Sharing Kyoto’s feature articles

In our feature articles we dig deep into the Japanese psyche,
from seasonal topics like cherry blossoms to staples like soba noodles.

What’s happening in Kyoto

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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.

Seasonal Kyoto

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Cleanse your mind and body at the Japanese gardens of Kyoto!
Kyoto’s temples are always a popular sightseeing destination for tourists. Getting to admire beautiful gardens at these temples is an experience that is bound to leave a lasting memory! But how are these gardens categorized? What are the differences between garden types? I think that this is a question most people can’t answer without looking at Wikipedia! In this feature article, we will take a look at the defining characters of different types of Japanese gardens, and also take the Randen tram to see some gardens. And lastly, we will go find some great restaurants with nice gardens! I hope you will enjoy the profound world of Japanese gardens!
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Renovated machiya-style townhouse fun in Kyoto! Eat, drink, and have fun in machiya!
When you walk on the historic streets of Kyoto, you will undoubtedly notice all the old houses lining the streets. These houses are actually called “Kyoto machiya townhouses.” Do you know what this word means? It’s the townhouses that the people of Kyoto used to live in, but, sadly, with the advent of modernity, the number of houses like this has gone down dramatically. Luckily, there is now a movement to restore these Kyoto machiya townhouses to their former glory. So now you can find all kinds of restaurants and shops located in machiya, so keep reading if you want to know what kinds of machiya townhouse restaurants, shops, and experiences you can find in Kyoto!
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The tea culture of Kyoto
The tea culture of Kyoto is very old, and you can even find the oldest tea field in Kyoto in the area of Takao, at the World Heritage Site of Kosan-ji Temple. Tea ceremony and matcha are maybe the most important part of tea in Kyoto, but there are also many other types of delicious teas in Koyto, some with a lot of umami, some with a more grassy taste, and some that have a nice smokiness to them. Read below if you want to know more about the types of teas you can find in Kyoto, like gyokuro, kabusecha, sencha, hojicha, and many more.

Popular spots

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Delve into the World of the Kitano Tenmangu Area - From Basic Info to Hole-in-the-wall Spots; this is the Kitano Tenmangu Area -
Are you planning a trip to the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine? If so, then we think there are a few things you need to know to make the most of the shrine and its surrounding neighborhood. The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is one of Kyoto’s many popular sightseeing spots. Especially during the plum season of late Feb-early March, the area’s abuzz with both tourists home and overseas. Blooming earlier than cherry blossoms, Japanese plums call about the coming of spring with their beautifully vivid flowers. However, sadly, outside of this season, the magic of the Kitano Tenmangu area isn’t so well known. Around the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine itself, there lie a swath of hole-in-the-wall spots–including the Kamishichiken district, one of Kyoto’s few hanamachi (geisha districts), the Nishijin district, known for its luxury silks, and the very unique Yokai Street. In addition to these sightseeing spots, the area’s also the birthplace of a number of unique foods even within Kyoto–and in recent years has gained notoriety in the city for its number of trendy new cafes. In this feature, we’ll be delving deep into the Kitano Tenmangu area in four separate parts; Part 1 “Kitano Tenmangu Basic Info,” Part 2 “Model Course,” Part 3 “Recommended Spots,” and Part 4 “Kitano Tenmangu Food”
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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.
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The shrines and temples of Kyoto and their traditional Japanese sweets!
There are many shrines and temples in Kyoto, many of them World Heritage Sites, so a huge number of tourists visit them every year. But did you know that some of these places of worship have their own Japanese sweet they’re famous for? In Japanese, these treats are called “Sweets sold in front of the temple gates,” which as you can probably guess, is where most of the places selling these sweets are located. These sweets are great to have when at the temple, or you can eat them later at your hotel. In this article, we take a look at what kinds of shrine-sweets you can have in Kyoto, and what they have to do with the shrine! So come with Vanessa and find out which are the best shrine-sweets in Kyoto!

Culture of Kyoto

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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!
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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.
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Extraordinary Kaiseki Dinner in Kyoto
What is “Washoku”? When posed with that question, what comes to your mind? Sushi? Tempura? Or ramen? Japanese food comes in many forms. There is a diverse range of popular foods and trendy foods, and Japanese food has also rapidly undergone a myriad of changes in response to the trend of the times. But even so, can new cuisine that have evolved with incorporations of the current culture and trends be really called Japanese food? Does this “Washoku” that was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2013 include ramen and curry rice? UNESCO does not define “Washoku” as a reference to the menu itself. Instead, it refers to a hearty, balanced menu that cherishes the four beautiful seasons, respects nature and enjoyed with customs that seek its harmonious coexistence. These spiritual and aesthetic consciousness is a unique culture of Japanese cuisine and this is what was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. In this way, it is precisely this expression of the transitions of the four seasons and respect for the original flavours of the ingredients that make a meal “Washoku”. So, where exactly should one dine at in order to experience the charms of “Washoku”, the traditional food culture of the Japanese people? The answer is none other than Kyoto. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is because Kyoto is known as the “Home of Washoku”. On that note, this time’s feature will be about the Washoku restaurants in Kyoto that have been loved in the past and is still loved today. I will write about the following four points to showcase the beauty of Washoku: “Kaiseki cuisine,” traditional Kyoto Washoku that more prominently brings out the allure of Washoku, hot and popular Washoku in Kyoto evolving day by day, Washoku that can be enjoyed lightheartedly, as well as ways to enjoy Sake, the perfect drink to go with Washoku.

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