Miyako Odori Cherry Dance 都をどり


Kyoto's most famous geisha dance is held during the entire month of April at the Kobu Kaburenjo Theater in the Gion district. Since 1873, the show has delighted generations of Japanese and foreigners. Photography is not allowed. For more info, see miyako-odori.jp in English or call 075-541-3391.

58 files, last one added on Mar 28, 2010
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Kamogawa Odori Geisha Dance 鴨川をどり


The Kamogawa Odori dance is performed during the month of May by geisha and geiko in the Pontocho district which straddles the Kamogawa River.

64 files, last one added on Apr 21, 2006
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Aoi Matsuri Festival 葵祭


One of Kyoto's Big Three Festivals held on May 15. The Aoi Matsuri's colorful procession of over 500 people in Heian-Period costumes start off at the Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace and head for the Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines. These photos were taken in 2005. Also see the video at YouTube.

142 files, last one added on Apr 21, 2006
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Kyoto Jidai Matsuri Festival 京都時代祭


One of Kyoto's Big Three Festivals and perhaps Japan's grandest costume parade, the Kyoto Jidai Matsuri is a procession of over 2,000 people dressed in wardrobe reflecting Kyoto's historical periods from 794 to 1868 during which Kyoto was Japan's capital. Held annually on Oct. 22 by Heian Jingu Shrine. The festival commemorates the day when Japan's capital was moved to Kyoto in 794. These photos were taken on Oct. 22, 2009.

231 files, last one added on Nov 07, 2009
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Gion Matsuri Yoiyama 祇園祭 宵山


On July 16, the night before the Gion Matsuri Yamaboko Junko parade of floats, the Yoiyama display of floats lit up at night attract huge crowds in central Kyoto. You can also enter some of the grand floats. And a special treat is that private residences in the old kimono merchant district open up their entryways to show folding screens, kimono, and other treasures.

68 files, last one added on Oct 14, 2007
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Gion Matsuri Festival, Saki Matsuri 祇園祭・前祭


Kyoto's second Big Three Festival and one of Japan's Big Three Festivals. This Gion Matsuri is also Japan's grandest festival of floats. Held annually in July, the festival's climax is on the 17th when giant, wooden-wheeled floats are pulled through the streets for the Saki Matsuri Yama-hoko Procession. Also see the video at YouTube.

60 files, last one added on Aug 03, 2014
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Gion Matsuri Festival, Ato Matsuri 祇園祭・後祭


On July 24, a week after Gion Matsuri's main yama-hoko procession on the 17th, another grand float procession is held with 10 yama-hoko floats. The parade route goes in the reverse direction of the 17th. Also see the video at YouTube.

57 files, last one added on Aug 03, 2014
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Kyoto Temples and Shrines 京都の寺院と神社


Kyoto has many notable temples and shrines including Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkakuji Gold Pavilion, Yasaka Shrine, Higashi Hongwanji, and Sanjusangendo.

76 files, last one added on Mar 28, 2010
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Nishi Hongwanji Temple 西本願寺


Headquarters temple of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Buddhist sect. Part of a World Heritage Site and home to a few National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.

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Kyoto Imperial Palace 京都御所


The residence of the emperor from the 14th century to 1869 when Emperor Meiji moved to Tokyo. For the 20th anniversary of Emperor Akihito's enthronement in 1989, they held a special open house during Nov. 1-10, 2009 when we got to see buildings and areas normally closed to the public. The palace consists of numerous notable buildings.

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Nijo Castle 二条城


Although it does not have a castle tower, Nijo-jo Castle is Japan's best preserved and most magnificent castle palace. Built on the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu to serve as the Kyoto residence for the Tokugawa shoguns. The interior is full of paintings (unfortunately photography is not allowed inside). A National Treasure.

37 files, last one added on Jan 21, 2006
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Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine 伏見稲荷大社


The headquarters shrine of all Inari shrines in Japan, this grand shrine is famous for its numerous torii gates along a mountain trail. This is also Kyoto's most popular shrine on New Year's Day, when I visited on Jan. 1, 2010.

91 files, last one added on Jan 30, 2010
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Yasaka Shrine Karuta Hajime 八坂神社 かるた始め式


Held every Jan. 3, Karuta Hajime is the year's first karuta card game. Karuta players from the Nihon Karuta-in Hon-in organization in Kyoto play on Yasaka Shrine's Noh stage for about an hour from 1 pm. They are dressed in colorful Heian-Period costumes. Also see my video at YouTube.

83 files, last one added on Jan 07, 2011
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Kemari Hajime at Shimogamo Shrine 下鴨神社 蹴鞠初め


Held annually on Jan. 4 at Shimogamo Shrine, Kemari Hajime is a ceremonial and Imperial court-era game of people in a circle kicking a soft, white ball called kemari. Originating in China, it goes back to the Heian Period (794-1185) in Japan. Also see my YouTube video here.

41 files, last one added on Feb 04, 2010
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Kyoto Ebisu Jinja Shrine Toka Ebisu 京都ゑびす神社


Originally established in 1202, Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is one of Japan's three biggest Ebisu shrines. The biggest festival of the year is Toka Ebisu, a festival to pray for good business held on Jan. 9-11 (centering on the 10th). The shrine is dedicated to Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, representing business prosperity. These photos were taken on Jan. 10, 2009.

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Other Sights


Other sights in Kyoto city including the Manga Museum.

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Kyoto International Photo Showcase 2011


I organized a group photo exhibition at Kyoto International Community House in Kyoto, Japan during Nov. 16-20, 2011. Seven artists exhibited: Micah Gampel, Peter Macintosh, Motoyasu "Musashi" Matsutani, Peter Miller, Bruce Osborn, John Wells, and I, Philbert Ono. The exhibition theme was "Home Sweet Hometown" (Furukiyoki Furusato).

76 files, last one added on Nov 28, 2011
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