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.2150 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.1321 views
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1046 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.980 views
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Geiko and maiko in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo theater937 views
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女890 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.793 views
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"Nanohanaya"761 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦743 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. 22.732 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦676 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や670 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.661 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女652 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ636 views
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Karyobinga 迦陵頻伽629 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ622 viewsThis is a maiko.
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Sakamoto Ryoma 坂本龍馬618 views
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Maiko and geisha can often be seen in Gion.603 views
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For more info, see miyako-odori.jp in English or call 075-541-3391.561 views
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Part 2: Passing of Spring in Kyoto, "Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や548 viewsPart 2 of the program consists of dance numbers.
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ515 views
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Maiko poses in front of the Naginata-boko float across the street in Kyoto511 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ506 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)469 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.439 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)434 views腰輿(およよ)
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.407 views騎女
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ390 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."385 views
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Ninomaru Palace entrance, National Treasure 二之丸御殿384 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.349 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. 336 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.331 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.328 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.327 views
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Kameyama Castle322 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, 2010.317 views
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Kawaii!!309 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.307 views
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Turning the hoko float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.301 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.292 views
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These men are descendants of the original archers who protected Emperor Kammu. 弓箭組列291 views
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Cherry Dance, Kyoto.290 views
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Kyoto geiko and maiko at their best for the finale.286 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代273 views
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Model of Kyoto Imperial Palace.273 views
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PR poster for the Kamogawa Odori geisha dance held during May 1-24 in Pontocho.267 views
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Path to Kiyomizu-dera is a slope lined with souvenir shops, a tourist trap.264 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 2012.264 views
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Yoshino Tayu, a high-ranking geiko entertainer. 吉野太夫262 views1 comments
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Scale model of the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.262 views
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Miyako Odori, Kyoto259 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249 views
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We were right near the hanamichi where the geisha performed.245 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.244 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244 views長刀鉾
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Inside the theater, waiting for the start of the 168th Kamogawa Odori (in 2005) to start.239 views
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Flower umbrella235 views
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"Miyako Odori" poster in English.234 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater233 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231 viewsThe first half is a musical play with a storyline.
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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.225 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater as seen from Kamogawa River.224 views
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High-ranking lady of the court223 views
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Entrance to Pontocho Kaburenjo theater. You can buy tickets for the day's performance.221 views
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Taro's Shack221 views
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A hanamichi is also on the left side of the theater.219 views
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Most take the train from Arashiyama, then ride the boat back.217 views
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End of show, see you next year in May!214 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.213 views
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Way to Kyoto Ebisu Shrine during Toka Ebisu as seen from Shijo.213 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.211 views
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Kamogawa River next to the theater.209 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘207 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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Otsukaiban is a Meiji government administrator serving as an inspector. 御使番207 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater, venue for Kamogawa Odori.206 views
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Pontocho is a narrow alley and known as a geisha district.200 views
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Karamon Gate, Important Cultural Property. 唐門197 views
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Castle map193 views
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Note that taking pictures and videos are not allowed.193 views
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The wooden wheels creak like they did centuries ago.192 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.189 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や186 views
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More signposts reading "Miyako Odori." "Miyako" means capital (Kyoto was once Japan's capital city), and "Odori" means dance.185 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻184 viewsThe procession, called Roto-no-Gi (路頭の儀), is actually one of three rites performed during the festival.
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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.184 viewsThis is at the starting point of the Yamahoko Junko procession on July 17.
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Torokko train at Arashiyama for Hozu Gorge183 views
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Kameoka Station183 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.181 views
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Ninomaru Garden180 views
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Juni-hitoe kimono worn by the empress.180 views
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Long line for the bus stop.179 views
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斎王代178 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女177 viewsThey escort the Saio-dai Princess.
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The cherry dance consists of several acts each with a different dance or play.176 views
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Ichiriki, a famous geisha tea house.174 views
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End of the gorge173 views
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Honmaru Palace as seen from the castle tower foundation171 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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Geisha in my midst, in a taxi instead of a rickshaw.171 views
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Flower umbrella170 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Mother scolds the daughter for the scuffle with Taro.169 views
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Everyone is dressed in Heian-Period (794-1185) costumes.169 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169 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.169 views
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Kiyomizu-dera temple on wooden stilts. Kiyomizu-dera belongs to its own independent Buddhist sect.169 views
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Palace entrance roof168 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ168 views
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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.165 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦164 views
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Magistrate's House164 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代163 views
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Saio-dai Princess riding on a special palanquin called Oyoyo. 斎王代 腰輿(およよ)163 views腰輿(およよ)
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Tonan-sumi Turret from the street162 views
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All finish162 views
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Site of Ryukoku Museum across from Nishi Hongwanji.162 views
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"Irises" 菖蒲161 views
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Hollyhock (aoi) leaves 葵161 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.159 views騎女
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Over 500 people in the procession walk along the 8-kilometer route.157 viewsThere's a lunch break at around noon at Shimogamo Shrine.
