kawaramachi, so you can go there on foot. Both young people and elderly people can enjoy themselves in Kawaramachi because there are many traditional souvenir shops and modern restaurants. But among those, one historical place to shop is an impressive building called Kyoto BAL. The Kyoto BAL building has a long history of about 40 years, and a lot of people have loved it for a long time. However, recently it closed for 2-and-a-half years in order to rebuild and change the concept of the store.

Kyoto BAL

The BAL has two stores in Japan: in Kyoto and Hyogo. The Kyoto BAL is located just south of the intersection of Kawaramachi Street and Sanjo Street, on the east side of Kawaramachi. There are 8 floors, 2 in the basement and 6 above the ground, including 33 shops. Kyoto BAL was first built in November, 1970, as a building devoted to fashion-related shops that has a lot of attractive merchandise. Therefore, many people come to shop at BAL and they have loved it for a long time.  The original concept of BAL is the place where a lot of people can get together, like a party in France.

Recently, BAL has been closed down for renovation. The purpose was not only to change its appearance, but also its interior and concept. The result was a business space that three generations of parent, child, and grandparent can enjoy together. For example, there is the Café and Meal MUJI on the fourth floor, which is a café where you can enjoy the natural flavor of vegetables or fruits. This would be attractive to parents and grandparents. Children, on the other hand, can enjoy the colorful goods at Flying Tiger Copenhagen of Kyoto BAL annex, which is also located on Kawaramachi-dori. There is also the Tiger SpilBar on the third floor, where you can enjoy playing table tennis, table soccer, the board games, and so on. In addition, people can drink a glass of beer or a cup of coffee, so adults can enjoy it, too.

flying tiger

The Appearance and The Interior

The appearance and the interior was significantly changed in 2015. The inner and outer appearance of the BAL is like a traditional American luxury hotel. The floor is made of wood, and the aisles is quite wide. In addition, there are many windows on each floor, giving a bright and expansive feeling to customers when they shop. Furthermore, a lot of sofas are set around the elevator hall, near the escalator, and also inside the shops on each floor so that customers can take a rest while shopping. Especially, the restroom for women on the 4th floor is bigger than any other, and is based on a beautiful white space, giving it a European atmosphere.

interior   interior   interior

Maruzen Bookstore

For many years, the book store called Maruzen was a Kyoto BAL mainstay. However, it disappeared from the BAL building in the mid-2000s for about 10 years. Fortunately, however, the historic Maruzen bookstore is back in the Kyoto BAL again. Maruzen is famous for the novel, Lemon (檸檬), written by Motojirou Kajii (梶井基次郎).   Motojirou Kajii was born on February 17th, 1901 in Osaka, and his life ended when he was only 30-years-old. He was a Japanese novelist, and he continued to write a lot of novels while he struggled with disease. Therefore, he is the one of the most famous novelists because he wrote a novel which combined the sensory with the perceptual. It is said that the famous novel, Lemon, is one of his masterpieces. In the novel, Maruzen is one of the featured locations. For this reason, Maruzen and Lemon will forever be intertwined.

Maruzen   book store   Maruzen

Maruzen was first built in 1872 and then relocated to Sanjo Street in 1907. After that it was relocated in its current spot in 1940, but in 2005 it closed down. During its existence, many fans of the novel, Lemon, put real lemons in front of the Maruzen while they felt sad. And now that is back in new Kyoto BAL, it is bigger than ever, spanning both the 1st and 2nd floors of the basement including a cafeteria where people can taste Lemon cake. Also, it features about 1 million Japanese books, including manga (comic) and study-aid books, and about 70 thousand foreign books. In additional, it has not only books, but also writing materials. Now that Maruzen is back, Lemon fans can once again put out real lemons when they feel sad.   As you can see, although there are many shops in the Kawaramachi district of Kyoto, it is Kyoto BAL that is one of the most historic and attractive buildings in the area. If you visit Kyoto, why don’t you go to Kyoto BAL and enjoy your time with family and friends.

