Saturday, May 22, 2010

Aoi Matsuri Festival (Part 3)

Beautiful costumes from Heian era (794~1185).

"Waraji" shoes made of straw rope are very pretty.

Outstanding costume!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aoi Matsuri Festival (Part 2)

There are 49 females in procession of 511 people.

And a road-sweeper follows horses...

Aoi Matsuri Festival (Part 1)

Aoi Matsuri is one of the three biggest festivals in Kyoto and takes place on May 15th. The main attraction is a procession of 511 people in Japanese ancient court costumes, decorated with hollyhock leaves. (Aoi = hollyhock)

The procession starts at 10:30AM from Kyoto Imperial Palace and goes to Shimogamo Shrine, and to Kamigamo Shrine.

I arrived at Imperial Palace at 9AM to secure the place. And I took almost 200 photos!

The front of the procession are mounted policemen of Kyoto.

This may be a "Dosanko" horse, a native to Hokkaido.

Everybody has hollyhock leaves on their costumes.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Festival @ Ichihime Shrine

While it snowed in Northern Japan yesterday, it was cold in Kyoto. But the calendar is spring, and I went out to observe the Spring Festival at the Ichihime Shrine in Kawaramachi Gojo.

This shrine is dedicated to the god of business and also the god who protects women from evil.

After the priest's congratulatory address, "Bow and Arrow" divine service was offered.

In Kyoto, we can find Maiko girls among attendance once in a while. I was lucky!

Her Kanzashi (hair ornament) was a flower of May "Iris."

And her purse with green apple print is from Kyoto's traditional textile company "RAAK."

There were not many visitors. It was a small and very elegant festival.

Liyon Sweets

The Daimaru Department Store (basement floor) is selling "Liyon Sweets" until May 18.

"Liyon" is the MBS Mainichi TV, 4 channel's Lion mascot. "Yon" is "4" in Japanese. That's why the mascot's name is "Liyon."

He is a cute character with a voice of an old man.

Liyon is drawn on sponge cakes and crapes, and they look too cute to eat.

So, I bought a couple of puddings. Plus, I can keep these cute jars.

Liyon sweets are made by the very famous confectionery shop "Dojima Sweets."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kyoto Burger "Ikkoku"

Kyoto Burger 'Ikkoku" is located in San-Nen Zaka near Kiyomizu Temple.

Inside of the shop is small and cozy with 12 tables, and sometimes it's very crowded and is hard to get seated, but you can get take-out too.

Their special "Kyoto Burger" is 750 yen: a domestic beef patty, traditional vegetables of Kyoto, and nama-fu (wheat gluten) with white miso sauce, and green tea buns! A set of French fries and drink is 250 yen.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Noodle Shop "Benkei"

"Benkei" of Gojo Keihan is my favorite noodle restaurant. Lots of celebrities' autographs are displayed on the wall of the shop.

Beef curry noodle is 900 yen, and rice mixed with vegetable is 190 yen. Curry is not too spicy, not too mild. Just right!

The "Benkei noodle" has beef, deep fried tofu, and burdock (900 yen). The balance of sweet and salty beef and tofu, and very spicy and crunchy burdock was just right also!!

The restaurant is open from 12 noon till 3 AM. (Sunday is closed.)

In the meantime, Benkei and Ushiwakamaru are Japan's favorite subjects of folklore, and there are statues of "Benkei" and "Ushiwakamaru" on Gojo Bridge.

Newly Opened "Urban Research"

"Urban Research" is one of the biggest fashion shops in Japan and the Kyoto branch is on Teramachi Dori Avenue. The store was renewed last year and the basement floor is the display area for unique items done by designers. It's really fun to look around.

How about Daruma vase as Mother's Day gift?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Gozan (=Five Mountains) Bonfire Festival

Gozan Bonfire Festival is a famous summer event in Kyoto. Five large bonfires are lit on the slopes of five mountains, starting around 8PM on August 16th.

Most well-known bonfire is on Mt. Daimonji, and you can see the huge Chinese character "dai (meaning large)" from everywhere in Sakyo Ward.

View from Takenaka Inari Taisha Shrine

View from the top of Mt. Yoshida

I viewed the Daimonji bonfire from Kiyomizu Temple last year, but I'd like to view all of five this year.