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.2135 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.1315 views
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1033 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.974 views
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Geiko and maiko in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo theater921 views
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女866 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.773 views
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"Nanohanaya"748 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦727 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. 22.723 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦662 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や658 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.646 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女638 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ622 views
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Karyobinga 迦陵頻伽622 views
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Sakamoto Ryoma 坂本龍馬611 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ610 viewsThis is a maiko.
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Maiko and geisha can often be seen in Gion.591 views
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For more info, see miyako-odori.jp in English or call 075-541-3391.547 views
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Part 2: Passing of Spring in Kyoto, "Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や537 viewsPart 2 of the program consists of dance numbers.
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520 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ503 views
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Maiko poses in front of the Naginata-boko float across the street in Kyoto496 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ495 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)443 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.432 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)420 views腰輿(およよ)
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.401 views騎女
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ377 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."377 views
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Ninomaru Palace entrance, National Treasure 二之丸御殿367 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.345 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. 329 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.322 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.321 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.313 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, 2010.313 views
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Kameyama Castle308 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.300 views
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Turning the hoko float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.286 views
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These men are descendants of the original archers who protected Emperor Kammu. 弓箭組列285 views
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Kawaii!!282 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.280 views
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Kyoto geiko and maiko at their best for the finale.278 views
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Cherry Dance, Kyoto.276 views
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Model of Kyoto Imperial Palace.269 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代260 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 2012.260 views
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PR poster for the Kamogawa Odori geisha dance held during May 1-24 in Pontocho.259 views
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Path to Kiyomizu-dera is a slope lined with souvenir shops, a tourist trap.258 views
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Scale model of the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.258 views
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Yoshino Tayu, a high-ranking geiko entertainer. 吉野太夫254 views1 comments
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Miyako Odori, Kyoto245 views
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We were right near the hanamichi where the geisha performed.239 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236 views
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Inside the theater, waiting for the start of the 168th Kamogawa Odori (in 2005) to start.235 views
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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.232 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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Naginata Hoko and chigo child 稚児230 views長刀鉾
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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227 viewsThe first half is a musical play with a storyline.
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"Miyako Odori" poster in English.227 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater225 views
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Flower umbrella223 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater as seen from Kamogawa River.220 views
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Entrance to Pontocho Kaburenjo theater. You can buy tickets for the day's performance.217 views
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High-ranking lady of the court216 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.216 views
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Taro's Shack215 views
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A hanamichi is also on the left side of the theater.213 views
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Most take the train from Arashiyama, then ride the boat back.211 views
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End of show, see you next year in May!210 views
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Way to Kyoto Ebisu Shrine during Toka Ebisu as seen from Shijo.209 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.206 views
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Kamogawa River next to the theater.205 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.204 views
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Otsukaiban is a Meiji government administrator serving as an inspector. 御使番200 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater, venue for Kamogawa Odori.198 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘194 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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Pontocho is a narrow alley and known as a geisha district.192 views
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Karamon Gate, Important Cultural Property. 唐門189 views
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Note that taking pictures and videos are not allowed.186 views
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Castle map185 views
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.183 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.183 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や182 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻178 viewsThe procession, called Roto-no-Gi (路頭の儀), is actually one of three rites performed during the festival.
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Torokko train at Arashiyama for Hozu Gorge177 views
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More signposts reading "Miyako Odori." "Miyako" means capital (Kyoto was once Japan's capital city), and "Odori" means dance.177 views
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Kameoka Station176 views
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Juni-hitoe kimono worn by the empress.175 views
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Long line for the bus stop.173 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.173 views
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Ninomaru Garden172 views
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斎王代172 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女170 viewsThey escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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The cherry dance consists of several acts each with a different dance or play.170 views
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Ichiriki, a famous geisha tea house.168 views
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End of the gorge167 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.165 viewsThis is at the starting point of the Yamahoko Junko procession on July 17.
