Maiko

March 26, 2020

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

Over-Tourism in Kyoto

By Aki Kawashima, Arisa Yamauchi and Haruki Ishimoto

  Kyoto is the one of the oldest cities in the world. Just ten years ago, the number of inbound visitors to Kyoto was only 930,000. In 2011, the number dropped by almost half. This is because of the Tohoku earthquake. In the period after the earthquake, the number shows a dramatic improvement. In 2013, “Washoku”, a traditional Japanese cuisine, was added to the World Heritage List for food. The following year, Kyoto was chosen as the World’s Best City for the first time by “Travel + Leisure” – one of the most influential travel magazines in the world. In 2015, Kyoto was chosen as No.1 again. Since then, the number of tourists has exploded. About 3.5 million people from overseas visited Kyoto in 2017 and the number of people from different countries continues to rise. Surprisingly, in fact, the number of tourists has increased by seven times, 5,000,000 people since 2011. In this article, we would like to introduce about the problem of transportation and the garbage problem in Kyoto city as a result of ‘Over-Tourism’.

Why Has Kyoto Become So Popular?

There are many reasons to answer this question. First, Kyoto is much safer than Europe at the moment (2019), so tourists who come here from Europe, for example, don’t have to worry about crime. Indeed, Kyoto is one of the safest international cities on the planet. Second, the cost is very reasonable. The weak yen makes Japan a cheaper holiday destination. This has also contributed to a sharp increase in tourists. Moreover, direct international flights from Europe to Japan have been increasing. Finally, the Japanese Government also has relaxed visa restrictions for visitors from Asia, particularly China. Thus, the increasing number of tourists in Kyoto is actually better for the economy. However, “too many tourists” can bring problems to a popular destination such as Kyoto. For example, manner and congestion, to name a couple.

Do You Know The Word “ Over-Tourism”?

Nishiki Market

 The word “over-tourism” is quite new, so it hasn’t formally been entered into popular dictionaries like Oxford or Collins. This means that when a place starts to become popular or fashionable to visit, problems occur: crowded buses and noise pollution to name just two. It goes without saying that having too many people in the same place also contributes to the problems of garbage. In other words, a rapid increase in the number of tourists to Kyoto is having a serious impact on local people’s daily lives.

Local People

The rapid increase in the number of tourists in Kyoto is having a serious impact on the local population and is becoming extremely frustrating about this problem. Let us outline a few of them in more detail. First, the most serious problem is public transportation. You will see many tourists waiting for the bus in long lines. This creates much longer waiting times at the bus terminal in Kyoto. And tourists often ride the bus with suitcases. It blocks local people, so they can’t find seats. It is really uncomfortable and inconvenient. Perhaps inconsiderate, too. But this is part of modern daily life in Kyoto these days. Actually, we have seen this situation many times. But we couldn’t work out why they always use buses and not the subway. We searched on the Internet, and I we found a clear answer to our question. In Kyoto, there is a travel pass for buses everyday. Tourists can take a bus as many times as they want and visit the key sightseeing spots cheaply. Indirectly, and attempt to make Kyoto more attractive place to visit, this travel way is creating problems by making the public transport system, especially buses, overcrowded. Secondly, we would like to highlight the problem of garbage. This has also become a serious problem. Actually, Kyoto has found a way to solve it. Ten years ago, in the Kamo River, there were a lot of trash cans along the banks. You could eat lunch and throw it into the trash can. You could also do fireworks and throw them into the trash can. With good manners, the riverside was always kept clean. But some tourists throw trash cans for their private-use. Also, 6 years ago, the Kyoto government decided to remove all trash cans from the Kamo River area. However, the more the number of tourists has grown, the more the amount of garbage has increased.

Nishiki Market and Gion

Gion (Hanamikoji Street)

Nishiki Market and Gion are now one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist spots in Kyoto. Tourists can easily experience eating traditional Kyoto food while walking through Nishiki Market. As a result, some tourists throw their garbage on the street on and around Nishiki Market. In addition, in Gion, for example, trash cans become full quickly, so staff have to replace garbage bags many times in a day. This behavior has a negative impact on the local people.

