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Friday, September 30, 2011

Cycling Prohibited near Kawaramachi Kyoto

Cycling Kawaramachi河原町の自転車走行禁止区間

Ordinarily, we would have a bit of sympathy for a fellow cyclist stuck in a mess of cars and pedestrians.

However, the area around Shijo - Kawaramachi, in Kyoto, is off limits, even on the street itself.

Having done this ride a few times, it isn't worth the stress.

This picture was taken on a Sunday, at a peak shopping time, but any day would see similar traffic.

Cycling is prohibited in the following streets:

Kawaramachi Dori: Between Oike Dori and Bukkoji Dori
Shijo Dori: Between Higashi Oji Dori and Karasuma Dori
Sanjo Dori: Between Kiyamachi and Kawaramachi

Cycling along the Teramachi Mall is also prohibited.

The verboten areas are actually more extensive than that. Downtown there are signs with red marking the no go areas.

And there are officious folks in green uniforms who will tell you to "Get off and walk"!


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kyoto Antique Shop

Antique Shop Kyoto京都の骨董店

Located across the street from the Museum of Kyoto, on Sanjo Dori in downtown Kyoto, is an old antique shop.

While parking our bikes in the mini-lot - a rack outside the museum for bikes - we glanced over our shoulder at the graceful shop.

It almost seems churlish to point out the building that scowls above and behind it, the telephone pole and wires that streak past its roof like tracer bullets.

But still, the shop exists and persists. And in the area, more and more of its kind are opening and flourishing.

The mansion in the background is typical of grotesqueries built in the 1980s and 90s.

Newer versions are no smaller, but design elements have been given more consideration.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Japanese Grave Kyoto

Japanese grave京都の墓標

This family grave sits in a graveyard in northern Kyoto city, in Kumogahata.

It is quiet and dignified.

The priest who lives down a flight of stone steps below this and the other graves has an old tiled roof home that is spacious and comfortable.

The graveyard is surrounded by the house on one hand and a stand of cedar trees on the either.

This grave has recently been visited.

Appropriate flowers have been placed on either side of the main stone, on which the family name is inscribed.

Between the flowers is an area for incense and a candle. Both have burned, and all that remained were bits of wax and ash.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

Kyoto Municipal Museumワシントン・ナショナル・ギャラリー展 印象派・ポスト印象派 奇跡のコレクション

Kyoto now has two, perhaps three, big-ticket exhibitions at the moment.

The Vermeer exhibit, which is almost impossible to get into - unless you enjoy waiting in line for an hour for a ticket, and then catching a glimpse of one of the master's works over the heads of a crowd of people in front of you - and the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art are both on at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art.

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, is currently undergoing renovations, making possible a once in a lifetime exhibit in Kyoto.

Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism are on display in spacious galleries. Beginning with works by Courbet and Corot and Manet, the exhibition consists of 83 works.

Among them are paintings by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh and others.


We are partial to Corot and Cezanne, but to see up close works by Mary Cassatt was thrilling.

Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art
September 13 (Tuesday) – November 27 (Sunday)

Okazaki Park, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8344

Entrance Fee: 1500 yen for adults

The third exhibit would be found across the street at the Modern Museum of Art. The show is an exhibition of works by Takeshi Kitamura.


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Japanese Poisonous Centipede Mukade

Poisonous centipedeムカデ京都

Japan is paradise for insect lovers.

Separated from the Asian continent 20,000 years ago, many species have evolved over the years and exist nowhere else on earth.

Moreover, Japan is a bug-friendly country. Young boys take to the woods on weekends armed with their nets in search of beetles.

This fascination with insects can be found in children's stories, manga, and animation.

While we were dodging dead snakes - crushed on the pavement by automobiles - on the ride up to Kumogahata, we spied a small nasty little creature wriggling its way across the street.

It was the dreaded mukade, or poisonous centipede. This one was about 10 cm (3 inches) long.

In city parks, this would be a fairly large mukade; in the country they can grow twice this size.

And they are poisonous.

A bite will not kill an adult, but infants and small animals need to be wary. A neighbor's 15 kg dog was nipped on the hind leg, and could not move it for three weeks.

