Most viewed - KYOTO 京都府
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A geisha/geiko and maiko head to the theater to see the Kamogawa Odori. Notice the different obi sash on the back.2137 viewsA maiko is an apprentice geisha. Her obi sah on the back is long, as well as her sleeves.
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Also watch my Karuta hajime video here.1317 views
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1036 views
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Video of our group photo exhibition at Kyoto International Community House during Nov. 16-20, 2011. Seven artists exhibited: Micah Gampel, Peter Macintosh, Motoyasu "Musashi" Matsutani. We talk about our work in this 25-min. vid.975 views
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Geiko and maiko in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo theater923 views
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女871 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.782 views
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"Nanohanaya"752 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦731 views
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One of Kyoto's Big Three Festivals, 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. 22.724 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦666 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や660 views
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These dance photos were taken in April 2002. Note that taking pictures and videos of the dance are no longer allowed.649 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女642 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ625 views
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Karyobinga 迦陵頻伽623 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ613 viewsThis is a maiko.
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Sakamoto Ryoma 坂本龍馬612 views
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Maiko and geisha can often be seen in Gion.594 views
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For more info, see miyako-odori.jp in English or call 075-541-3391.550 views
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Part 2: Passing of Spring in Kyoto, "Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や539 viewsPart 2 of the program consists of dance numbers.
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ505 views
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Maiko poses in front of the Naginata-boko float across the street in Kyoto500 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ497 views
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The Saio-dai Princess in 2005 was Saito Ayako, a 21-year-old Kyoto native and student at Doshisha Univ. Her 12-layer juni-hitoe kimono weighs 30 kg. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん(21)454 viewsThe Saio-dai Princess is selected every year in April and a press conference is held to announce who was chosen. She is always a native of Kyoto, single, and in her early 20s. The Saio-dai was first incorporated in the festival in 1956. In 2005, she is the 50th Saio-dai.

Read more about here.
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From the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the procession proceeds on main roads to Heian Shrine.433 views
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She wears a juni-hitoe kimono and rides in a carriage called Oyoyo. 斎王代、齋藤彩子さん (21)423 views腰輿(およよ)
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.403 views騎女
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ379 views
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Entrance to the road leading to the Cherry Dance theater (Gion Kobu Kaburenjo) in the Gion district. The sign says "Miyako Odori."379 views
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Ninomaru Palace entrance, National Treasure 二之丸御殿370 views
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The Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) was the emperor's residence from the 14th century to 19th century. This is the main path to the palace where major festivals such as the Aoi Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri are held.346 views
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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. 331 viewsKyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所: The first ox carriage waits for the procession to start. The ox carriage is called a gissha. 牛車
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Map and about the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.323 views
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Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is near this JR Inari Station on the Nara Line, a 10-min. train ride from Kyoto Station.323 views
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The procession basically consists of two columns: The Hon-retsu which includes the procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. It consists of men. The second and longer column is the Saio-dai-retsu consisting of women.318 views
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Approaching Nishi Hongwanji, the headquarters temple of the Jodo Shinshu Sect (Hongwanji school) in Kyoto. A short walk from Kyoto Station. This is New Year's Day, Jan 1, 2010.314 views
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Kameyama Castle310 views
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Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto on Jan. 3, 2011. Still hordes of people going to worship for New Year's hatsumode.302 views
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Kawaii!!296 views
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Turning the hoko float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.290 views
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These men are descendants of the original archers who protected Emperor Kammu. 弓箭組列286 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.283 views
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Kyoto geiko and maiko at their best for the finale.280 views
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Cherry Dance, Kyoto.279 views
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Model of Kyoto Imperial Palace.270 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代263 views
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These portraits come from a larger exhibition at the Oyako Gallery in JR Maibara Station in northern Shiga Prefecture until March 2012.261 views
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PR poster for the Kamogawa Odori geisha dance held during May 1-24 in Pontocho.260 views
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Path to Kiyomizu-dera is a slope lined with souvenir shops, a tourist trap.260 views
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Scale model of the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.259 views
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Yoshino Tayu, a high-ranking geiko entertainer. 吉野太夫257 views1 comments
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Miyako Odori, Kyoto248 views
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We were right near the hanamichi where the geisha performed.241 views
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Hiunkaku Pavilion is a National Treasure. Unfortunately, it is not open for public viewing. One of Kyoto's Three Best Pavilions along with Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji Pavilions. 飛雲閣238 views
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Inside the theater, waiting for the start of the 168th Kamogawa Odori (in 2005) to start.236 views
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Naginata Hoko and chigo child 稚児235 views長刀鉾
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Nijo-jo castle was built on the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu to serve as the Kyoto residence for the Tokugawa shoguns. Although it does not have a castle tower, Nijo-jo Castle is Japan's best preserved and most magnificent castle palace.234 viewsSeinan-sumi (Southwest corner) Turret is the first castle building you see when you walk from the station. Important Cultural Property 西南隅櫓
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"Miyako Odori" poster in English.229 views
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Part 1 Monogusa Soshi: Taro's Shack. Lazy Taro does nothing but compose poems all day in his shack. 物ぐさ草紙 太郎の小屋228 viewsThe first half is a musical play with a storyline.
