Charge Up On Luck & Love At Kyoto Power Spots (2)

Feel spiritually recharged at these spots believed to impart its visitors with a special energy, and bring home some luck in the form of an omamori (charm)!

Jishu Jinja Shrine (Kiyomizu Temple)

Jisha Jinja
For: Love/Good Marriage/Matchmaking
Located  behind  the  World  Heritage  site  of  Kiyomizudera  Temple,  this  shrine  is  the ultimate  power  spot  to charge  up  on  luck in  love.  Japanese  have  made  pilgrimages to the gods of love believed to reside here since 1,300 years ago. The main god, Okuninushi no Mikoto, is worshipped as the god of abundance, luck and happy marriages. Test your love luck by walking between the “love fortune-telling stones” here. Get a love charm for 500 yen, or one for good marriage for 1,000 yen.
Address: Kiyomizu Ichome 317, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Hours: 9am – 5pm

Suga Jinja Shrine (Kotsu JinjaShrine)

Suga Jinja
For: Traffic Safety/Matchmaking
The  Kotsu  (Traffic)  Jinja  Shrine  is  the  only  shrine  in  Japan  dedicated  to the  gods of traffic  and  travel  safety  and  people  from  all  over  Japan  come  here  to  pray  for  safe journeys.  Car  owners  can  get  their  vehicles  blessed  at  a  drive-through purification station. In the same premise is the Suga Jinja Shrine, whose main god is the god of the sea and storms, Susano-o no Mikoto, who is married to another deity and prayed to for happy marriage.    
Address: 1 Shogoin Entomi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto  
Hours: 9am – 5pm

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
Fushimi Inari
For: Prosperity and good business
This  is  probably  the  most recognized  Kyoto  shrine  for  its  thousands  of  vermilion toriigates  lining  the  paths  in  its  compound.  Each  gate  is  donated  by  an  individual  or company, starting from 175,000 yen for a small gate and 1 million yen for a larger one. This  is  the  head  shrine  of  Inari,  the  Shinto  god  of  rice  and  patron  of  businesses  and merchants. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, explaining the many fox statues in the temple grounds.
Address: Fukakusayabunouchi-Cho 68, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
Hours: Always Open

Charge Up On Luck & Love At Kyoto Power Spots (1)

Feel spiritually recharged at these spots believed to impart its visitors with a special energy, and bring home some luck in the form of an omamori (charm)!

Kifune Jinja Shrine

For: Rain, protection from floods, ship traveling

This 1,600 year old shrine is said to enshrine the gods of water, Takaokami-no-kami and Kuraokami-no-kami.  As  a  sign  here  says, “Water  is  life”,  and  through  the  centuries, farmers, Imperial messengers and more have come to seek rain, protection from floods, and  safe  ship  travels.  Pick up  a Mizuura  Mikuji (water  fortune  paper  slip),  unique  to this shrine, which reveals your fortune when placed upon the sacred waters here. It can even be translated into four languages (including English) by scanning the QR code on the slip!

Address: 180 Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Shrine Hours: 6am – 6pm (Dec. – Apr.), 6am – 8pm (May – Nov.)
Omikuji & Omamori Conferment Desk: 9am – 4:30pm

Kifune

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

For: Academics, passing exams, improving skills

The first Japanese shrine to enshrine a person as a deity, this is the main shrine of over 12,000, dedicated to the god of academics, Sugawara no Michizane. Likewise, students preparing  for  exams  and  anyone  wishing  to improve  their  skills  come here  to rub  the cow statues at this National Treasure, also famed for its picturesque ume (plum) trees. If the Ume Blossom Festival on Feb. 25, is too early for your trip, stop by on the 25th of any month for the street market, “Tenjin-san’s Festival”. Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyou-ku, Kyoto   Roumon Gate Hours: 5am – 6pm (Apr. – Sept.), 5:30am – 5:30pm (Oct. – Mar.) Prayer Hours: 9am – 4:30pm Office Hours: 9am – 5pm Kyoto Ebisu JinjaShrineWealth, good business, agriculture and fishing Ebisu  is  the  god  of  wealth  and  prosperity,  and  the  only  one  of  the  seven  lucky  gods native to Japan. While small business owners and shop keepers especially flock here in early January for the Toka Ebisu festival – visitors come all year round to seek blessings upon their businesses from this fisherman god, picking up charms here in the form of boats and red sea bream (tai). Knock on the worship hall wall before leaving, as it’s said Ebisu is hard of hearing!

