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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Teramachi Arcade Kyoto

Teramachi Arcade Kyoto寺町商店街京都

Teramachi Dori - literally "temple town" - is an eclectic mix of old book shops, clothing stores aimed at the very young, galleries, and touristy knicknack places.

The best stretch is north of this block, across Oike Dori beyond City Hall on the way to the Imperial Palace.

It is not enclosed, and much quieter. Antique shops and cafes and trees line the street from Nijo up to Marutamachi.

The section pictured here is looking south towards Sanjo south of Oike. From here all the way to Shijo, the street is an arcade - and cycling is verboten except between midnight and 10 am.

At that time, cyclists are free to terrorize the pigeons and drunks that are out and about.

However, north of Sanjo, if you ride very slowly and carefully - basically at walking speed - the cops don't seem to mind. (South of that and the street is too crowded to ride.)

Along this stretch are a great frame shop, high end stationery store, a few galleries, a used book shop, and other interesting places.

And, in keeping with its name, there are indeed temples. If you flew over or were to look at a map, the amount of real estate in downtown Kyoto given over to temples is impressive.

At the corner of Oike - Teramachi is the most historically significant of them: Honnoji Temple. Honnoji Temple is where Oda Nobunaga died.

In 1582, the shogun was attacked at the temple, and then forced to commit ritual suicide.

Something to keep in mind as you walk your cross bike slowly by the entrance.


Teramachi No Cycling Sign KyotoCycleKyoto Home Page


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cycling near Nijo Castle

Cycling high school students near Nijo Castle Kyoto二条城の近く自転車で乗る

School was letting out near Nijo Castle.

The brief summer holiday - all of one month - had just ended and it was back to the books.

Temperatures were in the mid-thirties (high nineties in Fahrenheit) and students were probably not thrilled about being back in their trig classes, their world history classes, their stare out the window as the world goes by classes as sensei drones on at the front of the room.

This young pair were elated to have been released from a day at school, and were zigzagging south of Nijo Castle. They were the very embodiment of youthful joy and elan.

They both were riding practical "mama chari" bikes, perfect for getting around town and beating up on without worrying about the damage.

After they realized they were being photographed, the young man flashed a brief brilliant smile - and then resumed pedaling on to who knows where or what.


Nijo CastleCycleKyoto Home Page


Monday, August 29, 2011

High School Girls Near Nijo Station Kyoto

Cycling high school girls near Nijo Station Kyoto自転車乗っている女子高生

On a blistering late summer day, we were riding back from downtown Kyoto en route to home near Ninnaji Temple.

West of Nijo Castle and hoping to avoid traffic and for perhaps a bit of shade we were going to follow the road that parallels the Saiin Line train tracks to Enmachi.

At a light, the telltale squeal of high school girls down the block awakened us from a heat-induced coma.

Something or someone at school or on tv or God only knows was so hysterically hand-clappingly, back-slappingly funny that, unconsciously, they started to edge into the street while the light was still red.

No one paid them any mind but us. Ears ringing, we stared.

Pedestrians kept walking, a deliveryman made his delivery, cars slowly went around and narrowly avoided hitting them.


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crazy Kyoto Bicycle

Ichijoji Kyoto Bikeすげえ京都自転車

This bike, leaning on the outside of a shop building around the corner from the Keibunsha book shop in Ichijoji, gets our vote for most photogenic bike of the week.

We want to meet the owner.


CycleKyoto Home Page

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer in Lewes Delaware on a Bike

Bikes in Lewes自転車で米国のルウィスを楽しむ

As the end of August looms, a hurricane approaches, school starts, and Labor Day is just around the corner, it is now the time to look back at a summer just ended.

As we do every summer, we spent a week in Lewes, Delaware.

Lewes is a slow-moving mid-Atlantic down with a Philadelphia accent but a Southern vibe.

The town was the site of the earliest settlement of Europeans in Delaware. It was "discovered" and founded by the Dutch on June 3, 1631, and first named Zwaanendael (Swan Valley).

This colony did not last long as, in the following year, the native people - the Lenni Lenape - killed all of the 32 settlers.

Almost two centuries later, on April 5 and 6, 1813, Lewes was bombed by the British navy during the War of 1812. A cannonball from the attack remains lodged in the base of Cannonball House, which now a maritime museum.

Today it is a lovely small town at the south end of the Delaware Bay, and has ferry service to Cape May, New Jersey.

