Mamezushi

February 1, 2014

Junya Kitagawa and Miki Suzuki

 Mamezushi

As sushi is now well known all over the world, there are many sushi bars located in many different countries, and a lot of people have become familiar with it.  All over Japan you can find sushi bars serving many different kinds.  “Mamezushi”, which we would like to introduce here, is one type that originated in Kyoto.

“Mamezushi” is often called “Maiko zushi”, too, because its birthplace was Gion, in Kyoto, an area which is also famous for Maiko, or apprentice Geisha.  Maiko have a cute little button for a mouth, with the perfect size and shape for eating sushi.  Mamezushi means small sushi bean in English, as the shape is small and spherical.

In top-class Japanese restaurants, 15 kinds of Mamezushi are presented in a box and served to customers.  The kinds of mamezushi shown here, are from the upper left, squid sandwiched between sheets of kelp, mackerel oshizushi, bamboo shoot, pickled tuna, masuzushi, pouch of fried bean curd stuffed with vinegared rice, shrimp, butterbur, egg, pickled rape blossoms, kelp boiled in sweetened soy sauce, eel, Japanese ginger, with squid and pickled ginger to the lower right.  When the customer first removes the lid to begin to eat, they cannot help but be impressed with the beautiful colors before them, and almost always feel the urge to take pictures of it.  However they not only look elegant but also have a very refined taste.  Each one tastes different to the others, and we do not have to put on any soy sauce, which makes it a little healthier for us.

Mamezushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Mametora

There is really only one place where we can eat Mamezushi in Kyoto, and this is the top-class restaurant “Mametora”.  This restaurant has a calm atmosphere and is peaceful and comfortable.  The restaurant is located on Hanami-Koji Street, which is actually quite  noisy, however, you do not notice that once inside the restaurant.  There are 3 types of seating available here:  the counter seat, where you can see the inner garden, a private room, where you can eat lunch or dinner in privacy and relaxation, and on a covered table placed over a recess in the floor of a Japanese-style room.  Of course, you can enjoy a special lunch or dinner whichever seating arrangement you choose.

The restaurant has two service times, lunch time and dinner time.  Lunch time is from 11:30 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. and dinner time is from 05:00 p.m. to 09:00 p.m.  At lunch time two options are available, one is “Mamezushi-Zen”, which consists of five courses.The main course Mamezushi, is served 4th, and before that courses containing foods in season are offered, with the final course being a dessert.  The other option is “Mamezushi-Sara Zen”, which consists of 6 courses, and offers many kinds of foods in small dishes in addition to the courses of “Mamezushi-Zen”.  At dinner time there are other options.  The first is ”Mamezushi-Kaiseki”, with different courses.  With this you can eat Mamezushi, deep-fried food, grilled fish, meat, or chicken, and 4 courses containing foods in season.  The second is “Choice Mamezushi-Kaiseki”, which offers 6 courses.  In addition to the courses offered in “Mamezushi-Kaiseki” we can eat one-pot type dish cooked at the table.  “Mamezushi-Kaiseki” costs ¥3,800 per person, “Mamezushi0-Sara Zen ” costs ¥5,800 per person, “Mamezushi-Kaiseki” costs ¥9,680 per person, and “Choice Mamezushi-Kaiseki” costs ¥13,200 per person.  As the dinner courses are so expensive, we recommend you try the lunch courses.  They are very reasonable and you can enjoy plenty of Mamezushi.  Fundamentally, the restaurant does not close on a regular day, however, on holidays, there will surely be a lot of customers and few empty seats.  Therefore, making a reservation before arrival is certainly a good idea.  You can actually now make reservations either by telephone or online.

Access

 There are a lot of ways to access this restaurant because it is located in the heart of Kyoto city, and near some famous places, for example, Kiyomizu-Temple and Yasaka-Shrine.

・Kyoto City Bus: you can take the “Gion Express” bus from Kyoto Station to Gion Bus Station, and thereafter it is a 3 minutes   walk to the restaurant.

・Keihan-train: if you take the train, please get off at Sanjo-Keihan Station, and thereafter take a 5 minute walk to the restaurant.

・Hankyu-train: if you take this train, please get off at Kawaramachi Station, and then take an 8 minute walk to the restaurant.

・phone number:075 532 3955

Additional informationI

In addition to enjoying this great traditional cuisine, please visit the two places of interest mentioned before.  Kiyomizu-Temple is very famous, and many travelers wish to visit it.  The view from this temple is really beautiful, and will give great memories.  Yasaka-Shrine is also famous, and especially for its connection to the “Gion festival”.  If you have time, please visit these wonderful places, too.

