Feature Articles, page2

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

19Articles
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

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

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

The Best Ways to Find Antiques in Kyoto

How do you honestly feel about "antiques"? Intimidating? Luxury items? Too complicated to understand? ... I wonder if most people feel that way. 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

Leading You to Plum Blossom's Season in Kyoto

If you visit Kyoto in the spring, you are sure to love the exquisitely beautiful scenery of cherry blossoms in full bloom. However, cherry blossoms are not the only beautiful flowers you can see in Kyoto during springtime. In the Edo period, the common people enjoyed singing a short folk song that starts with the line “The plum blossoms have bloomed?” The song continues “Is it time for the cherry blossoms yet?” This expresses the anticipation for the cherry blossom season among people who felt the blooming of plum blossoms marked the coming of spring. Plum blossoms are the earliest sign of the arrival of spring, and they have been beloved by the Japanese people since ancient times, sometimes even more so than cherry blossoms. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine has the greatest number and variety of plum trees of anywhere in Kyoto, and it is famed as the best place in Japan to view plum blossoms. So much so, that during the peak viewing season from early February to late March, tourists come from all over Japan to see the picturesque views of plum blossoms. Adjoining Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a closely associated area called Kamishichiken, which, like Gion, is a hanamachi (Maiko and Geiko quarter) live that has survived in Kyoto to modern times, and where the traditional scenery has been carefully preserved almost unchanged. The Kitano Tenmangu-Kamishichiken area is unfortunately not well-known as a famous Kyoto sightseeing spot among people overseas. However, it could be said that this secluded area, with its gorgeous yet understated scenery and solemn atmosphere, is the best place to enjoy the traditional scenery and landscapes of Kyoto. Whether you are planning to visit Kyoto before the start of the cherry blossom season, or you are a major fan of Kyoto who has visited the city many times, we definitely recommend paying a visit to this area.
Area Mar. 10, 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
Feature

Strolling like a local ― Okazaki and Nanzen-ji temple

What is your style when you are on a trip? Some people devote themselves to visiting as many famous sightseeing spots as efficiently as possible, while there are also those who make it their life’s work to discover fantastic, cozy little restaurants tucked away on back streets, not listed in any guidebook, and share them on Facebook. If you most enjoy a leisurely stroll while taking in the sights and local color, relying only on Google Maps, then Kyoto might be the ideal place for you. I will be covering this time the area called Okazaki this time, and there are many spots where you can enjoy gorgeous seasonal scenery, as well as shops and restaurants favored by locals here and there, even though it is a popular sightseeing area. It is also one of Kyoto’s leading areas for art and culture. Even in a hot area like this, there are a number of places that are especially worthy of a trip which I want to cover. In autumn, when Kyoto is at its most beautiful, these include the shrines and temple the locals proudly recommend, local specialties, must-see art spots, and dining along the riverside while taking in the seasonal views. I hope you have a good time walking the streets amid the lush greenery and the sounds of the river. I also hope you have fine weather on that day!
Area Mar. 10, 2017
Feature

Kiyomizu-dera Temple and its Surroundings

Built in 778, Kiyomizu-dera is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Situated halfway up Otowa mountain, the temple complex covers an area of about 130,000 square meters. Almost all of the buildings in the temple grounds were built around 400 years ago, and are surrounded by lush greenery (including cherry blossom in spring, and red maple leaves in fall), creating spectacular views and stunning scenery that continually attract visitors from all over the world. There is plenty to see and do within the spacious grounds of the temple, as well as attractions to enjoy before you even pass through the temple gate. For a unique, delicious, and traditional Japanese experience, this is the perfect place. If you’d like to know a little more about the best way to enjoy Kiyomizu-dera and its surroundings, please bear with us a little longer. In this special feature article, Sharing Kyoto will introduce a unique perspective on the best way to enjoy the area in 4 parts. We would be extremely pleased if our guide goes a little way to making your visit to Kyoto a pleasurable one.
Area Mar. 07, 2017

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