Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

March 27, 2020

by Yuki Ifuku and Yumeka Goto

The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art is the one of the most historical buildings and iconic places in Kyoto City. In March 2020; however, it is going to change its name to the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art, and the museum is going to be repaired, and the old building is going to be demolished. This museum is one of the public museums representing Kyoto Prefecture (Kyoto Province), located in Okazaki Park in Kyoto. The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art was the oldest public museum in Japan and this museum represented the imperial crown style. For these reasons, it is very important, and we can feel the history of Kyoto.

The History of The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art opened in 1933; however, it started making building plans to celebrate the enthronement ceremony of the Emperor Showa at the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1928, so it was initially called the Showa Imperial Coronation Art Museum of Kyoto. Then the name was changed to The Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art in 1952. It is the second public museum in Japan after the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. This building style was called “imperial crown style”. This eastern and Japanese eclectic architectural style started in Japan in the 1930s. It is identified by established Japanese styles of roofs on top of a Western style of building. The main building remains even after being repaired. This museum also shares as a rental hall, and they built an annex to hold more exhibitions. The main exhibitions are permanent collections, various public exhibitions, and college graduation exhibitions. Also, this museum holds a large-scale exhibition that is organized by a newspaper company. As a museum, it has many collections. For example, there are about 3200 collections mainly from 1868, and thereafter, to the 1990s, of Japanese paintings, Western paintings, and arts and crafts.

The New Museum of Art: The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

 The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art will be renewed and reopened on March 21st, 2020. It was designed by Jun Aoki, an architect and the new museum director. Focusing on modern art of Kyoto, it stores about 3600 different kinds of art such as traditional Japanese paintings, Western paintings, sculptures and traditional crafts. Specifically, there are four significant changes. First, Jun Aoki repaired some of the old parts and sections of the museum. Second, he exhibited a range and diversity of art. Third, he expanded the space for exhibitions. Lastly, there are many other notable points. He also created “Kyocera Square”. This area functions as an exhibition stage; for example, holding various kinds of events. Also, people will now enter the museum through this area. Traditionally, people entered through the main door, but the entrance method will change. Visitors will pass through the new entrance, which is made of glass. The main building was repaired and was left the same as much as possible and the functionality of the facility was updated. Also, Mr. Aoki built a new building to exhibit modern art called the Higashiyama Cube. The museum also has additional facilities; for example, a café called Enfuse and a shop called Art Lab Kyoto. In addition, the number of photographs allowed in the museum will increase and there will be more visitors who are likely to come. Moreover, you will be able to rent an exhibition space in the new museum for parties, workshops and meetings.

Exhibition Schedule in 2020

・「Art of Kyoto, Dream of 250 years」(March 21st –December 6th) ・「RURI NO JYOUDO」in Higashiyama Cube (March 21st-June 14th) ・「The Doraemon Exhibition Kyoto 2020」(July 4th-August 30th) ・「 ANDY WARHOL KYOTO/Andy・Warhol・Kyoto」(September 19th-January 3rd, 2021)

Conclusion

The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art is known as a national gallery that is representative of the Kansai area in Japan, and it has a long history. In the future, it will continue to develop and to change with the times. Recently, even though most students don’t seem to go to this museum, it is worth taking a visit there. Also, the Tokyo Olympics will be held in 2020, and many foreigners will come to Japan, and to Kyoto, so the museum will welcome a growing number of visitors more than ever.

