Our (little) BLOG
The Hanami season has started. With the cold of winter fading away, the weather is becoming more pleasant every day. The flowers are blossoming around the city, and that gave us the idea of starting this little blog. We’ll try to post photos and news on a regular basis to show you how Kyoto is looking, changing according to the seasons.
Akiko & Patrick
“Light and Blossoms Pathway” is the way this year’s illumination of the whole area of Arashiyama is called. Hundreds of lanterns placed along the way, inside temples and gardens, and mainly along the famous Bamboo Grove, make it easy to move around.
The Maiko photo sessions, organized by “Photo Partner West”, an organization regrouping several Photographer Associations of Western Japan, took place on March 21st in a garden of the Heian Jingu Shrine. Almost 600 photographers attended the three sessions.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park , also known as “Eiga Mura”, is the only theme park in Japan where you can observe the filming of period dramas (jidaigeki films). Samurai, Ninja, Geisha, Oiran, traders, gamblers, and more, they were all present, and fun.
On May 14th is the annual festival of a little shrine located in the middle of Gion Higashi — Kankame Jinja (with its nickname being “Kanki”). So the day before, there is a big public party around the shrine, a street beer garden party, with Maiko and Geiko, and a lot of other people.
This time, I’d like to mention a different kind of restaurant, a different kind of food. It is about a well known “Yudofu” restaurant located near Nanzenji temple. Junsei serves “yudofu”, or boiled tofu in English, a popular dish around Nanzen-Ji
The Aoi Matsuri (葵祭) is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals and takes place every May 15th. The festival’s main attraction is a large parade in Kyoto, in which over 500 people dressed in the style of the Heian Period (794-1185)
In preparation of the Shimogamo shrine’s main festival, the Aoi Matsuri that takes place on May 15th, the Busha-Shinji ceremony is held and members of the Ogasawara-ryu School of Archery shoot arrows to a target representing evil and bad spirits, to drive them away.
It rains a lot in Japan. I actually don’t mind the rain so much as it often is a great opportunity to get interesting photos. The light is different, the colors are more saturated, often we can get some beautiful reflection of lights on the paved streets. But most of all, ….
As this year’s Hanami season comes to an end, the last place to visit around Kyoto is often the Ninna-Ji Temple (仁和寺). Located in the North West part of town, this temple is quite famous for its Omuro cherry trees, ancient, dwarf, late-flowering trees.
One of Kyoto most popular hanami spots in April is without doubt The Path of Philosophy (“Tetsugaku-no-michi” in Japanese). It is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, that follows a canal lined up by hundreds of cherry trees.
On 23rd of March, 2016, Kyoto weather forecast station announced the first bloom of cherry, or in other words, the beginning of this year’s Hanami — the Cherry Blossom Season.
This is four days earlier than last year and five days earlier than the average year.
Maiko from Kyoto’s five entertainment areas (Hanamachi) will perform dances dedicated to the gods at the Yasaka shrine. This event takes place outside on the shrine’s stage at the beginning of the Higashiyama Hanatouro (Lantern) Festival.
Hanami – 花見- in Japanese literally means “Flowers Viewing”, but we usually understand it as Cherry Blossom. But the cherry is not the only type of flowers we can enjoy, and the Hanami season doesn’t start in late March or early April…
Patrick’s first experience at a local photo contest — Maiko and Momiji organized by the Photo Partner Kyoto Association, ended up today with the award ceremony. Patrick’s very pleased and very proud to have one of his photos receiving a “Special Mention”.
To try Shojin Ryori (精進料理), Zen Vegetarian Cuisine, this is a good address. It’s located next to Kodaiji Temple and is open from lunch to dinner, non stop. The type of Shojin Ryori provided is called “Fucha Ryori”, and was brought to Japan by Chinese monks during the Edo period.