Much of the downtown area has been restored and feels and looks like Georgetown or Philadelphia's Society Hill.

The town is flat and great for cycling.

The bay beach is ten-minutes away. For those who want waves, it will take 25 minutes to get to Cape Henlopen State Park which fronts the Atlantic Ocean.


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Beach time
Beach Bike Lewes DelawareTags

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cycling Society Hill Philadelphia

Cycling on 3rd Street Philadelphia フィラデルフィアのソサエティーヒルを自転車で乗る

A slum as recently as the 1950s, Philadelphia's Society Hill is now one of the most expensive and beautiful areas of the city.

Thanks in part to Edmund Bacon (father of actor Kevin), who was the head city planner of at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission for many years, the area was revitalized.

To draw wealthy residents to the area two apartment towers, designed by IM Pei, were built.

Today, many many blocks of brick colonial homes frame Independence Mall. The neighborhood is redolent of history and beautifully preserved - and a vibrant place to work and live.

It is also a good place to cycle.

Just south is South Street, a short hop north takes you to Northern Liberties, and the main business area of Center City is no more than 10 minutes away on a bike.

And there is no way that SEPTA can beat that.


Going west on Walnut near 3rdCycleKyoto Home Page


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keibunsha Book Store Kyoto

Keibunsha Book Store Kyoto恵分社一乗寺本屋

In the Ichijoji section of Kyoto are lots of ramen shops - when we say lots, we mean a ton - a great used furniture store, and a fabulous book store.

The original reason for riding over was to buy a small table at Budo Kagu (Grape Furniture), a used furniture store with great old pieces.

Mission accomplished, we set out the few blocks on the bike to a favorite book store:


It is a mid-size book store that sells many other, generally arty, things.

Though it is technically a "chain," it has a funky, low-key vibe and lots of funky, low-key customers.

The store is a short walk south from the Ichijoji train station.

Following an hour or of browsing and checking out an art exhibit in the back room, we tucked into an excellent bowl of chashumen noodles at Takayasu.


075 711 5919
10:00 ~ 22:00


Keibunsha Book Store KyotoCycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

San Francisco Green Wave

San Francisco Bicycle Signサンフランシスコのグリーンウエーブ

San Francisco's cycling culture was amazing on many levels.

One aspect of it though was a bit puzzling until we got back home and did a bit of online research.

Around the city are many "Green Wave" traffic signs.

The "Green Wave" refers to traffic signal re-timing aimed at prioritizing bicycle traffic speeds.

It started as a pilot program a few years back, but is now running throughout much of the city.

Similar systems are in place in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Portland.

The timing of the lights keeps bikes moving.

How different the light timing here in Kyoto seems to our unscientific judgement.

Below left is what appears to be a bike lane on Market Street near Union Square.


San Francisco Cyclist Market StreetCycleKyoto Home Page


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cycling Rehobeth Beach Delaware

Cycling Rehobeth Beach自転車でレホベスビーチへ

Delaware's Rehobeth Beach is classic mid-Atlantic resort town.

Think Ocean City, New Jersey or Maryland, and you get the idea.

It is family-friendly and beach-centric.

The center part of the town is not beautiful in the way parts of Cape May, New Jersey, or nearby Lewes, Delaware, are.

But it has a boardwalk, a vibe, and lots and lots of fun that perhaps quainter places lack.

For young people, the city has concerts, night time boardwalk action, and plenty of other young people.

For cyclists, the city is flat and easy to ride. The south edge of Cape Henlopen State Park is not far, and the Junction & Breakwater Trail is a great ride.

Rental shops abound and have the usual beach bikes and even multi-passenger contraptions.


Cycling RehobethCycleKyoto Home Page


Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Roads Movement


Now little known or remembered, the Good Roads Movement was a powerful force on the American political landscape between the late 1870s and the 1920s.

Groups, led mainly by cyclists, advocating for better roads became a nationwide political movement.

At the time, roads outside of metropolitan areas consisted of dirt or gravel. This became mud or worse in inclement weather.

Until the 1930s, asphalt surfaces were not widespread.

Such surfaces were, according to the British daily the Guardian, "first lobbied for – and paid for – by cycling organisations." Thus, the genesis of today's smooth roads is thanks to bicyclists.

"In the UK and the US, cyclists lobbied for better road surfaces for a full 30 years before motoring organisations did the same. Cyclists were ahead of their time."