Older people are said to keep the juices of a mukade on hand as a salve. By applying these juices - gleaned by boiling a mukade - it is said to act as an antidote.


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall in Kyoto Kamo River

Kamo River秋の鴨川

Fall is finally upon us in Kyoto.

Following the departure of the recent typhoon, cool temperatures and deep blue skies replaced the late summer mugginess of recent weeks.

Like many, we got on the bike and headed for the Kamo River.

En route, we passed a children's festival and Nishijin. Ah, fall in Kyoto!

Both banks in the Demachiyanagi area were busy with cyclists, people out for a stroll, last-gasp sunbathers, and lots of people playing soccer, tennis, and other ball games.

White herons meanwhile were busily hunting in the glistening waters in front of us.

After a bento lunch and a long talk, we headed into town for dinner and drinks.


Cycling along the Kamo RiverCycleKyoto Home Page


Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Screen Kyoto Hotel

The Screen, KyotoTHE SCREEN京都

The Screen is Kyoto's lone boutique hotel.

Hotels in Kyoto tend to fall into two categories: high-end, brand name hotels or low-end backpacker places.

The former includes the Westin, the Hyatt, the under construction Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton, and a handful of very expensive Japanese inns.

In between, there are now a few semi-decent places.

However, for something quite different the choices are very limited.

THE SCREEN has 13 different guest rooms designed by 13 different "creators," and is indeed unique.

It is not cheap though; rooms start around $500 a night.


It is just south of the Imperial Palace on Teramachi Dori.

Tel: 075 252 1113 Fax: 075 252 1311

The Screen, Kyoto©

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Kyoto Bicycle Lane Horikawa

Horikawa Dori Kyoto自転車専用レーン京都堀川

Kyoto is slowly, ever so slowly, improving its infrastructure for cycling.

The bike lane on the sidewalk of Gojo Dori - for the most part it completely separates pedestrians and cyclists on a very wide sidewalk - is a move in the right direction.

It contrasts with the older, completely useless, bike lanes.

One such example is on Horikawa Dori.

The bike "lane" is different colored paving - that's it.

Pedestrians and cyclists weave in and out of the gray area designated for people walking, the reddish area for bikes.

Moreover, the bike lane runs right through bus stops where, surprise, people congregate and wait for buses.


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto Kitamura Takeshi Exhibit


Takeshi Kitamura is a legend in the world of Japanese weaving.

Born in 1935 in Nishijin, he began his career after graduating from junior high school.

He is now a Living National Treasure whose work has been exhibited around the world.

At the National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto there is now an exhibit devoted to his work.

"Kitamura Takeshi: Master of Contemporary Weaving" runs until October 30 and costs 850 yen for adults.

The pieces themselves are wonderful, the display excellent.

Exhibition dates

Friday, September 16– Sunday, October 30, 2011
Closed on Mondays
Exception: Open on September 19 (Mon./holiday), October 10 (Mon./holiday)
Closed on September 20 (Tue.), October 11 (Tue.)


9:30AM–5:00PM (admission until 4:30PM)
*October 27 (Thu.)- 30 (Sun.) Opened until 8:00PM (Admission until 7:30OPM)


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kyoto University Bicycle

Kyoto University Bicycle京都大学自転車

Locked firmly in place, this future Nobel Prize candidate's bicycle is not going anywhere.

The photo was taken in the dog days of July on the campus of Kyoto University.

Parked in a covered mall of a somewhat dilapidated building not far from Marutamachi Dori, this is an ideal spot considering the amount of rain Kyoto has had of late.

We would wager a fair amount that that bike is still in the exact same place, a if a bit dustier.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bicycle Parking Yoshida Shrine

Bicycles parked near Yoshida Shrine吉田神社の「駐輪所」

Down the street from the Shigemori Mirei Teien Bijutsukan Museum is an entrance to Yoshida Shrine.

In typical Kyoto fashion, mama chari bikes are arranged in a semi-messy, semi-circle.

This is the telltale sign of a university "club" outing.

Shortly after, as if on cue, a gaggle of Kyoto University students stumbled down the mountain through the torii gate, mounted their cycles, and cycled off in groups of twos and threes.


Cycling to Yoshida Shrine is via Kyoto University. It is also close to the Philosophers Walk.