Address of the Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art

124, Okazaki Saishiyou Jichou Saikyou Ku, Kyoto

Access

Train→It takes 8 minutes from the Tozai Subway Line

Bus→ City Bus Routes 5, 100, 110 from Kyoto Station

City Bus Routes 5, 46 from Kyoto Kawaramachi Station

City Bus Route 5 from Sanjo Station

Opening Time:

10:00〜18:00

Closed Days:

Every Monday (Open Holidays)

Year-End and New Year (December 28th to January 2nd)

Admission Fee

Adults: 1500 yen

University/High school students: 1100 yen

Children below Junior high school: free

TEL: 075-761-0444  

Recommended Food Information in Enmachi, Kyoto

by Masashi Morishita, and Noa Murakami

Do you know Enmachi? It is a sightseeing spot in Kyoto. There are many temples and shops there. You can go by train from Kyoto Station in about ten minutes. In particular, we recommend that you eat delicious foods if you go to Enmachi because there are a lot of good restaurants there. We visited a restaurant and a café this time. The first one is a famous ramen restaurant. Ramen is a noodle soup dish that was originally imported from China. The next one is a cafe. It is a curry and pancake cafe. We want to introduce this restaurant and café.

Tantanmen YEBISU

Tantanmen YEBISU

At first, we will explain about ramen. As we said, ramen is a noodle soup dish. It has become one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It’s common to eat it for dinner. You can find ramen restaurants in every corner of Japan and the tastes of countless regional variations. We went to a restaurant called “Tantanmen YEBISU” in Enmachi. In this restaurant, Tantanmen is delicious. Tantanmen is Chinese noodles in spicy soup. It looks red, and it’s hot and spicy food. We actually ate it, and it was very delicious, and you can select the level of hotness (spiciness). Therefore, you can enjoy eating tantanmen even if you are not good at eating hot tasting food. Also, the “cheese tantanmen” is the most popular ramen for woman because it is not hot and even children can eat it. This shop is bright and very comfortable. The staff are very gentle and will welcome you with pleasure. In addition, there are some kind services. For example, it offers its customers paper aprons, hair ties, and soup spoons with small holes. Any customer who wears a white shirt or whose hair is long can enjoy tantamen without getting stains on

tantanmen ramen

themselves by using the paper apron and hair tie. Also, you can eat small ingredients like meat and green onions in tantanmen by using the soup spoon with small holes. The original way of eating ramen in Japan is to make a loud sound

cheese tantanmen ramen

while eating, similar to a slurping sound. You shouldn’t worry about making sounds when eating Asian noodles in Japan because eating loudly (slurping) is a good thing in Japan when eating noodles. It is very surprising. Actually, people will just think you are enjoying your noodle meal! When you eat tantanmen in this restaurant, you can make a loud sound, so let’s eat tantanmen.

Café and Bar, Off Time

front entrance

This café is a hidden café. All of the menu items such as curry, plate lunch, french toast, focaccia and sweets is homemade. In addition, this café has a relaxed atmosphere, so you can avoid the crowds and enjoy a leisurely meal because it located in a calm place. Also, there are a lot of miscellaneous goods, and the interior design is good.

You can enjoy reading Japanese children’s books such as “The Cat That Lived a Million Times” and the “Gama-Kun and Kaeru-Kun” series. And then, the main attraction is the variety of deserts on the menu, and you can enjoy a lot of different cakes every day. The cakes have a soft, spongy texture with a homely and nostalgic taste. It also isn’t too sweet, so even those who don’t like eating sweet things can enjoy them. However, you should visit this cafe early in the morning because the popular cakes sell out quickly.

Also, you can enjoy not only meals and sweets but also tableware like cups, spoons and dishes. They have cute designs and make you excited. In addition, the owner is a kind woman who is loved by customers, and she cooks all the food on the menu by herself. You will have a good time in this café. You should stop by Off Time if you visit Enmachi.

Conclusion

Many famous restaurants are lined up in front of the station in Enmachi, while there are many cheap and delicious hidden restaurants a little far from Enmachi station. Therefore, you will enjoy finding your favorite restaurants while walking around the town in Enmachi. Also, it is easy to search for your favorite restaurants or foods because most restaurants post their restaurant’s information on Instagram or Twitter. Enmachi is not a very famous place in Kyoto and there are few foreign tourists; however, it is a very nice place with good restaurants. Therefore, we hope that a lot of foreign tourists visit Enmachi after reading this article, and we want you to enjoy many restaurants and cafes in Enmachi, especially Tantanmen YEBISU and Café and Bar, Off Time.