Japanese Couple Visits Kyoto’s Love Shrine

by Saya Takeuchi and Reiichi Inoue


SAYA: Reiichi, here in Japan we have many shrines and temples which enshrine various kinds of gods. Did you know that?

REIICHI: “Really? I didn’t know, Saya. For example…?”

There are shrines for hair, teeth, even for konjak and other surprising things.

“I see. Is there any shrine relevant to us?”

“You need to go the shrine for hair because you are going bald lately, ha ha ha!

“Shut up, Saya. I’m very sensitive about it.”

“Just kidding, Reiichi. Your hair looks fine.”

“I know. I’m good looking.”

“…”

“Tell me something different.”

“Well…there is a shrine of love called Jishu Shrine in Kyoto.”

“That sounds interesting. We are in Kyoto, so let’s go there for the sake of our love.”

“Right, we will soon be apart for a year because of that overseas exchange program… so we should pray to the gods to keep our relationship going well.”

[Saya and Reiichi are now heading to Jishu Shrine.]

REIICHI: “So…where is it located?”

SAYA: “It’s inside the grounds of Kiyomizu Temple.”

“What? Why is there a shrine in a temple? Aren’t Shinto and Buddhism different?”

“They are, but since the early Meiji era (1860s-70s), it has not been rare to have a temple and shrine together, but many shrines went bankrupt during a severe economic recession, so they were separated from temples. Jishu Shrine still remains because it has been very popular all through the years. But since then many temples have invited shrines back inside.”

“So Shinto and Buddhism are cooperating together in Japan, right?”

Yes, that’s right.”

[They reach Jishu Shrine. ]
SAYA: “Here we are! Jishu Shrine. Inside, there are many hokora (small shrines) that revere many kinds of the god of love.”

REIICHI: “People are walking from one stone to another. What is that all about?”

“They’re called ‘Love Stones.’ If you walk from one to the other while closing your eyes, your wish will be granted. If you can’t, it will take long time for your wish to come true. The distance between the stones is about ten meters.”

“It’s tough to do that, and sort of risky.”

Yes. But people sometimes have to take a risk for their dream.”

“That’s true. What about this one?”

“This is called okage myojin. This small shrine reveres the god who will answer any sort of prayer, whatever it is. Even if it is an evil wish. For example, I want my rival to be unlucky.”

“I’m scared of you…”

“I’m just giving you an example.”

“Why is there a tree behind the shrine?”

“In the past, when Japanese women wanted to curse the enemies of love, they visited here and nailed straw dolls onto this tree again and again… It was popular among Japanese women…”

“Now I’m scared of women…”

“Everyone wants to be loved by their lover. That is why they nailed those dolls.”

“There is a fortune slip. Let’s draw it…”

“Okay!”

“What did you get?

“I got very good luck! How about you?”

“I got good luck.”

“Look, this says I should go out with a sober person. That must be you, Reiichi! Ha ha!”

“This fortune slip is right. We are very lucky that we both got a good one.”

“But what could we have done if we’d gotten very bad fortunes?”

“We could just tie it up to the tree, and the god would make your luck better.”

“I see, so we don’t have to be afraid of getting a bad one.”

“Right. Saya, we can buy lucky charms here. Let’s get some.”

“Okay. How does this work?”

“There are many kinds of lucky charms. For example, matchmaking. It is said that if you always bring this with you, you will meet a dream partner.”

“How about in our case? We already have our dream partner.”

“Well, Saya, we can get a pair of lucky charms. If we share this with each other and always bring it with us, it will make our bond of love stronger.”

“That’s so romantic. I want one! It’s only 500 yen (about USD$6 to 7) for each. That’s a good price.”

“It was so much fun, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, it was.”

“Now, our relationship will be all right forever because we prayed to the gods. The gods of love will give us blessings.”

“I will always bring this lucky charm with me, even though we will live in different places.”

“Me, too, Honey.”

The Legend of Yoshitsune Minamoto

by Kana Matsumoto and Satoko Nasu

Yoshitsune Minamoto

Yoshitsune Minamoto was a tragic and mysterious hero in Japan. He is still popular today, even though he has been dead for over 800 years. He was a general of the imperial Taira clan and was very talented and charismatic. However, certain people tried to get rid of Yoshitsune during his life, so in the end, he could not help but commit suicide. His dramatic, yet tragic life makes many people sympathetic and imaginative. His biography, the Gikeiki, said he would create lots of legends throughout Kyoto. Indeed, the Kyoto region provides many historic sites of Yoshitsune, where you can learn more about his life and legend.

