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

Feature
Kyoto is full of excitement as New Year approaches
This year 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.

Seasonal Kyoto

Feature
Eat hot food to get through the cold winter of Kyoto!
When the cold winter winds howl in Kyoto, and the temperatures drop below 10 degrees, it truly starts to feel freezing. But worry not! With a hot pot dish and some hot noodles, you’re going to be able to get through the winter in Kyoto. There are udon and soba noodles, yudofu, hot pot, and hot drinks for you to enjoy here, so there is something for everyone, so come join me on my trip to find out about the most heart and body warming dishes in Kyoto!
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.
Feature
Kyoto Oden Guide – From Classics to the Unconventional
When you're talking wintery Japanese foods, what's the first thing to come to mind? Shabu shabu? Sukiyaki? Maybe even boiled yu-dofu? Yes, while these are pretty well known overseas, there's one warm, winter Japanese dish that hasn't made its way to the food courts and sushi bars of the west. That's right, we're talking about the essential Japanese winter food–oden! This Japanese stew-like amalgam of ingredients is made up of dashi broth filled with the likes of hard boiled eggs and white daikon radish. While you'll see it at some homes, a lot of the time, people eat oden outside at food stalls and izakaya pubs with heated tables called kotatsu to warm themselves. This tradition of eating oden in winter has essentially woven itself into the winter customs of Japan. While oden is a simple dish at its core, this has opened it up to a world of innovation across the varied regions of Japan. In this oden feature, we will highlight all the fantastic and exciting aspects of oden in Kyoto. Not only because we love Kyoto, but because the area in and around Kyoto is one of the coldest in Japan, so naturally, winter just isn't complete here without oden. Take a look over all parts of the feature and see everything from veteran oden restaurants beloved by Kyoto locals, to the best places to grab a drink with your oden and enjoy something a little out of the ordinary.

Popular spots

Feature
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”
Feature
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!
Feature
A complete guide to Fushimi Inari Shrine
Maybe the most famous among the many sightseeing spots in Kyoto is Fushimi Inari Shrine. Many people head to the shrine to see the mysterious sight of the countless torii gates and the many foxes guarding the shrine. But Fushimi Inari Shrine is not only about torii gates and foxes, there is a lot more to the over 1000-year old shrine. By reading this feature article you will get a better sense of what Fushimi Inari Shrine really is about, like: What is Fushimi Inari Shrine’s history like? Why are there shrines all the way up the mountain? Why are there so many foxes at Fushimi Inari Shrine? And why are there so many torii gates? What are the most popular Fushimi Inari Shrine souvenirs? You will find the answers to these questions and more by clicking on the links below:

Culture of Kyoto

Feature
Winter in Kyoto is cold but actually great for sightseeing!
January and February are the coldest months in Kyoto, and you can even get to see snow here. But if you wear the right clothes, this period is great for sightseeing. If you want to know what to wear in January and February in Kyoto, and what to eat, look no further! We’re also going to say cheers with a glass of hot sake!
Feature
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!
Feature
Time to change to a kimono and go for a walk in Gion!
Among the sightseeing spots of Kyoto, one of the most popular ones is Gion. But do you know why Gion is known as the geisha district of Kyoto? And what is the difference between maiko and geisha, or geiko as they are called in Kyoto? We are going to find out, and on the way we are also going to rent a kimono, go to the shrines and temples of Gion, and finish with some fine dining establishments with Michelin stars. So, it is time to start our trip to the traditional hanamachi of Gion!

Page Top