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.2142 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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1042 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.977 views
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Geiko and maiko in front of Pontocho Kaburenjo theater929 views
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Court ladies called uneme. Their kimono have a blue wave design. 釆女877 views釆女
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna.787 views
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"Nanohanaya"757 views
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Court ladies called myobu. 命婦736 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. 22.727 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦670 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や666 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.654 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女646 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ631 views
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Karyobinga 迦陵頻伽624 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ618 viewsThis is a maiko.
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Sakamoto Ryoma 坂本龍馬613 views
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Maiko and geisha can often be seen in Gion.597 views
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For more info, see miyako-odori.jp in English or call 075-541-3391.555 views
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Part 2: Passing of Spring in Kyoto, "Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や544 viewsPart 2 of the program consists of dance numbers.
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528 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ511 views
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Maiko poses in front of the Naginata-boko float across the street in Kyoto506 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ502 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)460 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.434 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)427 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386 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375 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.347 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.327 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.320 views
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Kameyama Castle316 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, 2010.315 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.303 views
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Kawaii!!300 views
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Turning the hoko float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.293 views
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These men are descendants of the original archers who protected Emperor Kammu. 弓箭組列287 views
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The Saio-dai Retsu column begins. Consists of all women, highlighted by the Saio-dai Princess.286 views
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Cherry Dance, Kyoto.282 views
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Kyoto geiko and maiko at their best for the finale.281 views
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Model of Kyoto Imperial Palace.271 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代266 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 2012.262 views
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PR poster for the Kamogawa Odori geisha dance held during May 1-24 in Pontocho.261 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.260 views
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Yoshino Tayu, a high-ranking geiko entertainer. 吉野太夫258 views1 comments
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Miyako Odori, Kyoto252 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243 views
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We were right near the hanamichi where the geisha performed.241 views
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Inside the theater, waiting for the start of the 168th Kamogawa Odori (in 2005) to start.237 views
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Naginata Hoko and chigo child 稚児237 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.235 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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Flower umbrella229 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229 viewsThe first half is a musical play with a storyline.
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"Miyako Odori" poster in English.229 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater227 views
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater as seen from Kamogawa River.222 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.221 views
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High-ranking lady of the court219 views
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Entrance to Pontocho Kaburenjo theater. You can buy tickets for the day's performance.219 views
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Taro's Shack219 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.214 views
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End of show, see you next year in May!212 views
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Way to Kyoto Ebisu Shrine during Toka Ebisu as seen from Shijo.211 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.207 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.206 views
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Otsukaiban is a Meiji government administrator serving as an inspector. 御使番202 views
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Flower umbrella called furyu-gasa. 風流傘200 viewsFlowers are artificial.
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Pontocho Kaburenjo theater, venue for Kamogawa Odori.200 views
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Pontocho is a narrow alley and known as a geisha district.194 views
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Karamon Gate, Important Cultural Property. 唐門192 views
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Castle map188 views
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Note that taking pictures and videos are not allowed.188 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.186 views
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"Nanohanaya" (Rape blossoms) 菜の花や184 views
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Torokko train at Arashiyama for Hozu Gorge180 views
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Kameoka Station180 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.180 views
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Juni-hitoe kimono worn by the empress.178 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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Ninomaru Garden175 views
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Long line for the bus stop.175 views
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斎王代174 views
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女173 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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End of the gorge170 views
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Ichiriki, a famous geisha tea house.170 views
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Mother scolds the daughter for the scuffle with Taro.167 views
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Geisha in my midst, in a taxi instead of a rickshaw.167 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ166 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 roof164 views
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Honmaru Palace as seen from the castle tower foundation164 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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Flower umbrella164 viewsThese flower umbrellas are mainly for decorative purposes, to add more color to the procession.
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Kiyomizu-dera temple on wooden stilts. Kiyomizu-dera belongs to its own independent Buddhist sect.163 views
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Magistrate's House162 views
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Court lady called myobu. 命婦160 views
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Saio-dai Princess procession. 斎王代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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Ox carriage with plum blossoms dangling from the roof.159 views
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"Irises" 菖蒲159 views
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Site of Ryukoku Museum across from Nishi Hongwanji.159 views
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All finish158 views
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Tonan-sumi Turret from the street157 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"153 views
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Huge crowd153 views
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Norijiri horseman leads the procession. 乗尻152 views
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Visitors watch and hum along with the Lake Biwa Rowing music video on an iPad.152 views
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One of six court dancers called maibito. 舞人151 views
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Stone foundation150 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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Kiyomizu-dera is the 16th temple in the Saigoku Western Japan pilgrimage circuit. The Hondo main hall dates from 1633.150 views
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"Miyako Odori" poster and paper lantern.149 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 724.149 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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Minami-mon (South) Gate 南門146 views
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Ogre posing146 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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"Irises" 菖蒲 She rises from beneath the stage.146 views
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Pulling a float at the Kyoto Gion Matsuri.146 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.146 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓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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"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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A play143 views
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Taro has a scuffle with the daughter and breaks her koto instrument.142 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ142 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓141 views
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Ninomaru Higashi Otemon Gate (Main entrance), Important Cultural Property 二之丸東大手門141 views
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East Bridge to Honmaru and Honmaru Yagura-mon Gate141 views
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Barrels of sake next to the theater.141 views
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Pagoda and maiko141 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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"Irises" are in full bloom. 菖蒲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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Way to Shimogamo Shrine.140 views
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Honmaru Palace139 viewsImportant Cultural Property

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Ninomaru Kita Otemon Gate139 viewsImportant Cultural Property

二之丸北大手門
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A real crowd pleaser. Thanks for posing!138 views
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Honmaru Palace137 viewsImportant Cultural Property
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Naginata float at night137 views
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Goeido Founder's Hall137 views1 comments
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Ninomaru Palace, National Treasure 二之丸御殿136 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.136 views腰輿(およよ)
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Whoa!136 views
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Taro overhears the Lord's daughter trying to compose a poem.136 views
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"Irises" She holds an iris flower. She just took a bath with iris leaves. 菖蒲135 views
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Climax with cherry blossom motif.135 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden. National Treasure134 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.134 views
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Ogre on the train134 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret 東南隅櫓133 views
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Hozu Gorge133 views
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Tonan-sumi (Southeast corner) Turret, Important Cultural Property 東南隅櫓132 views
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Entrance to Omoto-kyo HQ and former castle grounds132 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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Taro gets to marry the lord's daughter.132 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ132 views
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Ninomaru Garden131 views
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Hozu River131 views
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Finale: Throwing hand towels131 views
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Main stage at front.131 views
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Shooting the rapids130 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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Maiko pose130 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130 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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Dance program for 2005.128 views
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Top of castle tower foundation127 views天守閣跡
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Warehouse wall127 views
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Wedding attire of the empress wearing juni-hitoe kimono, and the emperor wearing sokutai. 127 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).127 views
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Ninomaru Palace side view facing the garden.126 views
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Moat between Ninomaru (left) and Honmaru (right)126 viewsEast Bridge in the distance.
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Shrine maiden on horseback called Munanori Onna. 騎女126 views
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Autumn126 views
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Naginata float at night125 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.125 views
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Taro helps her compose her poem.124 views
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It turns out that Taro was a grandson of the Emperor.124 views
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Finale: "Hana Utage" (Flower Banquet) 花うたげ122 views
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Train station platform121 views
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