Access to the Kyoto BAL

251 Yamazaki-cho, Kawaramachi-Sanjo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, KYOTO, Japan   You can go there by taxi easily, if you tell this address to a taxi driver. It takes seven minutes on your foot from Kawaramachi station, Hankyu It takes eight minutes on your foot from Sanjo station, Keihan It takes five minutes on your foot from Shijo Kawaramachi, bus stop of Kyoto City Bus.

Candy Culture in Kyoto

by Akane Kitakido and Narumi Kitagawa

Candy has been loved by Japanese people for many generations, and is a great representation of traditional Japanese culture. Most people might imagine that candy is a solid, sweet, and circular thing. However, Japanese candy used to be in liquid form for a long time, and people used to use candy as a kind of seasoning. These interesting facts are reflected by the origin of candy in Japan.

One of the main ingredients of traditional Japanese candy was liquid from ivy, so it was mostly a sweet syrup. For this reason, candy was used as not only a sweet seasoning, but also as a precious source of nutrients. After refined sugar came to Japan from abroad, the candy culture quickly developed. At that time, it was considered to be a classy and expensive food.

In Kyoto, a unique way to enjoy candy appeared. It was called sculptured candy. It is said that a candy craftsman made a special red and white colored candy to present as an offering to a temple. Gradually, many craftsmen competed in the design and beauty of their sculptured candy with creative ideas. Even now, sculptured candy is developing more and more in wonderful ways, and some of them capture the eyes – and tongues – of the world.


Kinds of Candy

The single word ‘candy’ covers many shapes when it comes to Japanese candy. The most basic one is called tamamono. Sometimes people call it tamaame or teppoutama. ‘Tama’ means ‘sphere’ in Japanese. When we hear the word ‘candy’, everyone will imagine this spherical, round candy. There are single colored ‘tamamono’, which come in six or seven different colors. The most colorful one is called temariame because it looks like a temari, which is a traditional Japanese ball used as a toy since the Edo period (1608-1868).

Another kind of candy is kumiame. It comes from the word kumu, which means ‘to assemble’ in Japanese. This candy is made by assembling many kinds of ingredients. In this way, a complicated design like a pattern or flower, or a character’s face can appear on the surface of the candy. By changing the way to we set the candy during production, we can make a lot of designs on each candy. These candies are made from sugar and starch syrup. After stewing at 160 degrees centigrade, flavor and pigment is added, followed by kneading. While it is still hot, it is cut and made into a desired shape.


A Wonderful Shop: Nanaco Plus+

Nanaco Plus+ is a shop that sells accessories made from traditional Japanese candy. It respects the changing seasons that Japanese people have cherished throughout history to create their unique and modern crafts. Not only candy, but all of the Japanese sweets have sense of seasons because they show the beauty of nature. With this characteristic of Japanese sweets, Nanaco Plus+ has made handicrafts that make it easier for people to love both tradition and the change of seasons. The concept of this shop is “to enjoy seeing, wearing and eating candy,” so it can bring us the fun from traditional to modern candy culture.

nanaco plus

Products of Nanako Plus+

In this unique shop, there are many kinds of products. Accessories like earrings, hair ties, and hair clips are all made with real, traditional Japanese candies like tamamono or kumiame. All of these sweet accessories are really cute and especially they go well with traditional Japanese clothes like yukata or kimono. Not only does Nanaco Plus+ sell candy accessories, they also have charms for bags or smartphones. It might be nice gift for friends or foreign people. They must be surprised if they know that such a cute accessory or charms are made with real candy. These cute and unique products are a great combination of the traditional and modern in Japan.

Interview from Nanaco plus+

We visited this wonderful shop. It is located on a narrow street. Actually, the store is not large, but it was packed with people anyway. Not only young people, but also older people were enjoying seeing the products of nanako plus+.

Unfortunately, taking photos is banned inside the shop, but we were still able to talk with the clerks. They said their belief is in the importance of continuing something with creativity. “We hope to express the traditions of Japan through our products,” they said. They also said that recently they had opened a store in Tokyo, so now more foreign people are interested in their products. They were very happy about it.