When trains took off in the 1840s, the old coach trade vanished. This left roads unused and often unrepaired.

Several decades later, cyclists were the first vehicles in a generation to make long journeys along these abandoned roadways.

The main goal of the Good Roads Movement in its early years was road building in rural areas - and to help rural people attain the social and economic benefits enjoyed by urban dwellers who benefited from railroads, trolleys, and paved streets.

The Movement was officially founded in May 1880, in Newport, Rhode Island. There the League of American Wheelmen called for more use of bicycles - and entered the political fray.

The League and its movement spread across the country, and in 1892 began to publish Good Roads Magazine. Within three years circulation had reached one million.

Conventions and public demonstrations, moreover, were held around the United States.

Support from the League for candidates for political office often became the deciding factor in elections.

In 1893, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a thorough evaluation of existing highway systems in America.

With the advent of the automobile in the early part of the twentieth century, however, advocacy came to be led by the car industry. By the 1920s, a national highway building campaign was underway.

By the 1930s, smooth asphalt roads crisscrossed the United States.

The "Father of Good Roads" Horatio Earle wrote in his 1929 autobiography: "I often hear now-a-days, the automobile instigated good roads; that the automobile is the parent of good roads. Well, the truth is, the bicycle is the father of the good roads movement in this country...The League fought for the privilege of building bicycle paths along the side of public highways...The League fought for equal privileges with horse-drawn vehicles. All these battles were won and the bicyclist was accorded equal rights with other users of highways and streets."


Something to remember the next time someone in a car cuts you off.


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

San Francisco Cyclist

San Francisco Union Square自転車でサンフランシスコで活躍

On a recent stay in the Bay Area, we took in among other sites the cycling scene.

In spite of the city's famed hills, cyclists were everywhere.

From the Mission district's bike shops to Union Square's climbers, the city is very much sprinkled with two-wheelers.

Helmets tended toward construction site-like lids, panniers were omnipresent.

Parking, as in Philadelphia, was available on every block on old (?) parking meters.

The city is also home to many fantastic bike shops. Every shop we went to was staffed with very friendly women and men who are serious, serious professionals.


San Francisco Bike ParkingCycleKyoto Home Page


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Junction and Breakwater Trail Lewes Delaware

Junction & Breakwater Trailジャンクションアンドブレイクウオーター自転車トレール

Linking Lewes and Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, is the wonderful Junction & Breakwater Trail.

Junction and Breakwater Trail is the third longest rail-trail in Delaware. It is 3.9 miles long, and it follows the old Penn Central Rail Line that once carried passenger traffic to the many beach resorts along the Atlantic coast.

The trail wends its way through forested areas, swamps, and in places runs adjacent to farmers' fields.

The Junction and Breakwater Trail also is just north of Cape Henlopen State Park.

The trail is an easy ride - and considering traffic on Route 1 - may actually be the fastest way of getting from Lewes to Rehobeth.


Junction TrailCycleKyoto Home Page


Friday, August 19, 2011

Funky Philadelphia Bicycle Reading Market

フィラデルフィアの自転車Funky Bike Parked at Reading Terminal

On a recent trip back to Philadelphia, we wandered the streets downtown and were struck by how much bikes and bike culture have changed since we were commuting in the late 1980s.

First, there were a few bike lanes. Amazing.

Second, the number of cyclists seems much, much greater than in the bad old days.

Also, in the several hours we had to stroll around and observe, the level of hostility seemed lower. This, though, could only be confirmed by a few months of actual riding.

The new bike loops for parking and locking are quite elegant. They were attached to what appeared to be former parking meters.

Some things however never change: the streets were a complete, potholed mess.


Bike Parking Symbol PhiladelphiaCycleKyoto Home Page


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Riding A Bicycle in Shanghai

Shanghai cyclist, 2上海で自転車を乗る

Automobile traffic in Shanghai is not pleasant.

In addition, much of the city is a building site.

The air is fetid and sand-filled.

On top of that are people, people, people everywhere.

Riding a bike is not for the faint of heart.

Mainly it is middle-aged guys on three-wheelers making a delivery.

These guys are fearless, and we in Kyoto offer them our deepest respect.


ShanghaiCycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brooks Bicycle Saddle Sakai Museum

Sakai Cycle Museumブルックスサドル堺自転車博物館

This classic Brooks saddle is on display at the Bicycle Museum Cycle Center in Sakai, which is south of Osaka.

