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★ Bonfires Festival on Five Mountains

Summer in Kyoto, after big Gion Festival, we will have another special and important festival, not in the day time, but at night!

This is called, "Gozan no Okuribi"

In the evening of August 16th, large bonfires are lit on five of Kyoto's surrounding mountains.

At that night you see the burning letters appear to float in the sky.

This is a Buddhist event held on the last day of O-bon.

"O-bon" is the four-day from 13th to 16th of Aug. In these days, families usually go back to their parent's house to have the time together to welcome back the spirits of their ancestors, hold memorial services for them, and see ancestor's spirits off to the Under World.

"Daimonji", Big

Each Kanji is lit one by one in order from the east to the west from around eight in the evening.

"Ho", Doctrine

Some of the strokes in these Kanji are more than 100 meters long!

"Myo", Lotus Sutra

"Torii", Shrine gate

"Fune", Ship

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to enjoy the five mountains view at once, but you can try one of them from these good view area. From the access, most recommendable area is below.

* around Demachi-Yanagi Station (Keihan-line)
- at Kamo O-Hashi Bridge or along the Kamo Gawa River

* In the Kyoto Imperial Palace
- It's crowded but it's huge area, so very recommendable to enjoy the view.

Another special night festival on this day will be held at Arashiyama Koen Park, too.

Floating Lantern Festival
- It's held every year from sunset to 9pm. Very romantic view.

the Gozan Okuribi is called one of the four great events of Kyoto. The Okuribi are also believed to protect against evils. In addition, drinking water whose surface reflected the light of the Gozan no Okuribi is believed to prevent paralysis.

Kyoto Visitors?
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Heian Jingu Shrine - Benishidare Spring Night Music Festival 2011

Enjoy Classical Music Concert amid Spot-lit Cherry Blossoms!

 (musicians are different every day)

A live music concert will be performed in the evening in the shrine garden. You would be amazed a full of beautiful illuminated weeping cherry trees in the South and East Shin-en Garden. What an exotic Spring night in Kyoto.

Seats are not set up for this concert, so you can freely enjoy strolling through the garden while listening to such spiritual classical music.

Concert Place:
Heian Jingu Shrine - Kihinkan Hall in the East Garden (Higashi-Shin-en)

Price: 2000yen (1700yen by advance sale)

18:15-21:00 on April 7 (Thu) to 10 (Sun), 2011
(No postponement for rain)

10mins walk from Higashiyama station in subway Tozai line.

>>> Official Site

Kyoto Visitors? How to Process Free Guide!

★ Sakura, Cherry Blossom, is already coming!!

Hirano Jinja Shrine is one of the famous beautiful Sakura viewing place since ancient times!!

Over approx. one and a half months from late March, around 400 cerry trees of 50 varieties blossom one after another. The grounds become filled with their awesome pink colors!!

Especially the Sakura tree in front of mail hall is very charming like Maiko-san (Kamihichiken Maiko area is very near from this shrine) :)  Enjoy viewing these long weeping cherry trees are swinging pleasantly by wind! When you're looking up the sky, you may feel as if it were snowing!

 Admission Free
Open 6:00 to 17:00 (General), to 22:00 (When flowers are in bloom)

Kyoto Visitors?
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★ Higashiyama Hana Touro - Special Night Illumination

Enjoy moonlit beauty of the Higashiyama area!! :)
March 12th (Saturday) to 21st (Monday of Natiional Holiday)
18:00 (light-up starts) - 21:30

Long-awaited one of the famous Kyoto's Night Festivals coming soon!! If you visit Kyoto during this period, don't miss this attractive chance to enjoy such amazing night view under the illuminated sky...
The Lighting and Flower Arrangement Lane display route has been set up in one of the most beautiful and traditional areas in Kyoto, Higashiyama! You would be amazed to be surrounded by those romantic and exotic air in there... each place with different and unique appeal! :)

Access from Kyoto station:
Take Bus (No: 206 or Rakubus 100 at platform D1 or D2)
Get off at Gion or Kiyomizu-michi bus stop

The 4.6-km route will be lined with about 2,400 lanterns and large flower displays will be arranged along the route in a variety of attractive styles.

Here is the Night Illumination Places:
Yasaka Pagoda
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Kodai-ji Temple
Entoku-in Temple
Yasaka Jinja Shrine
Maruyama Park--- flower arrangement & bamboo lanterns decoration
Chion-in Temple(Yuzen-en Garden)
Shoren-in Temple

Admission fee is needed to enter in each temple or garden (around 400yen to 600yen), but just strolling in the route and park is for free.