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Flower umbrella226 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater226 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater as seen from Kamogawa River.221 views
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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.220 views
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High-ranking lady of the court218 views
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Entrance to Pontocho Kaburenjo theater. You can buy tickets for the day's performance.218 views
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Taro's Shack217 views
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A hanamichi is also on the left side of the theater.215 views
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Most take the train from Arashiyama, then ride the boat back.212 views
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End of show, see you next year in May!211 views
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Way to Kyoto Ebisu Shrine during Toka Ebisu as seen from Shijo.210 views
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Line at the bus stop. The buses did not come so frequently. So I just walked back to the nearest subway station.208 views
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Kamogawa River next to the theater.206 views
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3D map of Kyoto Imperial Palace and the route we were allowed to take. For this special occasion of Emperor Akihito's 20th anniversary, we were also allowed to tour the northern palace quarters which is normally closed to the public.205 views
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Otsukaiban is a Meiji government administrator serving as an inspector. 御使番201 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater, venue for Kamogawa Odori.199 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘197 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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Pontocho is a narrow alley and known as a geisha district.193 views
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Karamon Gate, Important Cultural Property. 唐門191 views
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Note that taking pictures and videos are not allowed.188 views
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Castle map187 views
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.186 views
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The eighth and last corkboard panel showed photos of various rowing clubs rowing around Lake Biwa. Imazu Jr. High Rowing Club, Kyoto University Rowing Club, and a FISA tour.184 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や183 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻180 viewsThe procession, called Roto-no-Gi (路頭の儀), is actually one of three rites performed during the festival.
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More signposts reading "Miyako Odori." "Miyako" means capital (Kyoto was once Japan's capital city), and "Odori" means dance.179 views
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Torokko train at Arashiyama for Hozu Gorge178 views
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Kameoka Station178 views
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Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater. Ticket office is on the right. Best to buy tickets at least a few days in advance.177 views
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Gion Matsuri is one of Japan's grandest festivals. Held annually in July, the festival's climax is on the 17th and 24th when giant, wooden-wheeled floats are pulled through the streets.176 viewsThis is at the starting point of the Yamahoko Junko procession on July 17.
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Juni-hitoe kimono worn by the empress.176 views
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Long line for the bus stop.175 views
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Ninomaru Garden174 views
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斎王代174 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女172 viewsThey escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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The cherry dance consists of several acts each with a different dance or play.172 views
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Ichiriki, a famous geisha tea house.170 views
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End of the gorge168 views
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Mother scolds the daughter for the scuffle with Taro.165 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ165 views
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.165 views
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No. 4 official of the old police force and court justice called Kebiishi-no-sakan 検非違使志165 views検非違使志
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Gate to Kobu Kaburenjo Theater. Four shows daily in April, lasting about 1 hour (too short). Ticket prices range from 1900 yen to 4300 yen.165 views
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Palace entrance roof163 views
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Honmaru Palace as seen from the castle tower foundation163 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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Flower umbrella162 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Magistrate's House161 views
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Kiyomizu-dera temple on wooden stilts. Kiyomizu-dera belongs to its own independent Buddhist sect.161 views
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Geisha in my midst, in a taxi instead of a rickshaw.161 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代159 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦159 views
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)159 views腰輿(およよ)
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All finish158 views
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"Irises" 菖蒲158 views
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Site of Ryukoku Museum across from Nishi Hongwanji.158 views
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Tonan-sumi Turret from the street156 views
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.156 views
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵155 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.154 views騎女
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.153 viewsThere's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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"Nanohanaya"152 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻152 views
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Huge crowd152 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人151 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使150 views
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Visitors watch and hum along with the Lake Biwa Rowing music video on an iPad.150 views
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"Miyako Odori" poster and paper lantern.149 views
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Stone foundation148 views
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Kiyomizu-dera is the 16th temple in the Saigoku Western Japan pilgrimage circuit. The Hondo main hall dates from 1633.148 views
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.147 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.147 views騎女