Access information

“Tantanmen YEBISU” takes about 2 minutes on foot from Enmachi Station (JR Sanin Line).

TEL: 075-366-6767

Time: 11:00AM-11:00PM (closed on Tuesdays).

“Café and Bar, Off Time” takes about 10 minutes on foot from Enmachi Station (JR Sanin Line).

TEL: 075-801-8108

Café time: 11:00AM-5:00PM (Tuesday-Sunday)

Bar time: 6:00PM-10:30PM (Thursday-Saturday) 6:00PM-9:00PM (Sunday)

Tuesday and Wednesday are only café time (Closed on Mondays)

Maiko

by Arisa Yamauchi, Haruki Ishimoto and Aki Kawashima

Introduction

Maiko

A Maiko is a girl who trains as a Geiko. To become a Maiko, people have to be 14 years old, and they must have Japanese nationality. To train as a Geiko, Maiko have to live in Okiya (see below) and do a lot of hard training on performance and behavior. Maiko is one of the most famous cultures of Kyoto and also one of the oldest Japanese traditions, so we have to have pride in this tradition.

Gion Okiya
an Okiya in Gion, Kyoto, JAPAN

History of Maiko

Tea Room

  Maiko is a girl whose job is to add entertainment at a banquet hall and tea ceremony for the performing arts such as dance. She is also called a geisha’s apprentice who is in the training stage. About 300 years ago, the tea ceremony in a teahouse, which served tea to those who visited Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto during the Edo period (1603-1868), was originated. At first, tea and dumplings were served but eventually sake and other dishes were added. Maiko danced there. Maiko live in a place called Okiya (as mentioned above). It is mainly for living, and they train as a Maiko from a woman trainer. Maiko are usually just 15 or 16 years old, and after graduating from junior high school, the trainer, the “mother”, takes care of their life as their guardian. In 2014, Maiko were registered as an intangible cultural heritage. It is one kind of Japanese culture. There is also a Geiko. A Geiko does the same job as Maiko. However, they differ from Maiko as they are paid money and can live independently. A Maiko has a 20-year old age limit, but a Geiko can last a lifetime.

Daily Schedule

 Maiko usually wake up at 8am every day. They get ready and head for their dance performance to perform at a tea ceremony or banquet hall, to play the shamisen (like a guitar), and have song lessons. Rehearsals are held at the Kaburenjo, which is a type of Maiko school. Recently, the number of foreign tourists visiting Kyoto has increased, so English lessons have been introduced to Maiko so that foreign customers can communicate with them. After their morning lessons, they return to their Okiya and have lunch. In the afternoon, they continue to practice, and on days when there are no lessons, they practice in a bar or relax a little. Then they start preparing for their night job in a teahouse. In the beginning, when Maiko started, their makeup took more than an hour to complete, but nowadays it takes them about 40 minutes. Then they head to their night work where customers are waiting for them. In a tatami room, they perform dances and play games. A tatami is a mat made of straw and is a kind of traditional flooring in Japan. After finishing all their tea ceremonies, they return to their Okiya around 1 o’clock in the morning, and they usually go to bed around 2 o’clock.

