Feature Articles, page2

Sharing Kyoto's monthly special reports about the seasons, traditions, and popular spots of Kyoto(Page2).

23Articles
Feature

The Best Ways to Find Antiques in Kyoto

What are antiques to you? Are they something to be left in the attic, or do you still use them every day? There are many different ways of looking at antiques, but many people in Japan think of antiques as something you could use every day. In fact there are of course some rare antiques valued in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, and you may feel reluctant to enter the world of shops or people that deal with only those kinds of objects. However, originally in Japan, antiques are not purely decorative objects never to be touched. They are "things that are close at hand every day", to be treasured but also to be carefully and continually used on a daily basis. Of course, the cost is a stretch compared to the crockery and furniture that we can so easily buy. However, considering the cost performance, their color does not fade for 100 or 200 years; on the contrary, antiques that have a long history and are even more rich and tasteful than when they are new will be tens of times better. Food or sake served in antique dishes or cups is delicious. I think that it may be thanks to the hands of many people it has passed through. The hands of the people who carefully made each and every one, the hands of the former owners who carefully used it, and the hands of the people kept it until passing it on to the next owner, it is deeply embued with the memories of various people. Doesn’t something taste more delicious because the thought is subtly conveyed of someone treasuring a particular object? Antiques are truly fascinating. This time, we bring you how to enjoy such "antiques for everyday use". You might wonder "why antiques in Kyoto?", but actually it is “antiques because it’s Kyoto.” The reason is that Kyoto has an abundance of ways to enjoy antiques: two major antique fairs held every month; antique shops that you can enter casually; Teramachi-dori, which is a street famous for art; and Kyoto Grand Antique Fair, the largest antique fair in western Japan. If you take the time to visit Kyoto, why not try touching the antiques of Kyoto? In several parts based on different themes, let’s find out how to enjoy antiques!
Culture Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

Recommended places to visit during cherry blossom season

The cherry blossom season brings many sentimental feelings to people of Japan every year. With the start of a new school year for students in April in Japan, the cherry blossoms bring encouragement to all the people of the world. Cherry blossoms, also known as sakura in Japanese, are often used as the symbol of Japan. Now cherry blossoms can also be seen in places far across the globe like in Washington D.C. because the Japanese government gives cherry trees out as presents to foreign states in order to strengthen international relations. In Japan, there are about 300 different types of cherry trees. Among them, Somei Yoshino is a type most familiar among people of Japan. Interestingly, most cherry trees are planted and so most trees at the same place are related to each other sharing the same DNA. They tend to blossom at the same time, and the petals also fall off at the same time. The trees are beautiful in any place they bloom, of course. The whole country will be swept over with cherry blossom from March to May. Nonetheless, you do not want to miss the historical city of Kyoto during this wonderful season. We hope that you will spend the cherry blossom season the same way the people of Kyoto do. From wonderful walks by the canals lined with cherry blossoms to feeling the spring air swirling the petals off the trees, there are incredible things to experience in Kyoto. The spring time in Japan is extra special because of the attitude and sentimental feelings people have toward this short time frame when the trees blossom, usually for about 2 weeks.
Season Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

Celebrate Setsubun with demons, beans, and maiko!

Every February a traditional event called Setsubun is observed in Japan. Setsubun means the changing of the season, and there are many rituals, the most famous of which is the expelling of the demon by throwing beans at it. Setsubun is a tradition that is alive and well today, before Setsubun you can find beans and demon masks at most convenience stores and supermarkets, and there are many festivals to celebrate Setsubun. Of course Setsubun is also celebrated in Kyoto, and there are many Setsubun festivals celebrated at the shrines and temples of Kyoto. There the people of Kyoto enjoy the Setsubun festivities like bean throwing. Setsubun is usually held on February 3rd, but there are also festivals and events on 2nd and 4th too. This feature is all about Setsubun! Parts one and two are about the Setsubun festivals held in Kyoto while parts three and four are about Setsubun traditions like bean throwing! If you are in Kyoto during Setsubun, I hope you will try to get into a festive spirit!
Culture Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

Enjoy out Matcha in Kyoto!