During our visit, we bought a charm and earring there. The charm with green tea candy can be bought only at the Kyoto store.

candy nanaco

Left: piercing 1,296 yen / Right: charm 540yen



There are two Nanaco Plus+ shops in Japan, but the main one is in Kyoto. It is near the most popular street in Kyoto: Shijo-Kawaramachi, so visitors from overseas can easily stop by the shop while sightseeing. Moreover, they can feel the tradition of Kyoto culture on the way to Nanaco Plus+. If visitors are unable to visit the shop, they can still order their products online.

The great sento of Kyoto ~Nishiki-yu~

Ayaka Murai, Hikari Yanai & Daichi Hatakeyama

The great sento of Kyoto ~Nishiki-yu~



Most people spend their bath time only to take a bath and shower themselves. How do you want to enjoy your bath time? There is one traditional public bath here in the city of Kyoto called Nishiki-yu. A number of people really like to go to the public bath.  So, I would like to introduce about this great public bath.


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Sento is one of the cultures of Japan. Japanese people call the public bath sento. Nishiki-yu has a long history. It opened in 1927. It is in the center of Kyoto citiy’s, Nishiki market. Nishiki market is called the kitchen of Kyoto. The place is famous for tradition and culture in Kyoto. It is near Karasuma station on the Hankyu line. It takes only 5 minutes to walk to the public bath from the station. So, I recommend you take a train and walk to go to this public bath. Nishiki-yu is usually open from 16:00 to 24:00, but every Monday, it is closed.


noren When I visited there, there were Japanese shop curtains,noren, which are hung outside the entrance and has the shop’s name written on them. It seems that they change their color to deep blue during Gion-matsuri and New Year holidays. I would like to see the special noren. In addition, the outside is very tasteful. It is a three-storied, wooden building like the traditional Kyoto-style house called Machiya. Nishiki-yu has been featured in various magazines .


image2 In side this public bath is quite tasteful too. The bathtub is very hot for the first customer. The temperature is about 43 degrees. The bath is filled right up to the brim and spills over with new bathwater every time. So the bathwater is clear every time.






Regular customers of this public bath leave their basket at the changing room. It has their name written on the it. This basket is a traditional craft, and the price is about 40,000 yen. You can use the basket in this public bath, but you have to use this basket carefully, because of its high price. In addition, not anyone can make it anymore. However, sento visitors have decreased in Japan recently. So the owner set up some events to draw more guests to this public bath. For example, comic story telling party, music party, second hand book fair, Japanese summer cotton kimono on the spot sale party, and so on. You can also listen to jazz music only in this public bath in Japan. The manager, Mr. Hasegawa, likes music very much. He especially likes jazz music. He has a lot of CDs in his watch stand. As a result of these events, more tourists came to Nishiki-yu. I became popular for young people. Everyone can become friends in this public bath. Sometimes apprentice geisha, Maiko-san, come to this public bath. Maybe if you are lucky, you can meet one.




After taking a bath please go to Nishiki market. You can feel more Kyoto style. If you want to feel Kyoto in your bones and meet people who will be your friends, please go to Nishiki-yu.




Learning how to Kyo-Kanoko: A special trip to the Miyako-messe


by Manami Otahara & Miki Sawai





Today we went to Miyako-messe. Miyako-messe is a museum, you can see traditional crafts in Kyoto. When we entered in Miyako-messe, we were very surprised, because there are many people in there. In Miyako-messe, you can see demonstration by craftspeople. The demonstrations are very powerful, so we were excited. Next, we went to the souvenir corner. You can buy many kind of traditional crafts. For example, scarfs, bags, hair accessories and so on, however we were most impressed by the Kanoko.

There are 74 traditional crafts in Kyoto. Everybody knows about kimono, however not everyone knows Kanoko. What is Kanoko? There are two patterns of kimono, one is dyed, another is woven. Kanoko is dyed cloth. Kanoko is used for Kimono and Kanoko is one of the 74 crafts.  However it is different from dyed Kimono. There are many bits and wrinkles. How is it made? It is made from one piece of cloth. The cloth is made by craftspeople. Craftspeople twist one by one.

How many twists do you think it takes to make Kanoko? One hundred? One thousand? This Kimono is twisted three hundred thousand times. When people make Shibori Kimono, it takes 6 months to 1 year. Why does it take a lot of time?   Why is called it Kanoko shibori?   The reason is because Kanoko means young deer in Japanese. Japanese people believe Kanoko looks like a deer pattern, therefore people say Kanoko.