Troublesome Behavior for Maiko by Tourists

Gion
Maiko Paparzzi

 Recently, the number of tourists visiting Kyoto is increasing, and they are unable to keep their manners. For example, in Gion, one of the most famous areas in Kyoto, it has a more serious problem. We will talk about the problem the Maiko have in Gion. First, we interviewed a woman who was a Maiko. She experienced nuisances by tourists as well. For instance, they wanted to take photos with her (with Maiko), and then they took her hair pin (a Maiko’s hair pin), and she was late for her job because she was surrounded by a lot of tourists from overseas. Also, the woman told us some more examples. She told us that to stop these kinds of rude behavior, the government made signs, hired security guards and explained manners in Kyoto by handing out pamphlets. However, despite these rules, more and more people are not following them. In addition, some tourists enter private areas. As a result, these kinds of behavior are annoying the Maiko, and the local residents, too. Therefore, it was banned to take photos on private roads in Kyoto. In addition, shooting videos of Gion and Maiko by tourists’ cameras has had a bad influence on the traffic. A plan was proposed to solve this problem. In the southern part of Gion-Cho in the Higashiyama area (the east side of Kyoto), unauthorized photography on private roads is prohibited. It is not legally binding, but you will get a “fine” and if you take a photo on private roads, you will be charged without exception. The bill is written in Japanese, English and Chinese. “No photography on private roads” is written, and for unauthorized photography, you will be charged 10,000 yen (about $100 US). Tourists should know that people (residents) live in Gion, too, so they have to know about this problem; thus, we then hope they enjoy Kyoto sightseeing and enjoy learning about Maiko!

Conclusion

 At first glance, being a Maiko looks like a beautiful job; however, it’s quite a hard occupation. Maiko go back and forth between many tea houses every day. They need to go to each workplace for two hours, so they return home late. Therefore, they get about 5 to 6 hours of sleep each night on average. In addition, it takes a long time in the morning for them to get ready because a newcomer Maiko; for example, can not get dressed up in a kimono (please look at the photo), can not set up their traditional Maiko-Japanese hair style, and can not put on their make up quickly. In addition, due to the increased number of foreign tourists in Kyoto, a lot of tourists chase Maiko and Geiko to take pictures. These situations are becoming a serious problem year by year. In fact, Maiko have a lot of stress because of tourists behavior. For example, tourists speak to them, take unauthorized photos, touch them, and so on. These bad manners have been called, “Maiko Paparazzi (see photo above).” Moreover, we also heard incredible stories about bad manners for Maiko such as some people put cigarettes in Maiko’s sleeves. For these reasons, some tourists behavior is dangerous for Maiko. We want to say that they are not a costume but a human, so we should definitely not bother them. Additionally, we should learn information about Maiko; for instance, that one of Maiko’s manners is they cannot talk while they are walking. So, if you see Maiko on the road, you should not talk to them. This is the reality of the Maiko. According to the Kinki Regional Development Bureau they will send information to tourists via smartphones about the manners to follow about Maiko and Geiko. Additionally, they have decided to install signboards to give a heads-up to tourists about them. We have to protect the Maiko and Geiko and pay attention to them.

Maiko San, Gion, Kyoto / 舞子さん
a Maiko in a kimono in Gion

The Shinsengumi

by Shiori Azuma & Mio Sahashi

What is the Shinsengumi?

Toshizo Hijikata
Bushi

The Shinsengumi was like a police group (1863-1869). They had kept Kyoto safe and protected the general who was Ieyasu Tokugawa. He was a leader of the Tokugawa government, now similar to a president or a prime minister. The group was made by the Tokugawa government in 1863. The Shinsengumi had worked for 6 years. About 200 people who were called Bushi (Bushi had a Japanese sword and were one of the social positions like curt nobles from the 10th century to the 19th century) belonged to the Shinsengumi. At that time, in Japan, there were clearly social positions like police, and the Bushi had higher positions than citizens. The Shinsengumi leader was Isami Kondo, and he was a handsome man. He was killed by the government when he was 35 years old. Even now, he is a famous person in Japan. Toshizo Hijikata was a sub- leader of the Shinsengumi, and he was a very strict person, so many members of the Shinsengumi were afraid of him. He made many rules. For example, if anyone broke his rules, he commanded the people to Seppuku. Seppuku means cutting your stomach open by yourself. This Seppuku system was a kind of death penalty in Japan from 998 to 1873. Now, in Japan, we don’t have a Seppuku system though. So, the main reasons people died was because of Seppuku. In this article we are going to talk about the supervision at Sumiya (a luxury restaurant) by the Shinsengumi and how the Shinsengumi was established at Mibu temple.