Address: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamato-oji Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Hours: 9am – 5pm

Kitano

Imamiya Jinja Shrine

For: Longevity, good health, matchmaking

Relocated here in 1001 to prevent the spread of epidemics in Kyoto, this shrine protects from illness and disease, and enshrines deities for good health. Besides bringing home an  omamori,  find  the  deity’s  stone  Ahokashi-san  here,  which  is  said  to  possess wish-granting powers. During sakura season, stop by the Yasurai Matsuri – one of the Kyoto’s Top Three Unusual Festivals – on the second Sunday of April. Those who walk under the sakura and camellia decorated giant red umbrellas are said to stay healthy throughout the year!

Address: 21 Murasakino, Imamiya-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto

Hours: 9am – 5pm

Imamiya

Kyoto Ebisu Jinja Shrine

For: Wealth, good business, agriculture and fishing

Ebisu  is  the  god  of  wealth  and  prosperity,  and  the  only  one  of  the  seven  lucky  gods native to Japan. While small business owners and shop keepers especially flock here in early January for the Toka Ebisu festival – visitors come all year round to seek blessings upon their businesses from this fisherman god, picking up charms here in the form of boats and red sea bream (tai). Knock on the worship hall wall before leaving, as it’s said Ebisu is hard of hearing!

Address: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamato-oji Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Hours: 9am – 5pm

Ebisu

 

Sakura Sightseeing In Kyoto (2)

See the Eternal City tinted in the delicate pink of Spring and sigh at the fleeting beauty of the sakura. Here are the top spots to for ohanami (cherry blossom viewing).

5) Maruyama Park

The  12m  tall “Gion  no Yozakura (Night Sakura of Gion)” weeping cherry tree here is a Kyoto sakura icon. The night illumination of this and some other 680 cherry trees in four varieties make Kyoto’s oldest park (since 1886) a favourite night spot.

Maruyama

6) Keage Incline

Once used as a ship-transporting railway between canals until the 1940s – the longest incline  rail  in  the  world –  this  582m  track  is famous  for  its  nearly  100 Yamazakura  and  Somei  Yoshino cherry  trees.  The  eastside  of  Niomon  Dori  is  the best viewing spot!

Keage

7) Philosopher’sWalk

Named  after  famous  philosopher  Kitaro Nishida  who meditated daily along  this path, the cherry blossoms here form a pink canopy over this 1.5km canal route, gently  sprinkling  petals  along  its  waters. Cited  as one  of  Japan’s  Top  100 Walking Paths, there’s no better place to ponder!

Philosopher

8) Kamo River

Stroll  along  the  river bank  or  have  a  picnic  under  the  cascade  of beni  (red) weeping  sakura  that  forms  during  full  bloom,  before  following  the  path  to  the  Kyoto Botanical Gardens’500 cherry trees consisting of 70 varieties, which are illuminated at night.

Kamo river

Sakura Sightseeing In Kyoto (1)

See the Eternal City tinted in the delicate pink of Spring and sigh at the fleeting beauty of the sakura. Here are the top spots to for ohanami (cherry blossom viewing).

1)  Tenryu-ji Temple

This is Kyoto’s most famous temple, with the Arashiyama mountains as a backdrop and a Zen garden – Sogenchi-teien – that has been recognized by the Japanese government as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The weeping sakura tree at the Tahoden Sanctuary is a must-see.