Enjoy trying the japanese outside foodie from lot's of unique food stall along the lanes. Yakisoba, Takoyaki etc... :)
The illumination area is really huge from Shoren-in Temple in the north to all the way to Kiyomizu temple area in the south, so if you have only one night to visit, you need to take the minimized highlight route! Please ask me the map for the directions for highlight route if you're interested! :) Enjoy getting an inside look at Kyoto including secret spots most people don't even know about.

Shoren-in Temple
Yasaka pagoda

If you're lucky you may come across such special lucky attractions, too!! Good Luck!

* Please note: some performances maybe delayed or cancelled due to bad weather or so)

Kitsune no Yomeiri Junko
(Re-creation of traditional wedding parade)
Start : 19:00pm ~ 20:15pm~ (twice a day)
Parade route: Chionin Sanmon entrance → Maruyama park → Chiourakukan → Maruyama Music hall → Entokuin → Shunkouin → Kodaiji temple's south road → Kodaiji

Take Picture with Maiko-san!
Place: Kodaiji temple Park
From : 18:30pm
Only Earliest Visitors of 100 people (ready for queue!!)

Maiko Dancing performance
(offering to Yasaka shrine)
Place: Yasaka shrine stage
Date: 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 22nd
From : 18:00pm ~ 18:30pm~ (twice a day)

These romantic, relaxing evening and nighttime stroll will be the perfect addition to your Kyoto travel memories... :)

2nd, 3rd of Feb! Setsubun Festival --- Maiko Dancing and Bean Scattering at Yasaka shrine

2nd of Febrary is one of the important seasonal turning point in Japan. It's called "Setsubun", literally means "division of seasons". In this day we pray for the peace and perfect health throughout the year. 

How to celebrate the year is a bit unique... we throw roasted soybeans inside and outside our houses while crying "Oniwa-soto, Fukuwa-uchi!", or "Devils out! Good luck in!".

At Yasaka shrine in Gion, you can enjoy beautiful Maiko's rare traditional dancinzg and also throwing packets of roasted soya beans out into the crowd.

Depending on the date and time, the Maiko/Geiko from different Kagai (Floral City of district) are coming. Don't miss such gorgeous prare from Maiko and Geiko!

Place: Yasaka Shrine.(Access : City Bus No.206 "Gion")

at 1:00PM  --- from Ponto-cho district school.
at 3:00PM  --- from Miyagawa-cho district school.

at 1:00PM  --- from Gion Kobu district school.
at 3:00PM  --- from Gion Higashi district school.

In Setsubun, children throw roasted beans in the house to ward off evil spirits and other misfortune. In most of the families, an adult (usually Father) will put on a devil's mask and running through the house while being chased by children! One of the nice chances to enjoy such festive mood in the family. :)

★ Fragrant Plum Garden at Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine

When you visit Japan in Spring, especially in Kyoto, Sakura (cherry blossoms) viewing is really famous attraction!! But even before spring's coming, we're already looking forward to another famous beautiful flower in winter... YES, it's Ume, Plum!!! :)

The plum was introduced to Japan from China in very ancient ages like 8th century of Nara period. Since then, this flower has been one of the most popular flowers for us Japanese, lots of poems related to plum had been enjoyed being composed between noble people in those days...they were so impressed especially how the white color of plum was beautiful as purity...

And next, the pink plum has also got a popularity gradually... the dark pink of beauty had been sung in the poems, too, while the white plum has attracted the people with its special fragrance. This dark pink plum was often featured in the kimono design of noble people.   

Because the plum enjoy blooming even in such cold winter, people respect this flower as lucky symbol, and in many situation we use the name of plum in order to tell the grade or quality of the things, such as the type of ryokan's room or cuisine's quality etc. Ume (plum) is the third grade from the top. The top grade is "pine", and the second is "bamboo".

                             Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine
                             Viewing Ume Blossom at the plum garden

                             From 5th of Feb to around End of Mar
                             (the estimated best bloom is abt 25th of Feb) 

Kitano Tenmangu has beautiful plum blossom viewing in its biggest plum garden in Kyoto including a grove of nearly 2000 trees. Enjoy feeling like a spring is coming!