Yoshitsune Minamoto’s Life History

Yoshitsune Minamoto was born the ninth child of Yoshiyomo Minamoto, the head of the Minamoto clan, in 1159. His childhood name was Ushiwaka, which he was called until he become an adult at the age of 16. In those days, the imperial Taira and Minamoto clans battled one another. Yoshitsune’s father, however, was killed by the Taira clan the same year Yoshitsune was born. Therefore, Yoshitsune ran away with his mother, Tokiwa, and his two older brothers. From that point, Yoshitsune lived in Kurama temple, just north of Kyoto city, and raised as a priest. However, he eventually refused to become a priest and left the temple in 1174. He then joined forces with Yoritomo, who was his older brother, and decided to defeat the Taira clan with him. Yoshitsune won lot of battles and became a hero. However, he gradually started to act with greater authority. For that reason, his brother, Yoritomo, got angry and regarded his younger brother as an enemy. Yoshitsune escaped from his brother Yoritomo and went to Osyu, which is now the Tohoku area of northeastern Honshu, to ask for help. However, the feudal lord of Osyu, Yasuhira Fujiwara, betrayed him. In the end, Yoshitsune killed himself at the young age of 31.Places

Yoshitsune’s Childhood at Kurama Temple

The most famous place in Kyoto related with Yoshitsune’s childhood is Kurama Temple  on  Mt. Kurama, in the area just north of Kyoto city. Yoshitsune lived in Kurama temple and developed his academic and martial skills there for ten years. Within the temple grounds, there are six areas of interest related to Yoshitsune

    1. The first is a hall called Kawakami Jizo-do. Inside lies the guardian deity of Ushiwaka.
    2. The second is YoshitsuneKokuyo-to (Yoshitsune’s memorial service tower), which is a tower erected for the repose of the dead Yoshitsune’s spirit. This was the place where Yoshitsune lived and studied as a child.
    3. The third is Ikitsugi no mizu (Water for Rest). It is believed that Ushiwaka drank the water there on the way to his training places.

Ki-no Nemiti (Trail of Wood Roots)

  1. The fourth is Sekurabe-ishi (a Comparison of the stone and Yoshitsune’s height), with which he measured his height when he left the temple for the final time.
  2. The fifth is the path of Ki-no Nemiti (Trail of Wood Roots). Along the mountain path, many Japanese cedar roots appear on the surface of theearth, forming an arabesque pattern. Yoshitsune used them for training himself, especially his legs.
  3. The sixth and final place is Yoshitsne-do (Yoshitsune’s hall). It is said that his spirit is enshrined there in a statue called Syanaou.

Places Related to Yoshitsune’s Adulthood

Gojotenjin Shrine

One cannot talk about Yoshitsune’s adulthood without mentioning one important person: Benkei. Benkei was a monk with Herculean strength. Yoshitsune and Benkei met each other for the first time at Gojotenjin shrine, which is located in southern part of Kyoto city. Around that time, Benkei was wandering around Kyoto each night in an effort to gather 1,000 swords. On the night when there was only one sword left to gather, Benkei encountered a boy passing by while playing a flute at the shrine. That boy’s name was Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune also happened to be carrying a golden sword at his waist. That sword caught Benkei’s fancy, and so Benkei challenged Yoshitsune to a duel for that sword.

Gojo-Ohashi

Benkei and Yoshitsune

Instead of dueling at the shrine, they moved to Gojo-ohashi bridge which is located in southern part of Kyoto city. Benkei was very strong and he had robbed many people of their swords; on the other hand, Yoshitsune was much smaller than Benkei. It seemed that Benkei had an advantage. However, the result was completely different. Yoshitsune moved quickly with such light steps that Benkei was no match for Yoshitsune at all. Benkei was defeated! At Gojo-ohashi bridge, there are statues describing the scene of their duel. The statue on the left side is Benkei, while right one is Yoshitsune. It is said that Gojo-ohashi bridge was the place where they had a duel, but actually it was located in the place of Matsubara-bridge today.

