Kimono Date Plan in Kyoto

September 1, 2019

by Norika Uchida, Kanako Fukushima, Noeka

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

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

Kyoto Kimono Rental Wargo

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

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

Opening hours: 9am – 7pm

Kyo-Temari

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

Access

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

Opening hours: 09:00am – 07:00pm

Taking a Rickshaw Ride

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rickshaw of Ebisuya
View from a rickshaw

Ebisuya in Arashiyama Access:

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

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

Tel: 075-864-0690

Ebisuya in Higashiyama Access:

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

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

Tel: 075-533-2600

You can also make a reservation.

Arashiyama Yoshimura and Arabica Kyoto

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

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

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

View from the 2nd floor
Tenenzaruzen for 2019 yen

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

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

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

Front of store
Their signature is “%”.

Arashiyama Yoshimura Access:

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

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

English, Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese menu are available.

Arabica Kyoto Arashiyama Access:

Opening hours 8:00 – 18:00

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

Conclusion

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

A Kyoto Landscape As Seen From Above

by Shiori Iwawaki, Hinako Uematsu, Mina Ito

Have you ever ridden a rickshaw? There are many different kinds of rickshaws in the world. A rickshaw is generally a vehicle pulled by one man and has space for only two or three passengers. It is called jinrikisha in Japanese. Min Kyoto visitors are able to go around tourist attractions by rickshaw, and the driver act as a guide to various places. In Kyoto we can usually see rickshaws in the Arashiyama, Gion and Okazaki areas. Rickshaws are very famous because they are historical, popular in Kyoto for tourism and present a good opportunity to learn about the city.

Rickshaw Rickshaw History

Rickshaws were hand-drawn taxi-cabs used in the past in Singapore. The name “rickshaw” was changed to jinrikisha, the Japanese name for the vehicle, which literally translated means “man-powered carriage.” Some say the rickshaw was invented by Jonathan Gable, an American missionary who designed it for his wife. It came to Singapore in 1880. In the same year, it was brought to Shimla in the Himalayas, and later appeared in Beijing around  1886. It was a primary source of income for  thousands of Chinese immigrants who came  to Singapore between the 1880s to the 1930s. The rickshaw became a major vehicle for public transport. They were very popular in China and were first used as private vehicles by aristocratic families. Some had iron-rimmed wheels and cabs made of pine wood. They were expensive to buy at $25 in 1881. They competed with two-wheeled horse carriages, but in the old days, the rickshaw was cheaper and faster.

 

RickshawRickshaw DriverRickshaws Today

Nowadays rickshaws are used mainly for tourists. Okayama Prefecture  first used rickshaws in 1970; after that rickshaws came to Kyoto and people got to know about them. At first, the rickshaw business began as transport that was suited for tasteful townscapes, and soon became a tourist attraction in Kyoto. The most well-known rickshaw company is “Ebisuya” and they possess 228 rickshaws.

Many tourists use rickshaws in Japan because it relaxing and comfortable. When riding a rickshaw, the passenger’s eye level is much  higher than usual, so views of the surrounding scenery or different and enjoyable. In addition, Kyoto has many hills in historical places so it is easier to go by rickshaw. Also it is killing two birds with one stone, in other words, you can listen to the explanation and history without walking on the street. These days many tourists come to Kyoto, so there are plenty of English. guides. Rickshaw drivers need knowledge about history, seasonal hi lights and many other things. Furthermore, rickshaw drivers need the skill to talk with people and make them happy.

Rickshaw DriverA Kyoto rickshaw diver

We interviewed a rickshaw driver to find out more about rickshaws. By interviewing him, we could find out many new things that we could not find on the internet. We asked a rickshaw driver named Mr. Kyuragi about the various aspects of his job. He works in Arashiyama and mentioned that the most rewarding part of his job were the smiles of his customers. Of course there are many hard things about a rickshaw job such as the study of Kyoto history, building up stamina and staying in good physical condition, or improving communication skills. However, these are essential things to make the customer feel satisfied. Also he is always careful about customers’ feelings. He tries to talk to them about something that relates to each customer so that the experience of riding a rickshaw will be memorable for them. Nowadays it is said that on some days the number foreign customers are up to 70% a day, so it has become important to communicate with them in foreign languages.