The museum has three floors of bikes and bike history.

It is about 20 minutes south of Tennoji, in Osaka.

A trip could to the bike museum could be combined with a visit to the Tomb of the Emperor Nintoku and the Sakai City Museum. Both are nearby.


Bicycle Museum Cycle Center, Sakai
165-6, Daisen-Nakamachi, Sakai-Shi 590-0801

Tel: +81 7 2243 3196
Hours: 10 am 4:30 pm Tueday-Sunday (doors close at 4 pm)


CycleKyoto Home Page


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cycling Cocon Karasuma Kyoto

Cocon Kyoto自転車で古今烏丸へ

Formerly the Kyoto office of Marubeni Corporation, the original building that today is home to Cocon Karasuma was completed in 1938.

Following the end of the Second World War, it became the Kyoto headquarters of the occupying American forces.

As part of the larger redevelopment of the Karasuma corridor - a wide boulevard that was until the 1990s home to banks and insurance companies, and quite dead after 5 pm - the site was redesigned and reopened in 2004.

Today it is a downtown, multi-story shopping mall with galleries and restaurants and a quirky collection of shops.

One of the city's best movie theaters, Kyoto Cinema, is on the third floor.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Daimonji Festival Kyoto

Kyoto Daimonji大文字送り火京都

The Daimonji Gozan Okuribi (Daimonji Bonfire) is an annual event held on the evening of August 16th.

On this night, gigantic Chinese characters and other motifs that have been carved into the hills that surround Kyoto are lit beginning at 8 pm.

The night is the end of the annual "Bon" period when the souls of departed ancestors return.

The lit characters are said to guide the ancestors back on their journey to the other world for another year.

The character "dai" ("large") is pictured above right on Mt. Hiei and below left near Kinkakuji Temple.

In addition to Chinese characters, there are a ship-like motif on Mt. Funayama at Nishi Kamo and a torii gate motif.

The fires burn for about 30 minutes on each of the mountains.

It is possible to see all of the bonfires from the upper floors of downtown hotels. A pleasant alternative is to go to the Kamo River prior to 8 pm. It will be crowded with people on blankets, drinking beer or juice and waiting for the fires.

It is a calm evening.


DaimonjiCycleKyoto Home Page


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cycling Kyoto University

Kyoto University Clock Tower自転車で京都大学時計台記念館

The Kyoto University Clock Tower is a towering symbol on what is often called the Berkeley (left-wing, public, a big stable of Nobel laureates) or Yale (the "number 2" university) of Japan.

The Tower was completed in 1925 and has stood guard over and been witness to many of the liberal university's great happenings.

The campus is by national university standards not large - as Kyodai president's are fond of pointing out - but it covers a huge chunk of real estate in the eastern area of Kyoto.

Many students therefore use bicycles to get around within the campus grounds.

For those in need of a nearby caffeine fix in an atmospheric cafe, Shinshindo is the place.


Closed December 28 - January 3
Open daily 9 am - 9:30 pm

Clock Tower Contact

Tel: 075 753 2285

E-mail :


Kyoto University CyclingCycleKyoto Home Page


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bicycle Parked in Front of Walls of Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle熊本城の前にある自転車

On a muggy day in Kyushu, we got off the air-conditioned tram and into the thick air.

A short walk took us to the outer walls of Kumamoto Castle.

En route, a few bikers pedaled by slowly. This cycle however had thrown in the towel.

And in the dog days of August, so did we.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Friday, August 12, 2011

Children Playing on Bicycle Japan

Cycling Kumamoto自転車で遊ぶ子供たち

Ah, summer.

A time for playing outside from morning till night, free of homework, teachers, and parents yelling "Go to bed!" and "Did you finish your homework?!"

And what would summer be without a bike?

Japan, as is often the case, is different.

First of all, school runs until around July 20. Then the summer holiday last a mere four weeks now; the kids are back in school anywhere from August 21st or so.

Still, children will find ways to enjoy themselves.

These gang of four in Kumamoto raced back and forth, taking turns on the one bike. Another two are not in the photo, but they got on the bike as well.

Invariably, the smallest child hitched a ride each time.


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

House on Ishibei Koji Kyoto

House on Ishibei Kyoto石塀小路

Just off of Nene no Michi (The Path of Nene) is a divine alley.