Open: 9:00 ~ 16:00
Admission Fee: Free


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Ichijo Modoribashi

Kyoto Ichijo Modoribashi Bridge一条戻橋京都

The Ichijo Modoribashi ("Bridge of Revival"), which crosses the tiny Horikawa River (canal) in north central Kyoto, is not much to look at. It is one of many small bridges that cross the canal and park that now lines it.

However, the bridge, which was first erected here in 794 C.E. and remains today in the same location, has seen its share of history and mystery.

First, let's look at the history of the bridge. It was used as an execution ground during Japan's horrific civil war, during the 15th and 16th centuries.

In the late 1597, warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi oversaw an especially morbid sentence here. Prior to exiling twenty-six Catholic missionaries to Nagasaki, he had their ears sliced off at the bridge - and then sent them off on their merry way.

In another episode, the severed head of Sen no Rikyu - the founder of the Japanese traditional tea ceremony - was displayed here following his ritual suicide. (Due to a break with Hideyoshi, Sen no Rikyu was forced to kill himself.)

On the mysterious side, it is rumored that the bridge is a passage to the world of the afterlife.

During the 10th century, just as a well known scholar’s funeral cortege was crossing the bridge, his son joined the procession. The son had not been in time for the funeral and, according to the legend, at this moment the corpse of the father came to life for just long enough to bid his son farewell.

And thus the name. The Bridge of Revival is named for the above incident in which the father, who revived, if ever so briefly, to meet his son one last time.

Something to keep in mind the next time we are cycling across the bridge.

Kyoto Ichijo Modoribashi Bridge©

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mibu Temple Kyoto Stupa

Mibu Temple Kyoto

Mibu Temple is today known for three things: its classical comedy performances, its connection to a group of 19th century rebels known as the "Shinsen Gumi," and its unusual stupa.

Mibu Temple (Dera) belongs to the Risshu sect of Buddhism, and was founded in 991 C.E. by Kaiken Souzu.

The temple is thought to ward off evil and as such is the site of a large bean-throwing ceremony "Setsubun," the annual ceremony to welcome spring in early February. People toss beans and yell "Out with evil, in with good fortune!"

Mibu Kyogen, the classical Japanese comedy form, is the comedy. It consists of performances that take place between Noh plays as a bit of levity.

Mibu Kyogen was founded by Enkaku Shonin around 1300.

Performances are held every April and in the autumn.

The second claim to fame - the connection to a now worshipped band bent on overthrowing the Japanese government in the 1860s - is noted by the bust of Isami Kondo. Kondo was a leader of the Shinsen Gumi. In addition, the graves of two other members of the group, Kamo Serizawa and Goro Hirayama, are here as well.

The rebels trained and stayed in this area and often visited the temple.

Finally, the temple's stupa is quite unusual. It can be seen from the JR Saiin train and is a landmark in the area.


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Mibu TempleTags

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Old Bicycle Shop Kyoto University Hospital Area

Old Kyoto Bicycle Shop古自転車屋京都

En route to Okazaki to visit the Hosomi Museum, we pedaled along a side street that abuts Kyoto University Hospital.

Along a quiet stretch, there was an old - no, a classic - bike shop.

The owner was seated in a chair under the locks and parts hanging on the back wall, and deep into his Kyoto Shinbun newspaper.

The building is a modified machiya, or townhouse, that used to be the standard home in Kyoto.

In spite of a recent reappraisal of their value - many are now rebuilt as homes, boutiques, restaurants - they continue to meet the wrecking ball.

Likewise, the neighborhood bike shop appears to be in decline.

Fancier shops catering to a younger crowd have diluted their business.


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Friday, September 16, 2011

Katsura Imperial Villa Kyoto

Katsura Imperial Villa桂離宮

Katsura Imperial Villa is a masterpiece of Japanese landscape design and architecture.

The collection of buildings ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Japanese architecture.

The buildings were completed in 1615 and have survived the centuries.

Katsura Imperial Villa was commissioned by Prince Toshihito, the younger brother of the Emperor Goyozei.

The villa is divided into three parts: the Old Shoin, the Middle Shoin, and the New Palace.

The last person of royal lineage died in 1881, and at that point the Imperial Household Ministry took control of the villa.