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple

After the duel at Gojo-ohashi bridge, Benkei was really frustrated and was thinking about revenge. Not long after, he waited for Yoshitsune at Kiyomizu temple for revenge because there was a community event at the temple on that day. As expected, Yoshitsune appeared. Benkei challenged him duel one more time. However, the winner was Yoshitsune again! Since then Benkei started to become loyal to Yoshitsune and he actually became a lifetime servant. So their final duel was conducted at one of Kyoto’s best spots today: Kiyomizu temple. Within the temple grounds there are two iron sticks and Japanese iron clogs, which Benkei was said to use and wear in those days. The long stick measures approximately 120 kilograms, while the short one is about 24 kilograms. Also, one of clogs weighs about 12 kilograms! Those items tell us of Benkei’s greatness and remind us that Yoshitsune and Benkei fought a historical duel at this temple.

The Minamoto clan, including Yoshitsune, had had countless battles to hunt down and kill the Heike clan for several years. Yoshitsune was so strong that he contributed to the victories at many battles. At last, he succeeded in leading the Heike clan to the end. Thanks to his many great deeds, Yoshitsune was very popular among the people of that era. However, his older brother, Yoritomo, didn’t like that. He was probably jealous of Yoshitsune and at the same time, felt a great menace to him. There had been a discord among them for a long time.

Shinsen-en

Shinsen-en

Meanwhile, Yoshitsune had a first encounter with his future wife at Shinsen-en, which is a shrine located in middle part of Kyoto city. In 1182, the holy ritual for rain was conducted at Shinsen-en. Although 99 women danced in dedication, no rain fell. However, after the 100th woman, named Shizuka-gozen danced, it suddenly got cloudy and started raining heavily! Shizuka became one of Yoshitsune’s wives later on, so their meeting here was a fateful one.

The Death of Yoshitsune

Unfortunately, Yoritomo’s distrust of Yoshitsune was steadily rising. And finally, Yoritomo started a move to kill his younger brother. Therefore Yoshitsune ran away with his wife and some companions. Escape, however, was becoming impossible. At one point he had to part with his wife. Also, he lost several his companions while he ran away from enemies. And although he managed to keep up his escape for a while, he was eventually overpowered by his enemies. Finally, he ended up killing himself by putting a sword into his body in the hall in Iwate Prefecture, which Buddhist statues were enshrined. He died at the young age of 31 years old.

You can visit all places mentioned above in Kyoto. See the map below:


View Yoshitsune’s Related Places in a larger map

Dressing Up as a Maiko in Kyoto

by Naoko Iseki and Hajime Yozaki

Maiko and geiko are traditional performers whose job it is to add zest to a dinner by singing, dancing, and playing the shamisen. They are also a symbol of traditional Japanese culture. Are you interested in maiko and geiko and the kimono they wear? Kimono is one of the most well-known traditional costumes in Japan. Perhaps, we associate kimono with maiko and geiko. They are really beautiful!

Visitors to Kyoto can also dress up as a maiko. Here is what some customers said about their experience:

  • “I study about Japanese culture at a university in the United States. I became interested in Japanese culture when I first saw kimono. Though I have been to Kyoto three times, it was the first time for me to dress up as a maiko. Kimono was easier to wear than I expected. There are lots of beautiful kimono, and it is very hard to find a kimono I love.”
  • “Becoming a maiko was one of my dreams since I was a child. The material of kimono is very good, and also the staff were very helpful.”
  • “My daughter was very pleased to dress up as a maiko. And through the experience of dressing up as a maiko, she seemed to be able to understand Kyoto’s traditional culture.”
  • “When I dressed up as maiko, many foreigners believed I was a real maiko and took pictures of me.”
  • “I felt that face powder was cool. At first, I was shy to apply ruby lipstick because I’m not accustomed to using make up.”
  • “Because I wore a beautiful kimono, I tried to walk deliberately, I could become a maiko.”

Now, we will introduce some shops where you can dress up as a maiko in Kyoto.

Shiki

The main office is located near Kiyomizu Temple. After being transformed into a maiko, you can go for a walk around Kodaiji Temple, Nene Road, Sannen-zaka, Ninen-zaka, Yasaka Shrine, and Chion-in Temple. Shiki has 200 kimono, and you can choose which one you want to wear.