Matcha and Green tea have recently become one of the icons of choice favored by many health-conscious people, going as far as featuring in the popular latte menu of Starbucks. In recent years, Japanese tea has continued to grow its fan base around the world thanks to its healthy image and the great versatility found in its preparation. Matcha (whole Japanese tea leaves that are processed and converted into powder form) has nowadays become more accessible and it is no longer used only for tea ceremonies. In modern Kyoto, customers are able to relax and drink Matcha at many Japanese confectionery cafes and the like, and it is also commonly used as flavoring for western confectionery such as parfaits and cakes (there is sure to be many people around the world whose favorite snack is the Matcha Kit Kat!). Furthermore, Uji, the country's most prominent production area of high-quality Japanese green tea, is located south of the center of Kyoto. During the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), a Buddhist monk named Eisei brought over some varieties of tea from China. These varieties were then planted in the Uji area, marking the start of tea production in Japan. Here we will outline our special recommendations for places where you can enjoy a special cultural experience as could only be achieved in Kyoto, the land of the origins of Matcha. If you fancy tasting exceptional Matcha tea as you enjoy the views of a Japanese temple garden, or if you are interested in listening to the trustworthy staff from a Tea leaf shop with a history of many hundreds of years as they share their extensive knowledge of Kyoto's green tea culture, or if you want to try a number of cute and delicious Matcha sweets... then we will introduce you to an amazing event that will give you the opportunity to stand in the middle of a large tea plantation, feel the trees and pick up tea leaves with your own hands! Enjoy some freshly poured Matcha tea as you wish it to relieve the fatigue of your soul and body after your long travels.
Culture Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

Exclusive Sushi Experience in Kyoto

It is no exaggeration to say that the very essence of Japanese culture can be found packed into a single roll of sushi. From the beautiful appearance, through to the uncompromising obsession with the quality of the ingredients, the skill of the chefs, and the dining etiquette, signs of “Japanese-ness” and Japanese spirit can be found everywhere you look, both in the sushi and in the green tea which accompanies it. You can get an even stronger sense of all of these things in a small, hand-rolled sushi restaurant where the only seating available is at the counter. Perhaps the very reason you are planning to visit Japan is to eat delicious sushi. In that case, welcome to Kyoto! This is a place which has prospered as the birthplace of traditional Japanese culture since ancient times, and which continues to both observe and convey the spirit of Japanese cuisine. While Tokyo may be the home of hand-rolled sushi, Kyoto not only has delicious hand-rolled sushi, it also has its very own form of “sushi cuisine”, which developed in harmony with the climate of the region and the lifestyle of its people. So come to Kyoto and become acquainted with the skill of its people and the beauty of their labor for making sushi, as well as discovering just how delicious, convenient, and fun the food made from everyday ingredients can be. Let us help you to turn your experience of eating sushi in Kyoto into a wonderful and unforgettable memory!
Culture Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

4 Ways To Enjoy Gardens In Kyoto

Gardens have been part of the Japanese culture for centuries, and Kyoto being the old capital of Japan, principles of garden creations was popularized in this very same land. Through history of destroying and rebuilding of the city, some gardens remain for over 1000 years mostly in temples, and that is something Kyoto can be proud of. There are countless gardens in Kyoto, some are ancient while others are modern, and appreciating them will take your soul on a unique time travel. Not only there are different types of gardens with variety of qualities, there are also different methods in appreciating them. We picked up 4 different ways to enjoy gardens in Kyoto and introduce them to you in 4 different parts. Within different ways to enjoy gardens, you will sure to appreciate the art in which garden designers created. What’s behind the design is something deep, yet visually looks simple at times. What was desired in a garden changed in different eras, that’s also something enjoyable to look and compare. We hope that you will get a chance to see several different gardens and consider the different ways of appreciating them. From abundant garden choices you can choose from, we are confident that you will find very memorable ones here in Kyoto.
Culture Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

Kyoto Station: More than Just a Gateway to Kyoto

This modern station building may surprise you at first glance with a thought of it really being in the old capital city of Japan. The station itself went through a massive remodeling which finished in 1997, and it continues to boom with new shops services service to welcome visitors. As a transportation hub, Kyoto Station is considered a gateway to Kyoto located about 1.5 hours away from Kansai International Airport by train and just 35 minutes away from central Osaka. Many visitors will likely to come across this area at least once during a trip in Kyoto. Some will only zip through here heading out to explore further into the city. However, most convenient services are available here along with countless eateries and shops that you may want to consider staying and spend some time in the area. Basically there are two sides, Hachijo-guchi (Hachijo Street side) and Chuo-guchi (JR central gate side). There are underground passage ways along with many shops and eateries. Take a moment and get to know what is available in Kyoto Station!
Area Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

The Sticky Rice Cakes the Japanese People Can’t Get Enough Of!