Solution

Finally, we will suggest what we would do for the ‘over-tourism’ problem. In terms of over-tourism, things could get a lot worse before they get better. Personally, and in addition to the solutions mentioned above, we feel the Kyoto City Government could do more to teach tourists how to behave. What we mean is: manners. Japan is going through a tourist boom. As a result, we have the opportunity, more than at any time before, for cultural exchange. If we embrace this opportunity, we believe that we can make Kyoto a better place for residents and visitors alike.

Gion Festival

by  Momoyo Matsuoka, Yumika Yamaguchi and Momoka Yamada

Gion Festival

Japan has a lot of traditional and local festivals. For example, the Aomori Nebuta festival and Sapporo Snow festival are world-famous and well-known. Many foreign tourists actually enjoy the festivals to get in touch with Japanese culture. However, according to a survey by a travel company, the Gion festival is the most famous one for foreign people. They are fascinated with the powerful performance, and gorgeous festival floats and mikoshi; a small and portable shrine that is believed to house gods. In 2017, about 1,800,000 people came to the Gion festival in all.

What is “Gion festival”?

Gion festival is a local festival, which is held in Kyoto from July 1st to 31st. In Japan, it is one of three biggest festivals, along with the Tenjin festival (Osaka) and Kanda festival (Tokyo). The Gion festival has a very long history and it is known as the large-scale festival because it is held for one month.

History of Gion Festival

 

Over 1100 years ago, in 869, an epidemic spread in Kyoto, and there were countless sick people and deaths among the public. People believed this must have been a curse by the god, called Emperor Gozu, so in order to put down this disturbance, they had deep faith in Gion-sha; the old name of Yasaka shrine. Then, they made 66 Hoko at Shinsen-en and held Gion Goryo-e to pray for the disappearance of disease. Hoko is a long-handled spear or pike with two blades, set at right angles, which was used from Yayoi Era (5th century B.C.- 3rd century A.D.) to Kohun Era (the middle of 3rd century A.D.- around 7th century A.D.) That was the beginning of Gion festival. After that, the name of the festival Gion Goryo-e was shortened to Gion-e. At first, it was held only when an epidemic was spreading, so it was an irregular festival. However, it has been held every June 14th from the first year of the Genroku Era (970). According to historical records, Gion-e died out temporarily during the Hogen revolt and Heiji revolt, but it revived in Muromachi Era (1336-1573). After that, because of Ounin revolt and Bunmei revolt, Gion-e almost died out again, but a lot of people had passion for Gion-e. Therefore, in June in 1500, people made a tour of around Yasaka shrine with 26 festival floats From that time, the festival became more gregarious, and people had a strong passion for continuation of the festival. From the Momoyama Era (1568-1598) to the Edo Era (1603-1867), Japan started promoting trade with other countries, and textiles, including Gobelin (originally a French textile company) and Nishijin (the textiles produced in the Kamigyo-ku area of Kyoto) were used in Japan. From that time, the shape of festival floats changed into the current shape with gorgeous decorations. As you may know, the Gion festival has a long, long history of more than 1000 years, and it has been associated with the history of Kyoto.

The Big Event

 

The Gion festival has a lot of ritual events. Especially, Yamaboko Junko is the main event: the processions of festival cars. It takes place between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. The first half of the festival is called Saki Matsuri, which is held on July 17. The procession route is from Shijo Karasuma to Shinmachi Oike. On the other hand, the last half of the festival is called Ato Matsuri, which is held on July 24. The route of this day is from Karasuma Oike to Shijo Karasuma. On the Saki Matsuri, 23 festival floats go around Yasaka shrine. In contrast, 10 festival floats go in procession on Ato Matsuri. There are some kinds of paid seats, so if you would like to watch the processions at the best place, we recommend you buy the ticket for paid seats on the Internet. In addition, you can listen to the information of Gion festival by tourism guide through your seat’s headphones provided with your ticket. Therefore, you will enjoy both seeing the processions and listening to the information.