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Verse 4. From Imazu, the boys rowed across the lake and most likely took a break at Chikubushima island in the middle of northern Lake Biwa. It has been a sacred island for centuries with Hogonji Buddhist temple (宝厳寺) first built in 724.147 views
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.146 viewsDo bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.146 views騎女
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Gate to Kobu Kaburenjo Theater. You can make ticket reservations by phone, or go directly to the theater ticket office and buy tickets.146 views
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"Irises" 菖蒲 She rises from beneath the stage.145 views
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"Miyako Odori" sign post. Performed for over a century, the dance makes April a very special time in Kyoto. It helps to hone the dance and musical skills of the geiko and maiko who diligently practice for this annual dance.145 views
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PR posters and paper lanterns for the Miyako Odori are everywhere.145 views
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Minami-mon (South) Gate 南門144 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓144 views
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Ogre posing144 views
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.144 views
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従144 views
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Pulling a float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.142 views
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A play142 views
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Taro has a scuffle with the daughter and breaks her koto instrument.141 views
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Ninomaru Higashi Otemon Gate (Main entrance), Important Cultural Property 二之丸東大手門140 views
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East Bridge to Honmaru and Honmaru Yagura-mon Gate140 views
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社140 viewsThe public is not allowed to see the ceremony within the shrine.
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Barrels of sake next to the theater.140 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ140 views
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No. 3 official of the old police force and court justice called Kebiishi-no-jo 検非違使尉140 views検非違使尉
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Pagoda and maiko140 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓139 views
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"Irises" are in full bloom. 菖蒲139 views
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Honmaru Palace138 viewsImportant Cultural Property

本丸御殿
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Way to Shimogamo Shrine.138 views
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Ninomaru Kita Otemon Gate137 viewsImportant Cultural Property

二之丸北大手門
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Honmaru Palace137 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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The Saio-dai Princess is the main figure of the procession. She represents the Imperial princess who worked at the Kamo Shrine and served in the Aoi Festival during the Heian Period.136 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!136 views
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A real crowd pleaser. Thanks for posing!136 views
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Naginata float at night136 views
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Ninomaru Palace, National Treasure 二之丸御殿135 views
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Taro overhears the Lord's daughter trying to compose a poem.135 views
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Climax with cherry blossom motif.135 views
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Goeido Founder's Hall135 views1 comments
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden. National Treasure133 views
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"Irises" She holds an iris flower. She just took a bath with iris leaves. 菖蒲133 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓132 views
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Kameyama Castle is now headquarters to a religion called Omoto-kyo which acquired the castle property in 1919. Only stone walls and moats remain.Statue of shachihoko.132 views
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Ogre on the train132 views
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発132 viewsThe procession is ready to depart.
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret, Important Cultural Property 東南隅櫓131 views
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Hozu Gorge131 views
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Taro gets to marry the lord's daughter.131 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ131 views
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Main stage at front.131 views
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Ninomaru Garden130 views
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Entrance to Omoto-kyo HQ and former castle grounds130 views
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Hozu River130 views
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The Aoi Matsuri started in the early Heian Period in the 8th century as a national or state-sponsored event.130 views
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.130 views
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Finale: Throwing hand towels130 views
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Maiko pose129 views
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Shooting the rapids128 views
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The Aoi Matsuri (Festival) used to be called Kamo-sai, after the name of the two shrines which hold the festival.128 views賀茂祭
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Inside the Goeido Hall. You have to take off your shoes to enter. This was on Jan. 1, 2010. 御影堂128 views
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Dance program for 2005.127 views
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Top of castle tower foundation126 views天守閣跡
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Warehouse wall126 views
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Autumn126 views
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Wedding attire of the empress wearing juni-hitoe kimono, and the emperor wearing sokutai. 126 views
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Next to the geisha photos was Philbert Ono's cove of photos introducing the Lake Biwa Rowing Song (Biwako Shuko no Uta).126 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden.125 views
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Moat between Ninomaru (left) and Honmaru (right)125 viewsEast Bridge in the distance.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女125 views
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Naginata float at night124 views
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Even while sitting in the 3rd row, I managed to get some decent shots in between the heads (and cameras) of people sitting in front of me.124 views
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Taro helps her compose her poem.123 views
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It turns out that Taro was a grandson of the Emperor.123 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ121 views
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