When we went to Kyoto we learned that driving rickshaws is rewarding work. The driver tries to help people who come to Arashiyama in order to for them to have better travel experiences. We are very proud of Kyoto rickshaw drivers and hope the history of rickshaw will continue in the future.

 

One person Two people Three people
One section 3,000Yen 4,000Yen 6,000Yen
30 minutes 7,000Yen 9,000Yen 13,500Yen
60 minutes 13,000Yen 17,500Yen 26,250Yen
120 minutes 23,500Yen 32,500Yen 48,750Yen

 

*For three people provide two rickshaws

 

picture with rickshawThe way rickshaw move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talking to a Rickshaw Driver

by Mayu Kuwahara, Karen Takeda and Yuri Nonaka

Rickshaw Driver Yoshito Ayata

Rickshaw Driver Yoshito Ayata

 

Rickshaws in Japan

The Japanese-style rickshaw was invented by Kosuke Izumi, Kosuke Takayama and Tokujiro Suzuki in about 1868. When they went to Tokyo, they saw carriages and inspired by them to develop a jinrikusha or rickshaw. It is one kind of vehicle that has been used as a means of transportations in Japan. A rickshaw has a covered seat set between two wheels, and is pulled by a “driver.” People who pull rickshaws are called “shahu.” Rickshaws are still used in many tourist areas for sightseeing, especially in Kyoto. When customers hire a rickshaws, the rickshaw driver is expected to tell stories about local history and give advice about popular stores or restaurants because they know the best places in Kyoto.

 

Rickshaw Driver Youshito Ayata

We interviewed a Japanese rickshaw driver named Yoshito Ayata. He works at Ebisuya, which is a rickshaw company located near Arashiyama Station in Kyoto. He is a 20-year-old student and goes to Ritsumeikan University. He has been driving rickshaws for about one year, so he talked about his job.

Karen: Why did you decide to start working at Ebisuya?

Yoshito: It has been my dream job since I was about nine years old. When I saw the rickshaw for the first time, I thought it was super cool. Ever since that day I decided to do this job after I graduated from high school.

Mayu: What have you learned by your experience as a rickshaw driver?

Yoshito: I learned a lot of things—not only how to drive the rickshaw but also how to show hospitality. And it is very good exercise for me and I can practice foreign languages with my customers.

Karen: That is great. What do you consider when you interact with foreign customers? Is there any difference between Japanese and foreign customers?

Yoshito: There is so much difference between Japanese and foreign customers. Some foreigners think that the rickshaw is just a cheap means of transportation like in India or Thailand, so they will be surprised when they see the price. One more example, when I give them a guided tour about one area in Kyoto, most of them don’t know about the Tale of Genji nor Hyakunin-isshyu, so it is a bit hard to explain about the history.

Yuri: I see. It is so interesting.

Karen: Yes. Even Japanese don’t know a lot about Japanese history, so it must be harder to explain about Japanese history to foreign customers.

Yuri: By the way, why can you speak English so well?

Yoshito: Oh, I studied abroad in New Zealand for one year when I was a high school student. That is why I speak English better than the other drivers, so I mainly deal with foreign customers. My boss always passes them to me. But many times I interact with Chinese customers too, so I would like to improve my Chinese language. It is the hardest thing for me.

Yuri: Do you have anything that you think about concerning this job? And also I’d like to know how you felt when you drove a rickshaw for the first time.

Yoshito: I think a lot about maintaining a healthy condition, especially in the summer time. And also in the rainy season! It takes about 40 minutes to polish my rickshaw when it rains. And balancing the rickshaw for the first time was the hardest thing for me. Also the rickshaw is categorized as a light vehicle such as bicycle or scooter, so you have to follow the traffic laws, and you have to speak to the customer at the same time.

Yuri: I never thought about it. You have to run with the road traffic! So interesting.

Mayu: That is so scary!….haha. Okay then, what is the most precious thing for you when you are working?

Yoshito: When my customers could enjoy my ride from the bottom of their heart. I like their smiles very much.

Karen: Okay thanks. It’s the last question. What are the attractive points of Kyoto when being viewed from a rickshaw?

Yoshito: When you ride the rickshaw, everything seems attractive, because you can see the town from a different perspective. And I highly recommend the path that goes through the bamboo forest here, especially in the early morning when nobody is around.

Mayu: I don’t know about rickshaws much but really want to ride one someday.

Yoshito: Please come to Ebisuya!

Yuri: Yes! Thanks!