Other Popular Events Included in Gion Festival

 

From July 10 to 14 and from the 18 to the 21, the festival floats for Yamaboko Junko  (grand procession) are assembled in a traditional way, and you can watch that process. The way of assembling the festival floats varies from city to city, and each city has original shapes of floats. Another ceremony to watch is the Mikoshi Arai, which is held on July 10  and the 28th: this is the washing of the mikoshi (portable shrine) using water from the Kamogawa River. It is the most important ritual ceremony. If you want to watch it, you should go to Shijo-ohashi Bridge at around 6:00 p.m  on July 10 or the 28th.

The most popular event is Yoiyama. It is held twice, from the 14th to the 16th and from the 21st to the 23rd. At Yoiyama, all of the floats are lit up in the evening. With lightening the floats up, Gion Bayashi is played: people play with musical instruments such as flutes, drums, and bells on the floats. It is a very beautiful event, so many tourists come to watch it. In 2017, more than 320,000 people came to see Yoiyama. During Yoiyama (on the 15th and 16th), Shijo Street and Karasuma Street are kept completely free of cars. There are also a lot of refreshment and souvenir stands along Karasuma Street, Muromachi Street, and Shinmachi Street.

 

 

Access

 

If you go to enjoy the Gion festival, the access is below:

From Kyoto Station, you can take a taxi or bus to Shijo Street or Yasaka shrine.

Bus:

No. 206 bus goes to Gion, so you can get off there. It takes about 15 minutes to get there from Kyoto Station to Gion.

Train:

Keihan Electric Railway: get off at Gion Shijo Station and walk about a minute.

Hankyu Railway: get off at Kawaramachi Station and walk about 5 minutes.

The area around Gion is crowded with many tourists during the Gion festival season. Therefore, coming by car is not recommended, and there is no parking area for this festival.

The Gion festival has been designed as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property from 1979. In addition to this, it was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Property in 2009. Gion festival has become more and more noticeable. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of tourists will come to watch Gion Festival this year. Therefore, everyone should follow the rules, and we hope you enjoy Gion Festival!

I parchi e i giardini di Kyoto

Tanaka Ayano e Fujii Ryota

Kyoto ha molti parchi e giardini famosi. Alcuni esempi frai i tanti possibili: il parco di Arashiyama East, il parco di Okazaki Park, il parco della foresta di Amagase, il parco del Kamogawa, ecc. Tra questi ve ne presentiamo tre. Il primo è il parco Umekoji. L’indirizzo è 56-3 Joji-cho, Shimogyoku, Kyoto. Si trova a 15 minuti a piedi dalla stazione JR di Kyoto, e se ci si va in autobus si scende all’omonima fermata (Umekojikoen mae). Questo un parco è stato creato per commemorare 1200 anni dalla costruzione di Heian Kyo, come Kyoto era originariamente chiamata quando era la capitale del Giappone. Le maggiori attrazioni sono il giardino Suzaku Garden e il Biotope Life Forest, giardini in stile giapponese che sfruttano appieno le tecniche paesaggistiche tradizionali. Nei giorni di vacanza è popolare come spot per fare picnic sul prato erboso, e vi si vedono spesso famiglie con bambini e gruppi di amici. La flora è molto ricca, e a febbraio si possono ammirare gli alberi di pruno giapponese in fiore. Nelle vicinanze si trovano anche l’acquario di Kyoto e il museo ferroviario, quindi si trova in una zona in cui si può trascorrere un’intera giornata senza annoiarsi.

Il secondo è il parco di Kyoto Gyoen. È il giardino del palazzo imperiale di Kyoto, e si trova nel quartiere di Kamigyoku, a 10 minuti a piedi dalla stazione della metropolitana Marutamachi. È un giardino molto grande che conta circa 50.000 alberi, ha nove porte distribuite su tutti i punti cardinali, ed essendo aperto 24 ore al giorno è un luogo dove tutti i cittadini e i turisti possono andare a rilassarsi e a fare lunghe passeggiate in qualsiasi momento. Contiene vari edifici di importanza storica, come il Shusui-tei, l’unica parte tuttora esistente della dimora della casata aristocratica dei Kujo. A Kyoto Gyoen si può respirare l’atmosfera elegante e raffinata della cultura Heian secondo i principi della quale il giardino e gli edifici al suo interno sono stati costruiti.