Its influence is not limited to Japan. Many of the great modernist architects, including Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, were inspired by design elements at Katsura.

Tours are held several times per day, and reservations are required. These can be made at the Imperial Palace.

Cycling to the villa is not pretty but is relatively painless. From central Kyoto, ride south on Nishioji Dori to Hachijo Dori. Turn right and head west. Cross the Katsura River bridge. On the right.

For those coming from Arashiyama, it is possible to ride on a car-free bike path the entire way (this path goes all the way to Kizu, just a short ride to Nara). Do not cross the river. Once you cross the Hankyu Train line tracks, it is another few minutes.


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Katsura Imperial Villa

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Barbarian Temple Kyoto

Nanban Dera南蛮寺京都

In downtown Kyoto is a mostly-forgotten historical marker commemorating a long-gone church.

In the 1500s, Spanish and Portuguese missionaries began arriving in Japan. For a brief period, they were allowed to proselytize and build churches.

Houses of worship were constructed in various cities and locations in Japan.

In 1561, a small chapel was built in Kyoto.

The missionaries who built the church were from Spain, and were referred to in Japanese as "Nanban" - southern barbarians.

The chapel was thus referred to locally as "Nanban Dera," or Barbarian Temple. The missionaries themselves called it St. Mary's.

In 1576, according to records, the Kyoto church was in need of repair and rebuilt.

In 1587, however, Toyotomi Hideyoshi - alarmed by the spread of Christianity - issued the Purge Directive Order to the Jesuits, which banned the missionaries and their activities.

The church was soon thereafter torn down and never rebuilt.

Today, the historical marker is in front of a Wako Corporation building, and was surrounded by employee bicycles.


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

City Cycling Statistics


According to a recent New York Times article, 0.6% of commuters in the Big Apple use a bicycle to get to work. Other American cities are noted below:

Chicago: 1.2%
Washington, D.C: 2.2%
San Francisco: 3%
Minneapolis: 3.9%
Portland: 5.8%

Copenhagen: 55%

John Pucher, the co-author of “City Cycling,” notes that Paris has roughly 1,490 bike parking spaces per 100,000 people. London has 1,670 and Tokyo about 6,400.

New York has 152.

Gabe Klein, Chicago's transportation commissioner, argues that cycling is pushing back against a whole range of modern problems. “There’s the congestion problem,” he said. “The pollution problem. The obesity problem. The gas problem.”

“Bikes are definitely a symbol of what your city stands for,” said Klein.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hosomi Museum

Hosomi Museum自転車で細身美術館

In Okazaki, Kyoto's main museum area, is the somewhat quirky Hosomi Museum.

It was founded by a wealthy collector and is today run by his heirs.

The Hosomi Museum focuses on haniwa (tomb figurines), Buddhist sculpture, Buddhist ceremonial tools, and narrative handscrolls (emaki) from the Muromachi period.

In an underground level is a pleasant cafe and the museum's gift shop.

The museum is a short walk from Heian Shrine and the museum of modern art.

6-3 Okazaki, Saishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel. 075 752 5555

Museum and Shop:10 am to 6 pm; Tea Room: 11am to 5 pm; Cafe:10:30am to 6:30pm; closed Mondays


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Monday, September 12, 2011

Shigemori Mirei Teien Bijutsukan Museum

Shigemori Mirei Garden重森三玲庭園

One of the many little known gems in Kyoto is the Shigemori Mirei Gardens and home.

Occupying a large corner of a street a short walk from Yoshida Shrine and Kyoto University, the Shigemori Mirei Teien Bijutsukan Museum is a spacious, arty, artistic, and traditional home and garden.

The home was built in 1789 in the middle of the Edo Period. It originally belonged to Suzuka, a Shinto order based at Yoshida Shrine.

It has an adjoining garden and tea ceremony pavilions.

The noted gardener Shigemori Mirei (1896-1975) lived in the house and designed the garden, which was completed in 1970. Among his other works is the Hojo Garden in Tofukuji Temple, in south Kyoto.

The rocks in the Shigemori Mirei Garden symbolize the Elysian islands.


Reservations are required. Tours are in Japanese. Non-Japanese speakers will need to bring a Japanese speaking translator.