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻156 views
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Kiyomizu-dera is the 16th temple in the Saigoku Western Japan pilgrimage circuit. The Hondo main hall dates from 1633.156 views
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"Nanohanaya"155 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人155 views
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Huge crowd155 views
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Visitors watch and hum along with the Lake Biwa Rowing music video on an iPad.155 views
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The procession's highest-ranking official called Chokushi. An Imperial Messenger. The horse is highly decorated. 勅使154 views
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Stone foundation153 views
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"Miyako Odori" poster and paper lantern.153 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.152 views騎女
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Pulling a float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.152 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 724.152 views
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Minami-mon (South) Gate 南門151 views
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The Heian Period was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan where the Emperor resided.151 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. They escort the Saio-dai Princess.151 views騎女
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The bull was mooing all the time and was very restless.150 viewsDo bulls moo or do they snort? This was making a loud noise.
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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.150 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓149 views
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Ogre posing149 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.149 views
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PR posters and paper lanterns for the Miyako Odori are everywhere.149 views
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Ninomaru Higashi Otemon Gate (Main entrance), Important Cultural Property 二之丸東大手門148 views
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East Bridge to Honmaru and Honmaru Yagura-mon Gate148 views
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"Heian" comes from "Heian-kyo," the former name of Kyoto city.148 views
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Barrels of sake next to the theater.148 views
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Musician called baiju. There are seven of them wearing the same wardrobe. 陪従148 views
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A play148 views
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"Irises" 菖蒲 She rises from beneath the stage.147 views
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Ninomaru Kita Otemon Gate146 viewsImportant Cultural Property

二之丸北大手門
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓145 views
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Honmaru Palace145 viewsImportant Cultural Property

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Ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. 下鴨神社144 viewsThe public is not allowed to see the ceremony within the shrine.
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Taro has a scuffle with the daughter and breaks her koto instrument.144 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ144 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144 views検非違使尉
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Honmaru Palace143 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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Pagoda and maiko143 views
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Goeido Founder's Hall143 views1 comments
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Way to Shimogamo Shrine.142 views
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Ninomaru Palace, National Treasure 二之丸御殿141 views
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"Irises" are in full bloom. 菖蒲141 views
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A real crowd pleaser. Thanks for posing!141 views
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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.140 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!140 views
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Climax with cherry blossom motif.140 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden. National Treasure139 views
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Naginata float at night139 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.138 views
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Taro overhears the Lord's daughter trying to compose a poem.138 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓137 views
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Ogre on the train137 views
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"Irises" She holds an iris flower. She just took a bath with iris leaves. 菖蒲137 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret, Important Cultural Property 東南隅櫓136 views
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Hozu Gorge136 views
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10:30 am: Starting point at Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace 京都御所 出発136 viewsThe procession is ready to depart.
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Ninomaru Garden135 views
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Entrance to Omoto-kyo HQ and former castle grounds135 views
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Main stage at front.135 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135 views
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Hozu River134 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.134 views
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Following the Saio-dai Princess are more high-ranking ladies of the court.134 views
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Dance program for 2005.134 views
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Taro gets to marry the lord's daughter.134 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ134 views
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Shooting the rapids133 views
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Finale: Throwing hand towels133 views
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Top of castle tower foundation132 views天守閣跡
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Warehouse wall132 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.132 views賀茂祭
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Maiko pose132 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden.131 views
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Moat between Ninomaru (left) and Honmaru (right)131 viewsEast Bridge in the distance.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女130 views
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Autumn130 views
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Wedding attire of the empress wearing juni-hitoe kimono, and the emperor wearing sokutai. 129 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.129 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).129 views
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Naginata float at night127 views
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Taro helps her compose her poem.126 views
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It turns out that Taro was a grandson of the Emperor.126 views
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Guard house124 views
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