L’ultimo che vi vogliamo presentare è il parco Maruyama, che si trova nell’area di è Maruyamacho, nel quartiere di Higashiyama. Vi si accede facilmente in autobus, e si trova a cinque minuti a piedi dal famoso quartiere tradizionale di Gion. Il parco si estende su un terreno in lieve pendio ad est del santuario scintoista Yasaka, e contiene un laghetto intorno a cui ci sono molti sentieri per fare passeggiate. È molto famoso per i fiori di ciliegio, ed è uno dei luoghi più visitati durante la fioritura dei ciliegi in primavera. In particolare sono famosi gli alberi di ciliegio piangente noti come “i ciliegi notturni di Gion”. Sono i ciliegi piangenti più famosi di tutto il Giappone. Di notte i fiori di ciliegio sono illuminati, e l’effetto è meraviglioso e surreale. Se lo visitate, vi consigliamo anche di camminare lungo l’itinerario che dal parco attraversa il santuario Yasaka e arriva al famoso tempio Kiyomizudera.

Gion Kitagawa Hanbee

Reina Hamada, Kaori Saida

O povo japonês gosta de beber chá, não apenas o chá verde “matcha”. Em Quioto, há um café onde se pode experimentar os mais variados tipos de chá, o “Gion Kitagawa Hanbee”.

 

O café Gion Kitagawa Hanbee fica perto de Hanami-kozi, uma pequena rua no famoso bairro de Gion.

Este é o famoso menu do Gion Kitagawa Hanbee.

Aqui é possível provar cinco tipos de chá e doces.

Da esquerda para a direita, os chás são o “matcha”, “sencha”, “hojicha”, “wa-oolongcha” e “wakocha”.

Também da esquerda para a direita os doces são: doce de chocolate, “rakugan” (doce de açúcar), noz caramelizada, doce de yuzu, torta de frutas e doce de pêssego. Os doces mudam de acordo com a estação do ano.

 

Agora vamos fazer uma pequena descrição dos chás deste café:

  1. Matcha: o famoso chá verde japonês, em pó.
  2. Sencha: outra variedade de chá verde, em ervas.
  3. Hojicha: muito apreciado no Japão, é feito a partir de folhas de chá verde tostadas. Combina muito bem com doces e sorvetes.
  4. Wa-Oolong-cha: oolong-cha é um chá de origem chinesa. O prefixo “wa” significa “Japão”. É uma adaptação nacional do famoso chá chinês.
  5. Wacha: um chá japonês com um sabor refrescante.

No Gion Kitagawa Hanbee, há também um menu especial com dois tipos de matcha. O matcha é amargo, por isso é normal acompanhar a degustação desta bebida com um doce.

  1. No lado direito da fotografia está o “nigo”, uma espécie de chá verde usado em café também.
  2. No lado esquerdo está o “tokugo” (significa “número especial”), uma versão especial de chá verde de alta qualidade.

Ambos os chás têm aparência semelhante, mas o “tokugo” parece ser mais amargo.
Para além dos chás apresentados, também há bolos de chá verde no Gion Kitagawa Hanbee.

O café Gion Kitagawa Hanbee é um dos melhores estabelecimentos para os apreciadores de chá japonês.

 

HORÁRIO: aberto todos os dias das 11:00 às 22:00

 

ACESSO: o Gion Kitagawa Hanbee fica no distrito de Gion, o mais famoso bairro de Quioto. Pode sair na estação Gion Shijo, da linha Keiha, e andar seis minutos a pé, cerca de 426 metros.