In 7c, Kanoko was introduced to Japan from India. This was written about in a book and there are some Waka poems about Kanoko Shibori from 7c as well. In 10c, Shibori was worn by princesses, princes, and rich people. In the Edo period, it was around as a brand clothes in Japan, and it was made in Kyoto, which was called Kyo-Kanoko Shibori. For a long time, craftspeople passed on the technique of how to twist from generation to generation.

In Kyoto, are there many souvenirs? If you come to Kyoto, what souvenir will you buy? Sweets? Kimono? Macha? I recommend Kanoko. Kanoko is used to make hair accessories and it is a reasonable price. Kanoko Kanzashi is a good item, because Maiko wear Kanzashi. Kanzashi is a hair accessory, and it is able to hold up your hair with only one stick. It is very cute! Another one is furoshiki, it is big cloth, so it can wrap ground something. For example, you can wrap a present in it to become a bag so it is easy to carry. If you come to Kyoto, you should buy a Kanoko item for a souvenir for your family.



9-1, Okazaki Seisyoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8343

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.

Karancolon Kyoto – a souvenir shop

by Maiko Hotehama and Sae Nagata

When you visit Kyoto, what kinds of souvenir will you buy? In Kyoto, there are a lot of souvenirs, for example, Japanese-style confectionery, Japanese green tea, and Japanese pickles. I strongly recommend the cute Japanese-designed goods at Karancolon Kyoto. Of course, for woman it will be fine as present for yourself or your friends, and also for man. If they buy it for your girlfriend, she will be definitely delighted.


What is Karancolon Kyoto ?

Karancolon Kyoto is a shop that has many kinds of goods that are cute Japanese-patterns, for example, bags, purses, pouches, pencil cases and towels. Karancolon Kyoto was established in May, 2005 by itochu as a new project, and was started in Sanjo, Kyoto. Itochu is a company that has been producing and selling footwear, bags and merchandise since March, 1895.


History of Karancolon Kyoto

Since opening the main store in Shijo-dori street in July 2007, the number of Karancolon Kyoto shops in Kyoto has been increasing, and now there are 4 shops, in Shijo-dori street, near Kiyomizudera temple, at Kyoto station and in Arashiyama. In addition, Karancoln Kyoto has shops not only in Kyoto, but also in other areas in Japan, for example, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Fukuoka. This year, Karancolon Kyoto had its tenth anniversary.


Here is introduction of things at Karancolon Kyoto. First, original products of Karancolon Kyoto.

Original goods of Karancolon Kyoto

This series are printed on cloth made of cotton or hemp clothe. There are many variations, from the bags in picture above to small articles such as commuter pass holders and change purses. The bag on the left is a gamaguchi, and the one on the right is oblong bag.


Next, original products that you can only buy at the shops in Kyoto. There are three kinds of products, which are each different patterns and designs.

Kyoto original products

The first ones are design is based on houses and architecture in Kyoto. The cloth of this series is made carefully by dying patterns in fabric at dye house in Kyoto. Both pouches in the picture are pouch with Gamaguchi design.


The second ones are designed with ornamental hairpins of maiko, the apprentice geisha, walking in entertainment district in Kyoto. The cloth of this series is crepe, and dyed carefully at dye house in Kyoto. The oblong case is for glasses, and the others are pouch with Gamaguchi design.


Last ones are goods designed with scenery of Kyoto. They are made by using glossy cloth a long time to weave. Both pouches in the picture are Gamaguchi, but the right ones is with a handle made of leather.


Lastly, seasonal products. You can enjoy and feel the four seasons in Japan by these products which remind us of the season.

Seasonal products

Karancolon Kyoto sells not only goods that you can buy all year, but also seasonal products that you can buy in particular period. For example, a round fan in summer, and a rabbit and moon in autumn because autumn is the season of moon viewing in Japan.


What did you think about a Japanese souvenir shop, Karancolon Kyoto ? I would like you to visit there ,feel japanese culture, and find a favorite item if you come to Kyoto or another city in Japan, and also please check official site.


