by / on July 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM / in Gion Matsuri, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Arare Tenjin Yama (天神山) During the Gion Matsuri (祇園祭り) in Kyoto, 2012!

Some 500 years ago, when a large fire broke out in Kyoto, hail suddenly fell from the sky and extinguished the fierce fire. Along with the hail stones a small image of Tenjin, the heavenly god of thunder, is also said to have fallen from heaven, which was the divine incarnation of Sugawara no Michizane, a renowned scholar and statesman […]

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by / on July 6, 2013 at 2:56 PM / in Gion Matsuri, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Abura Tenjin Yama (油天神山) During the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto!

The Abura Tenjin Yama (油天神山) float enshrines Michizane Sugawara. Deified as Tenjin (Deity of thunder), a renowned scholar statesman who lived about 1,100 years ago. A small Tenjin shrine dedicated to Michizane, the patron of scholastic achievements, exists in the neighbourhood of Abura no Kouji Street, after which this float is named. The Abura Tenjin Yama (油天神山) float has a […]

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by / on July 4, 2013 at 6:27 PM / in Interesting Facts, Kamigyō-ku, Temples-Shrines, Understanding Shinto.

Nagoshi-no-harae, at the Kitano Tenman-gū!

“Great Purification”: On this day people go to a shrine and pass through a chinowa (gate of reed) to be purified of all defilements (kegare) and protected from misfortune. A few days ago it was Nagoshi-no-harae (夏越の祓) or “Summer Purification” at the Kitano Tenman-gū (北野天満宮) in Kyoto! On the last day of the sixth or seventh month (called Nagoshi-no-harae  or […]

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by / on February 26, 2013 at 12:38 PM / in Baikasai!, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Tea Ceremony at Kitano Tenman-gū In Kyoto!

Tea Ceremony: Today, February the 25th, was the annual “Baika-sai” Plum Blossom Viewing Festival at Kitano Tenman-gū Shrine (北野天満宮) in Kyoto. The high-lite is a Tea Ceremony performed by the geiko and maiko from the nearby Kamishichiken district. Very beautiful kimonos, so gracious too, a privilege to see. Although, to have the whipped green matcha tea and a sweet (wagashi), […]

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by / on February 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM / in Kamigyō-ku, Temples-Shrines

Wake no Kiyomaro story!

Along Karasuma dori, in Kyoto, across from the Imperial Palace grounds is a small shrine that is very famous. On the outer wall is a pictorial displayed of the Wake no Kiyomaro story.  The main characters are Wake no Kiyomaro (和気清麻呂), Wake no Hiromushi hime and Yuge no Dōkyō (道鏡). The first two are the ones who defended the imperial […]

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by / on February 18, 2013 at 10:06 AM / in Kamigyō-ku, Temples-Shrines

The Goō Shrine (護王神社) and Wake no Kiyomaro!

Recently I visited the Goō Shrine (護王神社) in Kyoto. It’s easy to find, right across from the Imperial Palace grounds on Karasuma dori. Goō shrine is a very colorful shrine and is quite different from other Shinto shrines. The reason for this can be found in the history of the shrine. Wake no Kiyomaro and his elder sister Hiromushi hime […]

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by / on November 5, 2012 at 5:56 PM / in Kamigyō-ku, Kyōto Gosho, Oikeniwa, Oikeniwa garden, Out Of The Box, Temples-Shrines

OikeNiwa Garden at the Kyoto Imperial Palace!

Japanese gardens are renowned for their simplicity and beauty and the Oikeniwa garden is one such example. It is a landscape garden and features a spacious pond with it’s strolling pathway around the pond. The front shoreline called Suhama is covered with pebbled stones and a path of large unevenly shaped stepping stones leads down to the water’s edge. Various […]

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