 

MORADA: Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Gion-cho, Minami-gawa, Kyoto 510-188

 

HOMEPAGE: gion-kitagawahanbee.kyoto/

 

 

Hamada Reina e Saida Kaori

Kyo-yuzen

La storia di kyo-yuzen
Yuzen è una tecnica tradizionale per realizzare disegni ornamentali su tessuti per kimono. Ci sono varie tradizioni di yuzen che prendono il nome dalle zone d’origine, ad esempio Tokyo-yuzen  e Kaga-yuzen, quest’ultima tipica di Kanazawa. Kyo-yuzen, la tecnica yuzen di Kyoto, è la più antica e la più famosa. Si dice che i disegni creati con la tecnica kyo-yuzen rendano la vita più ricca e interessante.
Al giorno d’oggi i tessuti lavorati con kyo-yuzen sono prodotti principalmente nella prefettura di Kyoto, in partcolare nelle città di Kyoto, Uji, Kameoka, Joyo, Muko, Kumiyama.
Si dice che Kyoyuzen sia nato nell’era Genroku del periodo Edo. Prima dell’era Genroku venivano usate varie tecniche di decorazione dei tesuti a ricamo e laminazione, ma tale tecniche erano considerate troppo lussose e perciò furono vietate in base a leggi suntuarie, cioè leggi contro il lusso eccessivo, promulgate dallo Shogunato (il governo del Giappone premoderno). La tecnica kyo-yuzen nacque proprio per sostituire le tecniche vietate, e il nome derivava dal nome del primo artigiano che utilizzò la tecnica, Miyazaki Yuzen (1654-1736), un pittore di ventagli di Gion. Ci sono due varianti principali della tecnica kyo-yuzen, la tecnica del disegno a mano e la tecnica del disegno a stampo, quest’ultima introdotta da Hirose Jisuke (1822-1890).

tessuto kyo-yuzen

Kimono kyo-yuzen

 

L’esecuzione di kyo-yuzen
I tessuti di seta sono tinti a mano o a stampo, e per i disegni più complessi ci sono fino a 14 fasi di lavorazione, ognuno affidato ad artigiani specializzati. Gli stampi di carta utilizzati sono molto elaborati e variopinti.

Caratteristiche
Per i disegni kyo-yuzen sono preferiti colori di tonalità tenue, di cui spesso è difficile capire il colore di base, applicati con grande cura e precisione per ottenere un risultatato elegante e sontuoso. I motivi ornamentali sono motivi tradizionali stilizzati, e oltre al colore vengono utilizzate anche altre tecniche quali ricami e lamine d’oro.

Miyazaki Yuzen
La tecnica originaria di disegno a mano è nata attorno alla metà del periodo Edo ad opera di Miyazaki Yuzen, che utilizzò la tecnica per decorare ventagli e gli indumenti tradizionali leggeri kosode. Miyazaki pubblicò un campionario di disegni che ha contribuito alla diffusione della tecnica.

Hirose Jisuke
All’inizio del periodo Meiji Hirose Jisuke creò una nuova tecnica kyo-yuzen, riuscendo a sviluppare una tecnica di disegno a stampo, utilizzando stampi in carta e colla per applicare i motivi ornamentali su tessuti crêpe.

 

Un disegno kyo-yuzen fatto da me

 

The Kimono Forest of Arashiyama, un’esibizione all’aperto di tessuti kyo-yuzen

I ramen di Kyoto

Abbiamo fatto una ricerca sui ristoranti di ramen a Kyoto. I ramen sono uno dei piatti favoriti degli studenti giapponesi, e siccome Kyoto è una città universitaria ci sono molti ristoranti di ramen. Abbiamo dunque deciso di limitare la nostra indagine a tre zone, di cui vi presentiamo alcuni ristoranti buonissimi: l’area di Ichijoji, la più famosa a Kyoto per i ramen , Kawaramachi, il centro e cuore pulsante della città, Gion, il quartiere più tradizionale e più famoso, e la zona di Saiin, l’area vicini alla nostra università.

 

Gion

Muragi  (ramen al limone)

La zuppa di tonkotsu (brodo di ossa di maiale) con fette di limone è rinfrescante e gradevole.

È consigliabile mangiarli senza perdere tempo, perché dopo un po’ il gusto diventa amarognolo.