Telephone: 075 761 8776


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Tea Room in KyotoTags

Sunday, September 11, 2011

French Consulate Kyoto

French Consulate Kyoto在京都フランス総領事館と関西日仏学館

The Consulat General de France a Kyoto is an elegant facility across the street from Kyoto University.

The facility was jointly designed by Raymond Mestrallet and Shichiro Kigo, students of the great French architect Auguste Perret, who was known as the "father of concrete."

The building was completed in 1936, and there is a garden on the left as you enter.

In addition to consular work, the facility doubles as the Alliance Francaise (Institut Franco-Japonais du Kansai).

Classes on culture, cuisine, language, and more are offered.

Consulat General de France a Kyoto
8 Izumidono-chô Yoshida Sakyô-ku Kyôto

Tél. (075) 761-2165



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Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Cabin Hotel Kyoto

First Cabin Hotelファーストキャビンホテル京都

The First Cabin Hotel recently opened in Kyoto, becoming the second such hotel. The other is in the Namba area of Osaka.

It is a capsule hotel with a twist.

Unlike the usual tomb available at standard capsule hotels which you slide into to spend a night for a low rate, First Cabin has considerably larger rooms.

Moreover, there is a large communal bath on both the female and male sides. (The cabins are separated by sex into a female wing and male wing.)

Rates are competitive. For one night, rates start at 4500 yen per night.

Another pleasant option is the day use plan. For 900 yen per hour, guests can take a nap and use the large bathing facility (a minimum of two hours).

Its attractive bilingual web site explains all details.


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Friday, September 9, 2011

Kyoto Sanzenin Temple Jizo

Sanzenin Temple三千院地蔵

In the lush, moss-filled gardens of Sanzenin Temple was a tiny statue of Jizo.

The Jizo is thought "to ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving time in hell," according to Mark Schumacher.

In Japan, and especially in Kyoto, they are ubiquitous.

Jizos are placed in the mini-shrines that can be found in almost every neighborhood.

Here in far northern Kyoto, in Ohara, the small statue is easy to miss.

It is half covered in moss, blending in with the surroundings.

Sanzenin Temple
075 431 8345

8:30 to 17:30 (until 16:30 December to February)


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Sanzenin TempleTags

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fukuchiyama Castle

Fukuchiyama Castle福知山城

On a day trip from Kyoto, we took in the rural town of Fukuchiyama.

In terms of tourism, the small city is best known for its castle.

Fukuchiyama Castle was built in 1579 by the Yokoyama clan.

In 1580, however, Akechi Mitsuhide rebuilt the castle after the capture of the leader of the Yokoyamas.

Three centuries later, in 1872, it was destroyed during modernization efforts by the Meiji government.

More recently, in 1986, the keep was reconstructed and is now a local history museum.

Unlike more famous castles - Osaka, Himeji, Kumamoto - there were hardly any visitors.

This was true of the entire city, which was eerily deserted.

With no other major temples or sites, the city sees few visitors as most continue on to Kinosaki, Maizuru, or places along the coast such as Tango.

For cyclists - especially boys of a certain age - the long, straight, barren shopping arcades present a delectable course for racing.

Fukuchiyama is 90 minutes via express train from Kyoto or Osaka


Deserted FukuchiyamaCycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tofu Seller Kyoto

Tofu Seller豆腐自転車の伯父さん

It was akin to finding a spotted owl deep in a virgin forest.

We are no ornithologists, but experienced a frisson when we heard the plaintive bleat of the tofu seller coming unseen from the next block over.

We finally caught up with him as he was pedaling slowly in front of Jofukuji Temple, in the Nishijin area of Kyoto.

In the past, vendors plied the streets on big sturdy bikes selling, among other items, tofu, potatoes, fish, vegetables, laundry poles, and more. With the exception of the fall yaki-imo (roasted sweet potato) sellers, many of them are now no more.

This old boy did not seem in much of a hurry, slowly moving forward with his cart full of tofu behind him.

In his right hand is a tin horn he blows to alert the neighbors that he is close by.


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Jofukuji TempleTags

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cycling Ohara Kyoto

Sanzenin Temple自転車で京都大原へ

Tucked in a valley north of Kyoto is the village of Ohara.