Have you had “mochi” (Japanese Rice cakes)? Since there are a lot of famous Japanese confectionery shops and teahouses in Kyoto, you may have already tried Warabi-mochi or dumplings. However, these are not exactly mochi. Then, what is mochi? It is food made from mochi rice, and looks white, and has a sticky texture. The white object is bland as it as, so they are often eaten with some seasonings or broth soup after grilling or boiling. It might be not familiar to you if you are from out of Japan, but for Japanese, traditional ingredient from an ancient time. We will feature “Kyoto’s mochi” in this article. Kyoto has many Japanese confectioners, not to mention temples and shrines, no wonder classic, recommended rice cake or events are found. This time, we are going to introduce mochi rice cake from 3 different points of view, “learn”, “eat”, and “make.” In Part1, you can see the representative mochi-food “zoni” and also Kyoto’s local zoni. Part2 shows you sweet mochi at Kyoto’s teahouses. Then Part3 comes, get to know mochi-related events take place in temples and shrines. Finally Part4! Sharing Kyoto members have actually practiced mochi-making! We are very happy if you find “mochi” attractive through our features.
Culture Mar. 17, 2017
Feature

Kyoto is full of excitement as New Year approaches

2015 is almost over. How are you going to spend the New Year holiday season? Everyone in Japan is very busy. During this time of the year, people get serious about preparing for the New Year. So, how do people greet the New Year? They do this by welcoming gods that bring good fortune for the year into their homes on New Year’s Day. To have a happier year, they welcome in the gods and celebrate. At the end of the year, people are very busy getting ready. They buy food and household supplies, clean up their surroundings, and cleanse their minds, of which “Joya no Kane” is a good example. The preparations are to make sure they welcome the gods in the cleanest possible state, as well as to spend a relaxing time with family. New Year’s Day is about family. Relatives get together and celebrate around the dinner table. They eat lucky foods like mochi (rice cakes) and kamaboko (fish cakes). They also go out for hatsumode. Hatsumode is the first visit of the year to a shrine or temple to pray for good health. Though it can get extremely crowded, it is an important custom. One cannot forget the great deals you can get at big New Year sales. The crowds are big as well, but the sight of the entire town buzzing with excitement is something you only see this time of year. The old capital of Kyoto has a history stretching back 1,300 years. As a city that respects tradition but is always trying new things, Kyoto has many unique customs, ceremonies, and foods for New Year. People going out to enjoy them make Kyoto’s streets even more flamboyant than usual. We want you to enjoy the New Year holiday season just as much as the locals. This time we will introduce some spots that will help you do that.
Season Mar. 10, 2017
Feature

For Curry lovers, from Kyoto.

There’s no doubt that “curry rice” can be considered a Japanese soul food. More than a few Japanese households have the tradition of eating curry rice on Sunday evenings, and many a curry-loving Japanese restauranteur has traced the same path of traveling to India — the home of curry — then returning to Japan to open a restaurant where they serve curries made with their very own recipes. Curry, first brought to Japan by the British, underwent its own special evolution once it arrived on these shores, and has grown into a part of Japan’s own unique food culture. The abundance of varieties on offer, as well as the level of attachment Japanese people have to their curry, is truly something to behold. Additionally, recognition of curry rice has spread throughout the world thanks to the advances of the Japanese curry rice chain CoCo Ichibanya to America, China, and Thailand. There are many restaurants offering delicious curry rice right here in Kyoto, but it is our sincere hope that curry lovers from all over the world will try the selection we have recommended upon their arrival in Kyoto. For those of you who have never visited Japan but feel an incredible yearning for curry rice, for those of you who just aren’t satisfied with the “katsu curry” served in your own countries, and even for those of you who have never even heard of it (let alone tried it), we truly hope that you’ll enjoy reading this article. It’s been written with love by the curry lovers of Kyoto.
Culture Mar. 10, 2017

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