 

Kawaramachi

Ichiran

La caratteristica principale di questo ristorante è il fatto che è possibilile scegliere non solo il grado di cottura e la durezza delle tagliatelle, come in molti altri locali, ma anche la quantità di grasso nella propria zuppa. Un’altra caratteristica postiva è il fatto che tutti i tavoli sono in stanze separate. Tuttavia va tenuto presente che non si può vedere il volto dei camerieri che servono.

 

Ichijioji

Gokkei (ramen alla zuppa di pollo)

È un locale notissimo a Kyoto perché è stato scelto molte volte nei sondaggi come ristorante di ramen migliore della città.che le persone che conoscono il ramen numero uno di Kyoto brillano molte volte. Probabilmente la ragione per cui piace tanto ai giovani giapponesi è che la zuppa è molto densa e sostanziosa.

 

Yuhi no kirameki (“Scintillio del sole al tramonto”)

L’abbinamento delle tagliatelle con la zuppa è fantastico. Il gusto di limoneli rende gradevoli, e sono molto adatti per chi vuole gustare diversi tipi di ramen in un pasto solo, visitando diversi ristoranti uno dopo l’altro. Questa pratica si chiama tabearuki in giapponese. Tabearuki significa letteralmente “camminare mangiando”, ma mentre in italiano, camminare mangiando significa mangiare mentre si passeggia, cosa che i giapponesi raramente fanno, in giapponese significa andare in diversi ristoranti durante lo stesso pasto per poter gustare cose diverse.

 

Saiin

Tsurumusha

Il brodo di pollo ha la consistenza giusta, né troppo denso né troppo acquoso, e il sapore è delicato. Colpisce la gentilezza del personale, e si nota l’impegno nel servire i clienti in modo sollecito, qualità molto apprezzata dai giapponesi.

 

Toritani  (soba alla zuppa di pollo)

Si possono scegliere due tipi di zuppa, corposa o leggera, e le fettine di carne di maiale cotta al sangue servite sopra alle tagliatelle sono molto buone. Soba, in questo caso, ha lo stesso significato di ramen, e indica le tagliatelle cinesi di frumento, più precisamente chiamate chuka soba, ossia soba cinesi.

 

Risultati della ricerca

A seguto della nostra approfodita indagine scientifica, abbiamo scoperto che i ramen a Kyoto sono in genere assai corposi, e serivti con abbondante carne di maiale. Probabilmente la ragione sta nel fatto che i principali consumatori di ramen sono i numerosissimi studenti universitari che vivono a Kyoto, e gli studenti vogliono riempirsi la pancia spendendo poco. I ramen di Kyoto sono dunque un piatto  ideale per gli studenti squattrinati. Naturalmente il gusto è diverso nei diversi locali, ma ogni ristorante ha le sue caratteristiche e la sua bontà particolare, e grazie alla nostra ricerca ci è venuta ancora più voglia di mangiare i ramen.

 

 

 

 

I turisti stranieri a Kyoto

Yuko Hoshide, Reno Mitani, Yuta Morioka

Turisti stranieri ad Arashiyama

Turisti stranieri in treno

Turisti stranieri che ammirano le foglie osse d’acero (momiji)

Grafico che mostra l’aumento nel numero di turisti stranieri dal 2005 al 2015. I diversi colori rappresentano turisti provenienti da diverse aree geografiche. グラフは京都観光総合調査(2015年)から頂戴致しました。

Vogliamo parlarvi dei cambiamenti che ci sono stati nel turismo internazionale a Kyoto negli ultimi anni.

Molti pensano che Kyoto e i suoi dintorni siano la zona del Giappone più visitata dagli stranieri, essendo quella più ricca di storia e arte del paese. Anche noi lo credevamo, ma consultando i dati ufficiali abbiamo scoperto che in realtà Kyoto è al quarto posto nella classifica, dopo Tokyo, Chiba e Osaka, secondo un sondaggio condotto nel 2015. Il fatto che Chiba sia più visitata dagli stranieri di Kyoto può sorprendere, ma probabilmente è perché a Chiba si trovano Tokyo Disneyland e l’aeroporto internazionale di Narita da cui si accede a Tokyo.