Sample Plans

Maiko Studio Photography Plan
Cost: 9,975 yen
Time required: two hours and ten minutes
・Contents: twelve poses taken in the studio, and a photo book containing twelve pages

Maiko Stroll Plan
Cost: 13,000 yen
Time required: two and a half hours
・Contents: twelve poses taken in the studio, a stroll lasting an hour, and a photo book containing twelve pages

Samurai Plan (for men)
Cost: 8,500 yen
Time required: one hour and 50 minutes
・Contents: twelve poses taken in the studio, and a photo book containing twelve pages

Information

Address: 351-16, Masuya-cho, Kodaiji-Minamimon, Higasiyama-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN
Access: a five-minute walk from the city bus stop “Kiyomizu-michi”
Tel: 075-531-2777 Fax: 075-533-2244
E-mail:

info@maiko-henshin.com
HP: http://www.maiko-henshin.com/index2.html

Shiki also has two branches, Sakura and Kitano.

Sakura

The first branch is located in Gion. You can take a walk around Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Sanjusangen-do, and Kenninji Temple. Sakura has 150 kimono, and you can choose which one you want to wear.

Sample Plans

Maiko Sakura Plan
Cost: 6,500 yen
Time required: one hour and 50 minutes
・Contents: two poses taken in the studio, and an album containing two pages

Maiko Studio Photography Plan
Cost: 8,900 yen
Time required: two hours
・Contents: six poses taken in the studio, and an album containing six pages

Samurai Plan (for men)
Cost: 6,500 yen
Time required: one hour and 20 minutes
・Contents: two poses taken in the studio, and an album containing two pages

Information

Address: Building-Shiki, 110-9 Tatsumi-cho, Todaiji-Matubara noboru, Higasiyama-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN
Access: the shop is front of the city bus stop “Kiyomizu-Michi”
Tel: 075-533-6666 Fax: 075-533-6667
E-mail and HP are the same as the main office

Kitano

The second branch of Shiki is located near Kinkakuji Temple. Nearby are Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine and Ryoanji Temple. Kitano has 150 kimono, too, and you can choose which one you want to wear. The plans available at Kitano branch are almost the same as the main office, Shiki.

Address: 54-4, Hiranotoriimachi-Cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN
Access: Near the city bus stop “Wara-Tenjin-Mae”
Tel: 075-462-3777 Fax: 075-462-1117
E-mail and HP are the same as the main office

※If you want to dress up as a geiko, you have to pay an additional 2,100 yen.

Maika

The shop is located near Kyoto Station. Maika has 400 kimono, and you can choose which one you want to wear.

Sample Plans

Okigaru Plan
Cost: 6,500 yen
Time required: one hour
・Contents: two pictures, and free photography in the shop

※If you want to dress up as geiko, you have to pay an additional 1,500 yen.

Aoi Plan
This is the most popular plan in this shop!
Cost: 13,650 yen
Time required: one hour and a half
・Contents: four pictures, 60 minutes’ free photography, and a 30-minute stroll from the shop to Ebisu Shrine

Miyako Plan
Cost: 15,750 yen
Time required: one hour and 45 minutes
・Contents: four pictures, 60 minutes’ free photography in the shop, and a 45-minute stroll from the shop to Kenninnji Temple

Okigaru Samurai Plan
Cost: 6,500 yen
Time required: one hour
・Contents: two pictures, 60 minutes’ free photography in the shop

Shinsen-Gumi Plan
Cost: 12,600 yen
Time required: one hour and 20 minutes (max.)
・Contents: two pictures, and 60 minutes’ free photography in the shop

Information

Address: 4-297, Miyagawa-suji, Shijo-kudaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN
Access: a three-minute walk from the station “Gion-Shijo,” on the Keihan line or a five-minute walk from the station “Shijo-Kawaramachi,” on the Hankyu line
Tel: 075-551-1661
HP: http://www.maica.tv/index.htm

Maikozaka

This shop is located near Kiyomizu Temple.

Sample Plans

Hannari Plan
Cost: 8,800 yen
Time required: one hour
・Contents: a post card, and a free photograph
※This shop accepts only 3 groups per day for the plan.

Maiko Geisha Henshin Plan
Cost: 19,800 yen
Time required: one hour and a half
・Contents: four pictures, and free photography
※With this plan, you can experience dressing up as both a maiko and a geiko.

Shinsen-gumi Plan
Cost: 9,000 yen
Time required: 40 minutes
・Contents: two pictures, and free photography
※Women also can experience this plan.