Supervision at Sumiya by the Shinsengumi

Sumiya
Inside of Sumiya

Sumiya was a luxury restaurant for curt nobles in Shimabara, Kyoto, and it was open from 1853 to 1985. At that time, Sumiya was a very popular restaurant in Kyoto. People invited Geiko-San (Geiko-San are traditional Japanese women who treat guests with dance or music at a party) to Sumiya and secret meetings were open for important politics. It was close to a military station, which was built to protect people who earned money to shut down the Tokugawa government. Normally, when people went to Sumiya, they needed to leave their sword at the entrance, but the Shinsengumi could take their sword as supervision even inside. When the Shinsengumi fought with someone who behaved rudely, one of the Shinsengumi made a scratch on the wall with their sword on the first floor. Actually, nobody knows who made the scratches on the wall, but some theories remain. One of the theories was made by Serizawa Kamo. He was a member of the Shinsengumi, and he was the first leader of the Shinsengumi before Isami Kondo. He liked to drink alcohol and had a bad habit when he was drunk. That’s why there is a theory that he may have made a scratch on the wall with his sword. The room on the first floor was called, “matsu no ma”. It was the biggest room in Sumiya, but in 1925, part of it burned down. Today, Sumiya is a museum of ‘Omotenashi’. It means to treat customers with hospitality, entertainment and service. Sumiya is open to the public, so we can see the inside and also the sword cuts. The appearance of the restaurant has not changed from before. Not only the appearance, but also the inside is good. In 1952, this building was chosen as an important cultural property in Japan.

A scrach on the wall with a sword

How to get to Sumiya

From Kyoto station, take Kyoto City Bus No.206 and get off at the Shimabara-Guchi stop. You can see it in front of you.

The Shinsengumi was Established at Mibu Temple

Mibu Temple
The grave of Toshizo Hijikata and Isami Kondo
The statue of Isami Kondo

The Shinsengumi was established at Mibu Temple in 1863. Three houses that were close to Mibu Temple became military stations (Yagi House, Maekawa House, and Nanbu House) for the Shinsengumi. In the end of the Edo period (1793-1868), the base of the Shinsengumi was the Yagi House. The Shinsengumi were training about using cannons and skills for protecting themselves and killing enemies inside of Mibu Temple. Because of the Shinsengumi’s training, visitors to Mibu Temple were decreasing at that time. On the other hand, there were good things that happened at Mibu Temple. For example, Soji Okita, who was the first corps leader, was the most famous member of the Shinsengumi even now in Japan, even though he died long ago. He played with children inside Mibu Temple. This was a good thing for the people. In 1863, Kamo Serizawa, who was another member of the Shinsengumi, was killed by Toshizo Hijikata and Soji Okita and more at Yagi House. Kamo Serizawa was a trouble maker, and he had bad behavior due to alcohol. So, he made a lot of problems for people. He was killed after he came back to Yagi House from Sumiya. Also, at Mibu Temple, there is a grave of the eleven members of the Shinsengumi called Mibuzuka. And there is a statue of Isami Kondo (the leader of the Shinsengumi). If you want to see the grave, you can see it, and you can also see two of the military stations (Yagi House and Maekawa House). People who live around Mibu temple now want to protect the military stations. So, they are working hard to keep the temple in good condition for later generations.

How to Get to Mibu Temple

From Kyoto station, take Kyoto City Bus No.26 or No.28 and get off at Mibudera-Michi. It takes 1 to 2 minutes on foot.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Shinsengumi just wanted to protect the Tokugawa government and their general. They also had strong power, but some of them were wrong to use this power. So, some of them were killed by the Shinsengumi. We wrote about 2 places which are connected to the Shinsengumi. The first place is Sumiya which was a luxury restaurant. The Shinsengumi went there often because military stations were close to Sumiya. The second place is Mibu Temple where the Shinsengumi was established. Mibu temple and the Shinsengumi were deeply connected. Japanese people were moved by the Shinsengumi; thus, in Japan, there are many animation (e.g., Hakuoki, Rurouni-Kenshin), movies, novels, and manga about the Shinsengumi.