Il numero di stranieri che visitano il Giappone sta aumentando di anno in anno, e a Kyoto è raddoppiato dal 2013 al 2015. Circa l’80% degli stranieri che visitano il Giappone sono turisti, anche se fra gli europei e gli americani ci sono, in proporzione, più persone che vengono in Giappone per affari rispetto agli asiatici. Tra i turisti stranieri che visitano il Giappone i più numerosi vengono dai paesi vicini dell’asia Orientale: i coreani sono stati i più numerosi nel 2013, i taiwanesi nel 2014 e i cinesi provenienti dalla Cina continentale nel 2015. Oggi si calcola che circa il 30% degli stranieri che visitano siano cinesi.
Anche se in altre zone del Giappone si trovano più stranieri, Kyoto è una meta obbligatoria per gli stranieri che vengono in Giappone per turismo. A Kyoto si trovano infatti alcuni dei siti più visitati nel paese: il santuario shintoista di Fushimi Inari, nella zona meridionale della città, è stato quello più visitato in assoluto. È uno dei santuari shintoisti più antichi e famosi del Giappone, dedicato al dio del riso, dell’abbondanza dei raccolti e della prosperità negli affari. Il santuario è famoso anche per “i mille portali” (Senbon torii), un sentiero coperto da più di tremila torii, portali arancioni caratteristici dei santuari shintoisti. Su Instagram si trovano tantissime foto di Fushimi Inari e di Senbon torii. Altre attrazioni turistiche di Kyoto visitate da tantissimi stranieri sono il Kinkakuji (Padiglione d’oro), il tempio Kiyomizudera, e il quartiere tradizionale di Gion.

La ragione per cui a Kyoto ci sono tante attrazioni turistiche risiede nel fatto che Kyoto, essendo stata fondata come capitale imperiale nel 794 d.C., è stata una delle principali città del Giappone sin dai tempi antichi. Kyoto è stata la sede degli imperatori del Giappone per più di mille anni, e in vari periodi durante la sua lunga storia è stata anche la sede del governo e la città più importante politicamente e culturalmente. Oltre a essere piena di templi, santuari, e quartieri tradizionali, Kyoto è anche una città molto verde, essendo circondata da montagne boscose e avendo molti parchi. Grazie alla natura il paesaggio di Kyoto cambia con il cambiare delle stagioni, e ci sono molti luoghi famosi per ammirare i fiori di ciliegio in primavera e le foglie rosse d’acero in autunno, in conformità alla tradizione estetica giapponese. Per farla breve, si può dire che Kyoto è la città che più conserva l’immagine tradizionale del Giappone che interessa ai turisti stranieri.
Si aggiunga a tutto questo il fatto che Kyoto non solo ha molte strutture di accoglienza per turisti, ma, essendo anche una città universitaria, ci sono molti studenti che possono parlare inglese e altre lingue straniere. Gli studenti che vivono a Kyoto spesso lavorano a tempo parziale nei negozi e locali frequentati dai turisti stranieri. Si capisce dunque perché Kyoto, anche se non molto visitata dagli uomini d’affari, è la meta principale dei turisti stranieri in Giappone.

Blanketed by Night in Gion

By Takumi Abe

 

Gion

When you walk in the Gion district of Kyoto, you have time-traveled back into the olden days of Japan. You will see traditional style house alsos and people wearing kimono. You can enjoy seeing not only such scenery, but you can enjoy Japanese foods such as matcha green tea, Japanese sake or sukiyaki. A river along one street in Gion is lined with stones and many willows, giving you a feeling of exoticism. After the sun goes down, you will be fascinated by the new mood of Gion. It has a relaxed atmosphere. laughter emerges from the old-style houses. I decided to record this special night mood through photographs.

 

The History of Gion

Gion was created in the late 1600s and prospered as a town that had developed near the gate of Yasaka Shrine. At this time, many beautiful women stood in front of the stores to attract customers. In the Meji period, from 1868-1912, the Gion area was expanded. Furthermore, Many famous Japanese writers loved Gion in this period. Eventually, Gion changed into the amusement and nightlife district it is now. Now, the northern area of Gion sparkles with bright neon lights. In the southern part of Gion, there is soft lighting and it is very quiet.