Ishibei Koji is perhaps the best preserved street in Kyoto.

It is lined with ryokan (inns) and high-end restaurants known as ryotei.

The narrow street is ideal for strolling, not cycling (though it might be possible to ride slowly from one end to the other at around 4 am).

It is north of Gion, east of Yasaka Shrine, and west of Kiyomizu Temple.

And it should be part of any visitor's itinerary.


Ishibei Koji KyotoCycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Krakow Bicycle Lot

Krakow BIkesクラクフ駐輪所

Krakow is a wonderful, arty, slow-paced city.

Slightly dated trams slowly wend their way through the old streets, skirting the Old City, which is a large chuck in the heart of the Krakow.

The streets are for the most part not overwhelmed by cars, so cycling is a good option.

Parking, though, in places is a bit dodgy.

However, it never comes close to Kyoto style parking in which whole sidewalks can disappear under a pile of bikes.

This photo represents about the worst of what we saw.


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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Japanese Cop

Japanese Cop Kyoto京都のお巡りさん

Being a cop is a pretty thankless, low-paid, long-hours kind of deal.

You deal with a lot of jerks, see a lot of weird and no doubt unpleasant stuff, and don't get a lot of respect.

In Kyoto, cops probably have it easier than back in Philadephia - our home town - where in large areas of the city it is not advisable to go at night.

This young guy, on the beat on the night of the Yoiyama Festival (July 16th), was polite and helpful when we asked him a question.

For the most part, Japanese police are polite and helpful.

On a boiling hot night, he eschewed polite verb forms and got straight to the point: "go down this street, turn left and head south. You're going to run into a huge crowd, but you probably already know that."

We thanked him and braced ourselves.


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Monday, August 8, 2011

Japanese Policeman's Hat

Japanese police hat 日本警察の帽子

A friend who is a retired Kyoto police officer likes to pull out his old dress uniform hat when has had a few.

At a recent party at his home near Kiyomizu Temple, we all got a chance to put on the solid hat.

The brim in particular is rock hard.

The symbol in the center is of course the chrysanthemum.

Another older gent wanted to "borrow" the hat for his inebriated ride home as a way of avoiding arrest for riding under the influence.


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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cycling Ninnaji Temple

Ninnaji Temple, Kyoto自転車で仁和寺へ

Kyoto's Ninnaji Temple was founded in 886 C.E. by the Emperor Koko.

However, for decades prior to that, it had been the summer residence for the Imperial Family known as Omuro Palace (Omuro Gosho).

Most of the present buildings were built in the 17th century.

Ninnanji is justly famous for its gates, including the entrance gate San-mon (Mountain Gate) which has a tiled roof and two devas guarding the entrance.

The Main Hall or the Hondo contains an golden image of Amitabha (a National Treasure).

The 33 meter, 5-story pagoda pictured above was built in 1637.

The temple compound also is home to many ancient Omuro Zakura, small late-blooming cherry trees.

In the hills just behind Ninnaji is the Hachi-ju Haka-sho (88 Temple Pilgrimage), a short hike around mini-temples mirrored on the more famous 88 Temple Pilgrimage around Shikoku. The entire walk can be done in less than an hour and affords a great view of Kyoto below.

Ryoanji Temple, Daikakuji Temple, and the Golden Pavilion are all within 15 minutes on a bicycle.


33 Ouchi Omuro
075 461 1155

400 yen fee to the sub temple to the left as you enter; otherwise, it is free.


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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Anniversary of Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

Hiroshima Genbaku Dome広島

Today marks the 66th anniversary of the US Air Force's dropping of an atomic bombings on Hiroshima.

Three days later, on 9 August 1945, Nagasaki was the second - and to date last - city to endure such a cruel fate.

It is estimated that in the first two to four months following the bombings, 90,000 – 166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000 – 80,000 in Nagasaki died.

There are estimates that as many as 200,000 had died by 1950, mainly because of cancer and other long-term effects.

Hiroshima today however is an attractive, green, and laid-back city in southern Honshu.

It has one of the best system of trams in Japan. The elegant trolleys criss-cross the city's many rivers and boulevards.

This year's anniversary will be particularly poignant due to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

Hiroshima tram©

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle熊本城

Kumamoto Castle is a classic Japanese hilltop castle located smack in the middle of downtown Kumamoto.

