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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kyoto Star Festival Tanabata 2014

Kyoto-Tanabata天の川、足元に浮かぶ 「京の七夕」2日開幕

The Japanese Star Festival known locally as Tanabata is about to kick off in two Kyoto locations.

From August 2 - 11 there will be artistic illumination representing the Milky Way.

In central Kyoto, between Oike Bridge and Shijo Bridge on the Misosogi River - the narrow canal that abuts the restaurants on Kiyamachi and sits between the pedestrian walkway and the Kamo River - there will be illumination.

In addition there will be lighting in the Horikawa Canal, which is farther west.

The illumination will be lit every night between 7 and 9:30 pm.

For those going on bike, parking is available on Oike.

More Tanabata events can be found here.

Photo©Kyoto Shinbun (2013)

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kyoto Japan Cycling News 27 July 2014

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10 Tours and 205 Tries Later, Australian Wins a Stage New York Times

Glasgow 2014: Track cycling BBC

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Jean-Christophe Péraud, le «vieux» qui grimpe sans faire de bruit Libération

Los Angeles bike trains - beating the traffic in a car-centric city Guardian

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hiking Mount Atago on July 31 at Night

Mount Atago Kyoto愛宕山千日参り

The night of July 31 is magic in Kyoto.

On that night, thousands of hikers climb Mount Atago - at night.

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

The festival that takes place that night is known as "Sennichi Tsuyasai," which roughly translates as one thousand days all night festival.

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

The hike is about 4 kilometers from top to bottom, though a bit shorter if you start from the opposite side of the mountain.

What makes this event special is that most of the climbers do so after dark. The city strings up lights from the bottom 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


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Rainy Season Almost Over in Kyoto

Kyoto Bicycle Chic梅雨明け京都

Rainy season is almost officially over.

The six-week season of cool nights and mornings and muggy days is now in its final throes.

The sound of the cicadas is the main clue. They are singing their high summer song, and it is hot.

That means High Summer is upon us.

In Kyoto, late July until mid-September equals torrid daytime temperatures.

Cycling is brutal this time of year.

We tend to do only local runs - shopping, going out at night - until early autumn.

From that point on, when Kyoto weather is sweet and forgiving, we head into the hills on the bike.


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kyoto Japan Cycling News 20 July 2014

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Posing a Problem at the Tour:At Tour de France, Safety Concerns Arise About Selfies New York Times

Tour de France - Stage 13 as it happened BBC

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Tour de France : les tricolores en quête d'un podium à Paris Libération

MPs' report shows even the slightly inept can get it right on cycling Guardian

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kyoto Yoiyama Festival Images 2013

Kyoto Yoiyama 2013宵山2013年のイメージ

We will be out and about at Kyoto's annual Yoiyama festival. Downtown basically closes for three nights in the leadup to the July 17 Gion Festival.

Here is a taste of some of the images from last year.

The "hoko" floats are out on display, and thousands and thousands of Kyotoites will be out in their yukata robes.

It is a wonderful, special night.


Kyoto Yoiyama 2013

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kyoto Cycling News 13 July 2014

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A Zany Imagination Runs Riot: Colin Furze: Self-Taught Engineer and D.I.Y. Superhero New York Times

Tour de France: Chris Froome fractured left wrist and right hand BBC

Where to watch the Tour de France TODAY London Cyclist

Tour de France : Adam Hansen, le travailleur à la chaîne Libération

Why is Edinburgh's Waverley station making cyclists so unwelcome? Guardian

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Typhoon Hits Kyoto, Cycling Tough

台風8号、鹿児島に上陸 九州横断し四国付近へ印刷用画面を開く

A massive once in ten year typhoon is barreling up Honshu Island and headed towards Kyoto.

Typhoon 8 made landfall in Kagoshima just before 7 am today.

It is raining now in Kyoto, and heavy rains are predicted for this afternoon and tonight.

Hopefully, the skies will be blue and bright for tomorrow's commute to Demachiyanagi.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kyoto Yoiyama Festival 2014

Yoiyama Kyoto 2012宵山2014年

On what is no doubt Japan's largest street party - the three consecutive nights in Kyoto prior to the climax of Gion Festival, on July 17 - is about to kick off. On those three nights - each of those three nights - hundreds of thousands of revelers will be out and about.

The first of the "Yama" nights is Yoiyoiyoiyama (宵々々山). The next night, July 15th, is known as Yoiyoiyama (宵々山) . The climax is the night before the parade on the 17th and is called Yoiyama (宵山). A typical turnout on the final night is 300,000 - 500,000 people

On each of these three nights, most of downtown Kyoto is closed to vehicular traffic. Moreover, the massive floats that are pulled around the city on July 17th are put out on display in the areas they represent, all of which are close to Shijo - Karasuma.

Streets are filled with stalls selling food - yakitori (barbecued chicken skewers), taiyaki, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, traditional Japanese sweets - and carnival games for children.

Many come dressed in yukata (a light cotton summer kimono). Old and young come with fans, Japanese purses, and other traditional gear as they enjoy the evening strolling around the central part of the city.

Yoiyama Kyoto 2012Last, in certain areas. private houses open their entryways to the public to exhibit valuable family heirlooms. This custom dates back centuries and is known as the Byobu Matsuri, or Folding Screen Festival.

For those arriving on a bicycle, park along Oike Dori. Then walk. Don't even think of cycling in central Kyoto on these nights.


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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kyoto Cycling News 6 July 2014

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Biking by Day, Luxury by Night New York Times

Tour de France 2014: Yorkshire ready for Grand Depart BBC

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Cyclisme africain A qui le Tour ? Libération

Lance Armstrong was both a fraud and cycling’s most high profile drugs victim Guardian

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cycling Ohara Kyoto

Ohara Farm House自転車で大原へ

Ohara is a lovely country village in the hills north of Kyoto.

It also has a gorgeous temple, Sanzenin Temple, that is well worth visiting.

From the Kitayama area of Kyoto, head up Route 367 all the way to Ohara. It is a relatively easy incline, and will take about 45 minutes from Kitayam to Ohara, if that.

Also in Ohara are Raigoin Temple, and Otonashi no Taki ("no sound waterfall").

Raigoin is about five minutes on foot up a slope from Sanzenin. It is quieter and less visited than the more famous temple below, and was founded in the middle of the ninth century.

For those with time, a 15-minute ride to the other side of the valley lies Jakkoin Temple. It was severely damaged in 2000 in a horrific act of arson but has been rebuilt.

The area is also along the Kyoto loop hiking trail that begins in Fushimi Inari and ends at Kokedera Temple.

Ohara Sign©

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