 

Gion Night Scenery

  • Yasaka Shrine

 

Yasaka Shrine

This shrine is the symbol of Gion, which extends out west from its base. This area prospered from people who came to worship at this shrine. Now, the gate is lit up every night.

 

  • Northern Gion

Northern Gion

In northern Gion, there are bars, snack bars and nightclubs. Many people go there to enjoy drinking and the nightlife. On Friday night, lots of taxis are coming and going.

 

  • Gion-shinbashi

 

Gion shinbashi

In northern Gion, glittering neon signs illuminate the streets. However, if you continue to walk north out the the more lively streets, there is an old Japanese-style district that has a quiet atmosphere. This area’s streets are covered with stones. You can enjoy the atmosphere and sophisticated Japanese restaurants.

 

  • Shijo Boulevard

 

Shijo

The Shijo Boulevard is the main busy street in Kyoto and in Gion. There are many people here for shopping, commuting, dining and drinking, going back home or just out walking. Shopping is the biggest reason that people come to Shijo, because there are so many different and attractive stores there.

 

  • Snowy Downtown

 

Snowy Downtown

When January arrives, it brings snow to Kyoto. The citiscape is changed by snow. People might think that temples or shrines covered with snow are beautiful, but the collaboration between snow and Gion is even more magical. You can see that old houses and streets are dressed in new snow.

 

  • Hanami-koji

 

Hanami koji

Hanami-koji is the main street of southern Gion. Red Japanese lanterns have images of dumplings printed on them. Gion was started with dumpling and green tea shops. In Japan, drinking Japanese tea while eating a dumpling is one of our favorite customs.

 

  • Rainy Gion

 

Raining in Gion

After a rain in Gion, the wet streets reflect the lights brilliantly. Those lights are white, red or brown. The pitter-patter of rain and the sound of footsteps fill the air.

 

  • Kennin-ji Temple

 

Kennin-ji temple

If you walk further south on Hanami-koji Street, you will see the traditional gate of Kennin-ji temple, Kyoto’s first Zen temple. You can experience the culture of Zen (禅) here and see beautiful fusuma and byobu paitnings and a Japanese garden.

 

  • The traditional pagoda

 

Yasakanoto

Yasaka-no-to is a three-story pagoda between Gion and Kiyomizu Temple. The presence of this pagoda is very photogenic. This is one of Kyoto’s most famous places, so many people come here and see it. At night, this area is so silent that you can hear your own footsteps and breathing.

 

  • Sakura

 

Sakura

Maruyama park stetches out in back of Yasaka Shrine. This park is famous for its cherry blossoms and there is one big cherry tree at its center. Regardless of age or sex, many people are attracted by this famous tree.

 

  • Under the trees

 

Enjoy Hanami

Many people enjoy viewing cherry blossoms with good food and alcohol. When people are under the trees, they feel delight. This is one way to have fun at night in Gion..

 

The Atmosphere of Gion

 

Gion is famous as a traditional Japanese entertainment district. However, the old structures coexist with modern bars and concrete buildings. So this area looks a little bit messy, but in fact, the long history of Gion remains intact. The area that has a long history is attracting many more people these days and they enjoy the nighttime with alcohol. It is good that people can enjoy and go a little crazy even in front of the holy shrine. When night comes, most people go to sleep at their hotel or guesthouse. If you have time or are not able to sleep, I recommend you go to Gion at night. Gion then has a bustling and buzzing face in addition to quiet and calm face along the river. You can feel this original atmosphere. Gion is both loud and quiet.

Kyoto City Subway – Tozai line

By Yumika Fujii and Erika Wada

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

Tozai Linemap

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

macchaRokujizo Station

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

Ono Station

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

Keage StationNanzenji temple

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

Higashiyama StationHigashiyama

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

Sanjo Keihan stationSanjo Keihan Station

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

Kyoto Shiyakusho Mae Station

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

Karasuma Oike Station

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

NijojoNijo-jo Mae Station

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

 

 

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