*Official site

*Main shop

Address : 〒600-8001, 83-1, nishiirushincho, shijo-dori, shimogyoku, kyoto

TEL : 075-253-5535


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.


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.


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.

The Toretore center

By Arisa Hirano and Erina Okamoto

  Where do you buy fish when you want to buy it? I think you go to the supermarket. However you can get very fresh fish in Kyoto. My favorite place to buy fresh fish is in Maizuru.

toretoreAbout the Toretore center

  In Maizuru, there is fishing harbor. It is called the Tore-tore center. Tore-tore means catch lots of fish. It’s on the north side of Kyoto and the Sea of Japan. It is said that it is the biggest fishery center in the Sea of Japan. It was set up in 2002.

  It conducts business from 9 am ~ 5 pm. It takes 2 and a half hour by car from Kyoto city. If you take a train, you should get on a JR train and get off at Nishimaizuru station. 5 fisher branch shops and 13 shops are in the center. Fish are very fresh and cheap. Not only do they sell fish, but also shellfish, shrimp, octopus, seaweed and souvenir.

If you are hungry, you can eat the seafood that you bought then and there. Frist, the store staff cut and broils it for you. Second, there is food court. You can eat raw seafood on top rice and miso-soup (bean paste soup) with shellfish. Third, you can eat seafood tempura (seafood dipped in batter and deep-fried). You cannot eat fresh seafood like that in any other place. In the Tore-tore center, you can hear fisherman’s lively voices. If you ask questions about the seafood, they’ll answer you, like how to cook and eat the delicious seafood.

toretore1Why is the fish so delicious?

 Why is the fish sold in toretore center so delicious? I’ll tell you the secret.

    First of all, I’ll explain the distribution channel of fish that are sold in the grocery store or the supermarket. Each fishing market and fishermen’s association harvest fish. Then, they send the fish to the central markets in Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. It usually takes one to two days to arrive because it is transported from a long distance. Then, the fish are set up. After that, they are sent to supermarkets, department stores and fresh fish stores. They can’t keep up fresh fish because it takes time. At Toretore, the speed is different. Fisherman harvest fish in Wakasa bay or Tango peninsula.

 toretore5   After that, it’s sent to Maizuru market in fishermen’s association in Kyoto. Then, they are sent to the Toretore center. The time required is only ten minutes! Fresh fish are sold in the Toretore center immediately. Freshness is completely different. It is said that the price of auction is decided depending on six points. They are, the kind of fish, the freshness, the quantity of fish, whether the fish have plenty of fat or not, whether the fish have flabby muscles or not and, the fishing ground. The fish that are sold in the Toretore center meet these requirements.

    Therefore these fish have a high price. However, the Toretore center sells fish at moderate price. For example, they sold Atka mackerel which has plenty of fat in 800yen and 5 pieces of flounders for 1200yen. Also, there are a lot of processed seaweeds. For example, salted fish guts, octopus with green horseradish paste, fish minced and steamed, and a kind of brown algae. They are good accompanying dish with rice


Charming pointstoretore3

One of the Toretore center’s charming points is that we can eat fresh fish and seafood there. Many of stores at the Toretore center provide the services that broil them in front of us. When we went there, some old men asked to broil Atka mackerel and they ate it with rice and miso soup. It smelled so good. We chose seafood plate. We had calamari, scallops, octopus, and shrimp. Surprisingly, the price of the plate was only 1000 yen. Is it good bargain? They are really crunchy and tasty. The sauce which on them was also good. It was wonderful because we can enjoy eating some different things.


  Furthermore, we tried to eat a giant pacific oyster. We usually eat it steamed or broil, but we ate it raw. They were very fresh, so it’s no problem. We were impressed with the giant pacific oyster’s size. It’s no exaggeration to say that the size was three times as large as the usual one. Therefore, it was substantial and satisfying. We ate it with squeezed a lemon, and it was really delicious. We recommend eating it when you have chance to go to toretore center.

  We made a lot of discoveries in the Toretore center. If you are interested in the Toretore center after reading our article, why don’t you go there?





Web site:

Address : 〒624-0946 905, Shimofukui, Maizurushi, Kyto

Phone: 0773-75-6125