Admission fee (for the garden)  - 600 Yen
(with green tea and sweet)

  Hours: 10:00 - 16:00

Sugawara Michizane, a scholar and politician who was unfairly exiled by his political rivals, is enshrined as Tenjin, the kami ("Shinto god") of education, so many students come to this shrine to pray for success in their studies.

As very famous story in Tenjin shrines; a number of disasters had happened after Michizane's death in exile, so the people were so scared regarding it's because of his vengeful spirit, and then, these shrines were built to appease him.

One more story about Michizane is here... he loved plum trees very much and one tree called tobiume, or flying plum tree in the shrine, has special origin. It's said that the plum petals chased after him from Kyoto to his exile in Kyushu when he was banished.

Baikasai (Plum Festival)
On 25th of Feb

                     Outdoor Tea Ceremony 10:00 to 15:00
                     Tickets 1500 Yen
                     (only for the first reserved 3000 people).
                     * advance tickets available from 25th Jan.

On 25th of Feb, the memorial day of Michizane's death, ''The Plum Festival" is held. Under the full bloom of trees, around 30 of Maiko and Geiko serve you green tea.
What a wonderful combination of Green tea, Maiko and Plum trees!! 
If you visit Kyoto on this day, Don't Miss it! :)

2011 Kabuki Calendar!

2011 Kabuki Calendar!
1600yen at Minamiza (Kabuki Theater in Gion) This is Minamiza Orivinal Design! What a Perfect Souvenir Idea!! Or Nice Wall Decoration in your Room! Limited Stock, Hurry to get soon! :)

Kyoto Guide Index

Ask Free Guide 
Kyoto Visiters? Welcome to Guide You! :)
Feedback from the Tourists! Thank you! :)
Kyoto Travel Tips
Drop your Luggages at Kyoto Station!!
Kyoto Itinerary (sorry, now in the rennovation)
"Must to Visit" Nijo castle, Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, Shijo Karasuma Shopping area, Kiyomizudera,Gion
"Must to Visit" <2nd Day> Arashiyama, Tenryu-ji, Bamboo Forest, Togetsu-bridge, Heianjingu shrine.
"Must to Visit" <3rd Day> Ginkakuji, Philosopher's Path, Nanzenji, Shorenin, Chion-in, Maruyama-Park
"Must to Visit" <4th Day> Fushimi Inari & Nara area
Kyoto Tour by Bicycle!
What to do after Sunset
"Must to Visit" <4th Day> Kyoto Night Cruise (Yoru Bus) Bus Tour
Suberbs of Kyoto
Boat Tours down Hozu River
Boat Tour Movie
Kibune area, Kawadoko Kaiseki Cuisine on the River! (summer)
Takao area, Kawadoko Dinner with Maiko (spring and autumn)
Dinner Retaurants
Twilight Pontocho or Kamogawa Riverbank Dining (summer)Okonomiyaki (at Downtown)
● Okonomiyaki (at Kinkakuji area)
● Kobe Beef
Kyoto Sweets
Kyoto Famous Flavor, What is Matcha?
Kakigoori (Shaved Ice)
Souvenir Tips
Recommend Kyoto Souvenir Gallery 1
Recommend Kyoto Souvenir Gallery 2
Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat)
Shichimi Spice
Astro Boy Museum
Japanese Wooden Doll, Kokeshi
How to Wear Yukata
Tea Ceremony
Tea Ceremony Experience
Matcha (Powdered Green Tea) History
Meet Maiko
Winter Gion - Tea Party with Maiko only by One Coin!
Maiko Dance Performance Every Sundays
Meet and Chat with Maiko on Weekends & National HolidaysKawadoko Dinner with Maiko
Maiko Dancing Movie (Gion Higashi Kouta Music)
Funaoka Onsen, Special Public Bath
Kurama Onsen, Houroku-yu
Plum Festival at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
Higashiyama Hana Touro Illumination
Kiyomizu Temple, Blue Dragon Dancing
Yabusame-Shinji (Archery on Horseback)
Aoi Festival Parade
Iris/Azalea Viewing
Bonfires, Daimonji Yaki Festival
Ancient Princess Parade (at Arashiyama)
Arashiyama Hana Touro Illumination
Spring Sakura (Cherry Blossom)
Hirano Shrine
Daigoji Temple
Omuro Ninna-ji (World Heritage)
Winter Special
Public Viewing 2009 (Toji, Chionin etc...)
Night Light-Up
What is Autumn Colors
Shoren-in Temple Night Illumination
Try "Omikuji" ! Enjoy reading your fortune

Okonomiyaki in Kyoto

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