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Mother scolds the daughter for the scuffle with Taro.164 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ164 views
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.163 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163 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.163 views
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Palace entrance roof161 views
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Honmaru Palace as seen from the castle tower foundation161 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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Magistrate's House160 views
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Flower umbrella159 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Geisha in my midst, in a taxi instead of a rickshaw.159 views
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Kiyomizu-dera temple on wooden stilts. Kiyomizu-dera belongs to its own independent Buddhist sect.158 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代157 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦157 views
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)157 views腰輿(およよ)
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"Irises" 菖蒲157 views
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Site of Ryukoku Museum across from Nishi Hongwanji.157 views
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All finish156 views
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Tonan-sumi Turret from the street154 views
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.153 views
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵153 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.152 views騎女
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.151 viewsThere's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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"Nanohanaya"151 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻150 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人149 views
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Huge crowd149 views
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Visitors watch and hum along with the Lake Biwa Rowing music video on an iPad.149 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使148 views
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Stone foundation147 views
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"Miyako Odori" poster and paper lantern.147 views
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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 724.146 views
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.145 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.145 views騎女
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Kiyomizu-dera is the 16th temple in the Saigoku Western Japan pilgrimage circuit. The Hondo main hall dates from 1633.145 views
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.144 viewsDo bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.144 views騎女
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"Irises" 菖蒲 She rises from beneath the stage.144 views
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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.144 views
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Ogre posing143 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.143 views
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PR posters and paper lanterns for the Miyako Odori are everywhere.143 views
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Minami-mon (South) Gate 南門142 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓142 views
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.142 views
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従142 views
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Taro has a scuffle with the daughter and breaks her koto instrument.140 views
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A play140 views
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Barrels of sake next to the theater.139 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ139 views
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Pulling a float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.139 views
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Pagoda and maiko139 views
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Ninomaru Higashi Otemon Gate (Main entrance), Important Cultural Property 二之丸東大手門138 views
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East Bridge to Honmaru and Honmaru Yagura-mon Gate138 views
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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社138 viewsThe public is not allowed to see the ceremony within the shrine.
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"Irises" are in full bloom. 菖蒲138 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138 views検非違使尉
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓137 views
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Way to Shimogamo Shrine.137 views
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Honmaru Palace136 viewsImportant Cultural Property

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Ninomaru Kita Otemon Gate135 viewsImportant Cultural Property

二之丸北大手門
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Honmaru Palace135 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.134 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!134 views
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Taro overhears the Lord's daughter trying to compose a poem.134 views
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Naginata float at night134 views
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Ninomaru Palace, National Treasure 二之丸御殿133 views
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Climax with cherry blossom motif.133 views
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Goeido Founder's Hall133 views1 comments
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"Irises" She holds an iris flower. She just took a bath with iris leaves. 菖蒲132 views
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A real crowd pleaser. Thanks for posing!132 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden. National Treasure131 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.131 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓130 views
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Hozu Gorge130 views
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Ogre on the train130 views
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発130 viewsThe procession is ready to depart.
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Taro gets to marry the lord's daughter.130 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ130 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret, Important Cultural Property 東南隅櫓129 views
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Entrance to Omoto-kyo HQ and former castle grounds129 views
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Hozu River129 views
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Finale: Throwing hand towels129 views
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Main stage at front.129 views
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Ninomaru Garden128 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.128 views
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.128 views
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Shooting the rapids127 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.126 views賀茂祭
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Dance program for 2005.126 views
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Maiko pose126 views
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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126 views
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Wedding attire of the empress wearing juni-hitoe kimono, and the emperor wearing sokutai. 125 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).125 views
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Top of castle tower foundation124 views天守閣跡
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Warehouse wall124 views
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Autumn124 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden.123 views
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Moat between Ninomaru (left) and Honmaru (right)123 viewsEast Bridge in the distance.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女123 views
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Taro helps her compose her poem.122 views
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It turns out that Taro was a grandson of the Emperor.122 views
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Naginata float at night122 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.122 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ120 views
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Kyoto Station119 views
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