Much of it was burned in a final attack in 1877. However, it is a beautiful and impressive structure.

The first fortifications were built in 1467, then expanded in 1496.

Kato Kiyamasa greatly added to the castle between 1601 to 1607.

It ultimately had 49 turrets, 18 turret gates, and 29 smaller gates.

In 1960, much of the castle was reconstructed. Then, between 1998 to 2008, the castle complex was further reconstructed.


Hours: 8:30 to 18:00 (until 17:00 from November to March)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time
Closed: December 29th to 31st
Admission: 500 yen


From Kumamoto Station, it is a 10-15 minute ride on a tram. Alight at Kumamotojo-mae tram stop.

Kumamoto Castle©

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kyoto Yoiyama 2011

Yoiyama Kyoto 2011宵山2011年

450,000 revelers turned out for this year's Yoiyama Festival in Kyoto.

Yoiyama is a street party held the night before Gion Matsuri, the most famous festival in Japan.

Much of Kyoto turns out for the event.

From 6 pm until 11 pm, the streets of downtown Kyoto are closed to traffic. People come dressed in yukata summer robes.

Vendors set up shop selling beer, chicken, squid, and more.

The massive floats - "hoko" - that will be pulled around in the blistering heat the following day are on display. Maps are available at both Kyoto Station and downtown at the festival itself.

Unlike July 17, Gion Festival day, it is possible to get up close and inspect the floats.

And walk and drink beer and eat and check out the crowd, repeat.


Yoiyama Kyoto 2011CycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cycling Tofukuji Temple

Moss Garden Tofukuji Temple自転車で東福寺へ

Tofukuji Temple is a huge Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto.

It was founded in 1236 and has become one of the principal Zen temples in Kyoto.

It is justly famous for its autumn foliage, but any time of year is good for a visit.

Moreover, much of the temple complex is free.

For those cycling, it is 15 minutes from Kyoto Station or 10 minutes from Sanjusangendo. It is along the narrow road that leads south to Fushimi.


Tsutenkyo Bridge and Kaisando Hall
Hours: 9:00 to 16:00 (until 16:30 during November)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time
Admission: 400 yen

Hojo and Gardens
Hours: 9:00 to 16:00 (until 16:30 during November)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time
Admission: 400 yen

Sanmon Gate Tofukuji Temple©

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Koryo Museum of Art Kyoto

Koryo Musuem高麗美術館

Tucked on a side street off of Horikawa Dori east of Kityama is the Koryo Museum of Art.

It is an excellent facility dedicated to Korean fine arts.

Founded by the late Chong Jo Mum, it specializes in ceramics, images of the Buddha, stone figures, calligraphy, and furniture.

Chong was a first generation Korean-Japanese who came to at the age of six.

He was a successful businessman, and devoted his life to collecting Korean works of art.


Kamigishi-cho Shichiku, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8108
Tel. 075 491 1192


10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (last entry 4:30 pm)


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Climbing Mount Atago

Mount Atago Kyoto愛宕山千日参り

Every year on July 31, hordes of hikers climb Mount Atago in Kyoto.

At 924 meters, it is the second highest mountain in the city.

The festival is called "Sennichi Tsuyasai," which roughly means one thousand days all night festival.

The purpose of the festival is to pray for a thousand days of flame (for cooking, heating, etc.) and, to the contrary, a thousand days of fire prevention.

The hike is about 4 kilometers.

What makes this event special is that most of the climbers do so after dark. The city strings up lights from the base of the mountain, in Kiyotaki, all the way to the very top at Atago Shrine.

As hikers ascend the mountain, they call out "O kudariyasu" (on your way down) to those descending. In reply, they say "O noboriyasu" (on your way up).

At the very top are many lanterns (see bottom left).

Once at the top, pilgrims buy good luck charms to ward off fire and bad luck.

What to Bring

Light clothes, plus something heavier for when you get to the top (the temperature can be quite chilly)
A change of clothes
Light snacks
Small towel for sweat
Bit of cash just in case
Sneakers or light hiking boots

Bus to Kiyotaki

Kyoto Bus:

From JR Kyoto Station: Bus stop No. C6 Bus No. 72
From Hankyu Arashiyama station: Bus No. 62 or 72
From Keihan Sanjo station: Bus stop No. 14 Bus No. 62


Mount Atago KyotoCycleKyoto Home Page