by / on June 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM / in Gion Matsuri, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Ayagasa-Hoko (綾傘鉾) During the Yamaboko Junko (山鉾巡行) in Kyoto,2012!

The Ayagasa-Hoko (綾傘鉾) is one of the parasol-type floats that are regarded as a prototype of the Gion festival floats. The Ayagasa-Hoko (綾傘鉾) features a large parasol, and is accompanied by divine messenger boys known as “Chigo”, and a troupe of magicians and stick-twirlers during the parade. The members who accompany the Ayagasa-Hoko (綾傘鉾) float during the parade wear “red-bear” masks with long […]

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by / on June 23, 2012 at 8:28 PM / in Gion Matsuri, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Fune-hoko (船鉾) During the Yamaboko Junko (山鉾巡行) in Kyoto,2012!

The Fune-hoko (船鉾) float is based on a famous story about the legendary Empress Jingu of ancient Japan. After the death of her husband, and while pregnant with a child, Empress Jingu armed herself and headed for war aboard a ship. The Fune-hoko (船鉾) float as a whole is shaped like a boat and is enclosed with a vermillion parapet. On the […]

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by / on June 22, 2012 at 9:35 AM / in Gion Matsuri, Kamigyō-ku, Temples-Shrines

En-no-Gyoja-Yama (役行者山) During the Yamaboko Junko (山鉾巡行) in Kyoto,2012!

The En-no-Gyoja-Yama (役行者山) float has existed since the times before the Onin Wars (1467-1477) and is carried on the shoulders of people during the Gion festival parade. The sacred doll of the En-no-Gyoja-Yama (役行者山) float represents En-no-Ozunu, commonly known as En-no-Gyoja, who founded Shugen-do (aesthetic Shinto-Buddhism practiced in the mountains) in Japan, at the end of the 7th century. Those who practiced […]

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by / on March 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM / in Baikasai!, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Baikasai at Kitano Tenman Gu, Kyoto!

Kitano Tenman-gū is a Shinto shrine in Kamigyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan. It was built in 947, to appease the angry spirit of bureaucrat, scholar and poet Sugawara no Michizane, who had been exiled as a result of political manoeuvres of his enemies in the Fujiwara clan. The shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor […]

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by / on November 4, 2011 at 8:37 PM / in Jidai Matsuri, Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Temples-Shrines

Jidai Matsuri: Festival of Ages in Kyoto City!

Jidai Matsuri is one of Kyoto’s Big Three festivals, the other two being Aoi Matsuri and Gion Matsuri. Jidai Matsuri is always held on October the 22nd (though the actual festivities begin on October the 15th), which is what many see as Kyoto’s birthday, as that is the day that Emperor Kanmu, in the year 794, moved the capital from […]

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by / on October 4, 2011 at 12:09 PM / in Kamigyō-ku, Temples-Shrines

The Merlin of Japan: Abe no Seimei!

Seimei Shrine is an individual and unusual temple in Japan, with an air of mystery and myth.As one of the oddities, the shrine’s crest is that of a shining golden bell-flower, seen whittled in the main torii. What is unusual about this crest is that usually, the shrine’s name or the name of the god worshiped at the shrine are […]

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by / on February 4, 2011 at 10:24 PM / in Kamigyō-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Setsubun, Temples-Shrines

Setsubun in Kitano Tenman-gu, Kyoto, Japan.

Today, February the 3rd, was the day of the Setsubun Festival which we visited at Kitano tenman-gu. Setsubun literally means ‘seasonal division’, and it celebrates the passage from winter into spring. The most famous custom of Setsubun is the Mame-maki, or Bean Throwing, where people throw dried beans at people dressed in oni masks or out the door to purify […]

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