From a bird's perspective, it is the valley east of the village of Kurama. If the bird were to continue on west - away from Ohara - she would next come to the valley where cyclists can find the beautifully preserved area of Kumogahata

All three are ridable.

The ride to Ohara, especially, is not particularly demanding. From downtown Kyoto, it can be done in two hours. From Kitayama, it will take an hour or so. Following Route 367 up, the climb is never severe.

What awaits is Sanzenin Temple.

The Temple is perched not far from edge of the mountains that separate Kyoto from neighboring Shiga Prefecture.

It was established at the beginning of the Heian Period (794-1185 C.E.) by Saicho, who founded the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism.

Sanzenin is best known for its gardens and beautiful maple trees.

Also nearby are Raigoin Temple and Otonashi no Taki, a gorgeous waterfalls about 20 minutes away on foot from Sanzenin.

After visiting these, one can ride about fifteen minutes to the other side of the village and visit Jakoin Temple.


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Sanzenin TempleTags

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kyoto Cycling Writing Mat


The item pictured at right is a "shitajiki," which is a kind of mat Japanese children place under a piece of paper when they are practicing their Chinese characters or drawing.

It is firm and makes writing or drawing easier and more precise.

Usually, a "shitajiki" features something cute, a popular "character" or tv personality.

This one serves a second purpose: teaching students the correct way to ride a bicycle.

That is its title: The Correct Way to Ride a Bike.

It covers the basics - which are important in crowded urban Japan. Among other tips, they include looking both ways, wearing a helmet. the meaning of signs, traffic law, etc.

Rules, bloody rules, one thinks when an officious cop stops us.

Still, for those just starting out, riding the streets of Kyoto can be tricky, and it is a good idea to start and stay safe.


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cycling to Ryonaji Temple Kyoto

Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto龍安寺まで自転車

Ryoanji Temple is one of Kyoto's gems.

It is a zen temple in northwest Kyoto, a short ride from both Kinkakuji Temple and Ninnaji Temple. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The current location of the temple was originally an estate that belonged to the Fujiwara clan. It then came under the control of a sub-branch of the family, the Hosokawas.

Katsumoto Hosokawa willed the property, ruined during the Onin War, to become a zen sect temple. 

Ryoanji is the most famous rock garden in Japan. It also has a fantastic garden. The garden has a large pond, and an almost southeast Asian feel.

Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (8:30 to 16:30 December through February)
Admission: 500 yen

13 Ryoanji Goryonoshita-cho
Ukyo-ku Kyoto
Tel: 075 463 2216


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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cycling Kyoto Kamo River

Kamo River自転車で鴨川を楽しむ

Kyoto is blessed with one of the most beautiful rivers in Japan.

The Kamo River flows through the center of Kyoto, and is used and embraced by the city and its citizens.

Unlike many rivers in Japan - concreted over and under - and perceived of as smelly and or dangerous, the Kamo is a place people flock to.

On both sides there are paths that are used by pedestrians, cyclists, and picnickers.

On weekends the river is full of families with children.

And it is a great ride.


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Friday, September 2, 2011

Riding Near Hanazono Station Kyoto

Cycling boys near Hanazono Station Kyoto花園駅の近くで自転車で帰宅

On a narrow road between Hanazono Station and Ninnaji Temple, a couple of school boys pedaled home.

The road is just west of Myoshinji Temple.

They are heading towards Narabigaoka Junior High School, and the mountain behind it is also called Narabigaoka.

The mountain was at one point owned by Ninnaji, and there were fears it would be developed.

The city of Kyoto however purchased the land, and a beautiful green space was saved.

It is not just a pretty park though. Within its hills are the burial mounds under which local aristocrats were interred.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Asahi Cycle Kitaoji Kyoto

Asahi Cycle自転車あさひ北大路

 Along Kitaoji Dori, just east of the Kamo River, is a mega bike store.

Asahi Cycle is a chain store that sells just about anything. It has a large showroom that is packed to the rafters bikes and bike stuff. 

We are not snobs but prefer to shop in smaller, locally owned and run shops.

Still, hats off to Asahi, which must be doing something right.

The Sakai based company was recently listed on Forbes Magazines "Asia's 200 Best Under A Billion" - the only Japanese company to make the cut.


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