 

Hiring a jinrikishya in Kyoto will become one of your best memories. They are not at all like a bus or a taxi. Not only as vehicle, but also as an activity, you can get closer to Kyoto, learn about recommended places, touch culture and history, and find new attractive points from the new perspective of rickshaw. Try and go around Kyoto with Jinrikisya!!!

Arashiyama Station

Arashiyama Station

Prices

1 Passenger

– 1 block tour (1200m, 12min) – 3,000yen

– 2 block tour (2200m, 22min) – 5,000yen

– 30 minute tour  – 7,000yen

– 45 minute tour – 10,000yen

– 60 minute tour  – 13,000yen

– 120 minite tour – 23,500yen

– 180 minute tour – 32,500yen

 

2 Passengers

– 1 block tour (1200m, 12min) – 4,000yen

– 2 block tour (2200m, 22min) – 7,000yen

– 30 minute tour  – 9,000yen

– 45 minute tour – 13,500yen

– 60 minute tour  – 17,500yen

– 120 minite tour – 32,500yen

– 180 minute tour – 47,500yen

* cash only, credit cards not accepted

 

More information  ↓Please cleck here↓

http://www.ebisuya.com/en/branch/index.html

 

Aiko Sonoda: The rickshaw driver of Arashiyama

by Yuka Yamazaki

I am in Arashiyama: a region on the outskirts of Kyoto that recalls the ancient world of Japanese nobility and their elegant poetry. I learn that this was a popular place for secret meetings between lovers.

This was an aspect of Arashiyama I encountered with the help of one of my dear friends who happens to work here. Aiko Sonoda might be an ordinary university student like me, but it is what she does outside of class that makes her particularly unique.

Aiko is a jinrikisha or manual rickshaw driver. This form of transport is several centuries old, and today you can see them at some of the major tourist spots in Kyoto. Operating jinrikisha is usually the preserve of men, since it requires a huge amount of physical strength. But Aiko takes it all in her stride, always wearing a heartwarming smile on her face.

Before Aiko was able to start working as an ichininmae fully-fledged rickshaw driver, she had to endure a long period of training as well as pass an exam to qualify her as a tour guide. But perhaps the toughest challenge was to defy the perception that a woman, particularly one as petite as her, was not suited to pull a rickshaw. Her track record as a competitive runner and her passion, however, won the day. Now, tourists from all over the world can have the pleasure of having Aiko as their guide.

“Why did you want this job so much?” I ask. Aiko explains that she was already working at a rickshaw company, preparing the drinks and towels for the drivers. She saw how the guides could interact with the visitors and bring a smiles to their faces, and looked on with longing as they rode away together into the distance. “If only I could make them happy too,” she thought.

She tells me about an elderly couple she guided, who were visiting Arashiyama for the first time since their honeymoon. “I was so glad to be able to share that precious time with them,” she says.

We meet on this early summer morning by Nonomiya Shrine, tucked away in the famous bamboo groves. Aiko is going to take me for a ride on her rickshaw for the first time.

It’s raining a little, so Aiko pulls the hood of the rickshaw over my head and places a warm red blanket on my lap. We already know each other well, but today, she is treating me like a princess! I take out my notebook and start writing when she stops me: “No need to do that: just sit back, relax, and enjoy!”

“Let’s go!”

Aiko stops periodically to let me take photographs, take in the scenery, and to share stories with me of love and scandal from the time when Kyoto was home to the imperial court.  I shower her with questions. I am so impressed by her abilities as a guide, and how she still looks pretty even as beads of sweat (and rain!) gather around her forehead.

After our hour is up, I disembark the rickshaw at Nenbutsu-ji Temple having seen Arashiyama from a completely different perspective. She writes out my receipt, addressed to “Princess Yuka”!

Aiko then gave me several recommendations on how to spend the rest of my special day in Arashiyama, including a 400 year-old restaurant called Hiranoya which served Japanese matcha tea with sweets.

 

Aiko’s achievement is truly a testament to her strong personality as well as her love for her heritage and culture. Arashiyama would be lost without her, just as a poet would be lost without his brush.

How can I get a rickshaw ride?

It’s easy! You will see many rickshaws in Arashiyama, almost as soon as you leave the station the guides will greet you and invite you to ride with them. The cost depends on how far you want to ride, but the fee for one person is usually 2000 yen, for two people 3000 yen. Some drivers, like Aiko, speak English.