Information

Address: 6-583-70, Gojobashi-higashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN
Access: a five-minute walk from the city bus stop “Gojo-Zaka”
Tel/ Fax 075-531-1166
HP: http://www.maiko-taiken.com/index.html

Kiyomizu Temple’s Surroundings

by Natsuki Kamikura & Satoko Kawaguchi

Kiyomizu Temple; you will almost certainly go there when you come to Kyoto. But did you know that the areas surrounding the temple are also especially attractive? One sloping street which leads to Kiyomizu is called “Kiyomizu-zaka.” There are many souvenir shops on both sides. You can rest and drink Japanese tea for free at a nama-yatsuhashi sweets shop near the temple. The shop has many kinds of the “raw” nama-yatsuhashi, which are a Kyoto specialty, such as chocolate, banana, or chestnut flavors, and it sells ice cream cones with flavors like green tea and black sesame, too.

Shichimiya, a spice shop, stands at the intersection with Gojo-zaka. The shop opened 350 years ago as a teahouse and served visitors hot water with cayenne to help them warm themselves. It is said to have started selling spices in this way.

 

The steps which you’ll see at the side of Shichimiya are the starting point of Sannen-zaka. The area near the steps is a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. This area originally opened for business more than 1200 years ago and there are many historic properties. The district was made along slopes and steps such as Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka which have been roads strolled by visitors for many years.It is beautiful urban scenery. But watch your step! Tradition says that you will die within three years if you fall down on these stairs. If you tend to be clumsy, you can buy a gourd like a kind of roly-poly as a charm against falling at a gourd shop along the steps.

Seryu-en, a shopping mall made with traditional Japanese-style buildings, was opened north of Kiyomizu Temple in July of 2000. Its name means “blue dragon garden,” which happens to be a deity that is said to watch over the eastern side of Kyoto. The mall has restaurants, cafés and Japanese incense and pickle stores. You can eat or sip a drink while looking at a beautiful Japanese garden and you can also walk there. This new mall is popular among young people in Kyoto.

Located midway between Kiyomizu and Kodaiji temples, Yasaka Tower is a five-storied pagoda. It is said that this tower was built by Shotoku taishi (574-622), who was a Regent in the Asuka era. The present tower was reconstructed by Ashikaga Yoshinori (1394-1441), the 6th shogun in the Muromachi era. It is 40 meters high and the oldest tower in Kyoto city. It is called “the symbol of Higashiyama.” You can go up to the second floor and look at Kyoto city. In recent years the unsightly telephone lines have been removed, beautifying the views of and from the pagoda.

 


Ishibei-koji is a tasteful stone street which runs from Shimogawara-michi to Kodai-ji-michi (also known as Nene-no-michi). It’s famous for being used as a location in dramas, movies and TV commercials. High-class Japanese-style restaurants and hotels are there. People wet down the street every morning, an old Kyoto custom for setting the dust or easing the heat of summer. This street is a good place for taking photos. You might be able to see maiko (apprentice geisha) in the evening.

When you go through the street, you will find Kodai-ji temple. Nene, a wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi built this temple to pay her husband her last respects. There were a succession of fires, so only a part of the original buildings remain now. Kodai-ji is one of the national important heritages and it’s famous for its small, flowering hagi trees. Mountains in the Higashiyama are used in the view of the garden as if they belonged to it. Two buildings, Chayagasa-tei and Shigure-tei were designed by Sen-no-rikyu, a master engaged in tea ceremony (1522-1591). Kodai-ji temple is illuminated by bright lights in spring (March to May) and fall (October to December). You can enjoy the difference of views between day and night.

There is a museum in front of Kodai-ji temple. The museum shows things connected with Nene and treasures of Kodai-ji, which is called “the temple of maki-e” (which is a kind of lacquer ware).

You can go to Kiyomizu temple along another street. It is “Shin-Kiyomizu-dori.” The slope is called “Chawan-zaka” because there are many pottery shops along it. Pottery made in Kyoto is called kyoyaki. It spread out from the Higashiyama area in the beginning of the Edo era by the popularity and prevalence of tea ceremony. Along this slope, there is also the Memorial Museum of Kondo Yuzo, a living national treasure. You can see beautiful pottery there. You can also go to Kyoto Pottery Hall, which shows and sells kiyomizu-yaki, a kind of kyoyaki, including teacups, mugs, tea bowls for green tea and decorated plates. You will be able to feel relaxed by looking at the beautiful pottery. On Gojo-zaka the Pottery Fair is held in August every year. It is a big market and many people come there from all over Japan. And if you like, you can enjoy riding on a jinrikisha or putting on a kimono and making up like a maiko at shops like Shiki, in the area surrounding Kiyomizu Temple. You can be elegant like a maiko and have pictures taken at a studio. These will also be your good memories from Kyoto.

A garden at Rakusyo (a Japanese sweets shop)