Tenryu-ji

2)  Ninna-ji Temple

This World Heritage Site is famous for its locally-cultivated sakura trees, called the Omuro sakura,  which  are  shorter  in  height  and  bloom  one  week  later  than  the  mainstream Somei  Yoshino  variety.  See  the  timeless  beauty  of  these 200 sakura  trees,  which  have been enjoyed here for over 400 years.

Ninnaiji

3)  Hirano Shrine

See over 60 varieties of sakura trees here, particularly the early blossoming of the Sakigake sakura which  is  said  to  herald  the  start  of  the  ohanami  season.  The  shrine’s  annual  cherry blossom festival is the oldest in Kyoto, dating back to 985 AD.

Hirano Jinja

4)  Nijo Castle

50  varieties  of  sakura –  including  Satozakura  and  many  rare  types –  are  scattered throughout  this  World  Heritage  Site,  built  as  the  Kyoto  residence  for  Japan’s  first shogun. Evening entertainment such as taiko drumming, koto performances and tea ceremonies accompany the evening “light up” hours.

Nijo

Watch out for Part II of this series for more must-see sakura spots!

 

How to ohanami:

-Ohanami involves sitting under a sakura tree end enjoying its natural beauty with a picnic. So bring a mat or sheet to sit on for your ohanami session and a small blanket as it can get cold sitting in the open.

-Check the dates of the local ohanami festival, where plenty of food stalls and some public events or performances will be set up

-Go early if you want to get a good ohanami viewing spot!

-The start of the cherry blossom season varies from year to year, but is generally from late March to mid-April in Kyoto (depending on the region).

 

 

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Situated in Fushimi-ku, about 2km south-east of Kyoto station, the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is said to originate from the Hata clan’s worship of the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. As centuries went on, the god also became known as the one to ensure prosperity in business. People often call it “Oinari-san,” and is the head shrine of no less than 30,000 Inari branch shrines nationwide today.

3The Fushimi Inari-taisha has drawn countless businessmen to worship here, especially at the first prayers of the New Year. After all, Oinari-san is the god of prosperity. Visitors may be overwhelmed by over 5,000 orange-colored torii gates standing on the approach that were donated and inscribed by worshippers thankful for their prosperity.
1

2

The shrine is also characterized by dozens of statues of foxes, which are considered to be messengers of the god. In Japanese mythology, foxes can be both a force of good and a force of evil. However, the foxes from Fushimi Inari are good-natured and divine. A fox’s power is determined by how many torii gates there are on the shrine’s property. It is said that messenger foxes have to jump over all their shrine’s torii gates every day, thus becoming stronger. The more gates a shrine has, the more a fox has to jump. Fushimi Inari has the most gates of all the Inari shrines, making the foxes here the strongest.

The sanctuary consists of several buildings, including the Sakura-mon Gate and Go-Honden Shrine, followed by a 4km tunnel trail with thousands of torii gates that stretches to the top of Mt. Inari. These tunnel gates have become very famous as they’ve been featured in movies such as “Memoirs of a Geisha”.

4Additionally, there are small restaurants and shops along the street to the shrine, where you can try the shrine related dishes such as kitsune udon (fox udon), a noodle soup topped with pieces of fried tofu that is said to be fox’s favorite food, and inari sushi, fried tofu wrapped around sushi rice. Of course you cannot leave without buying a fox-themed souvenir.
7

Access

A 5-minute ride from Kyoto Station to JR Nara Line Inari Station and a short walk from Keihan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station

Omotenashi In A Ramen Bowl

1024px-Ramen_and_fried_rice_by_shibainu_in_Kichijyoji,_Tokyo

One of Japan’s biggest assets is its hospitality and the quality of service. Japanese people’s meticulousness and proactive ideas are surely a source of Japan Inc.’s promising brand. In fact, this philosophy is transcended and submerged to a course of day-to-day activities in Japan. Let’s cite an example that shows this trait.

This is a bowl of ramen noodle from TENKAIPPIN, a Kyoto-based ramen chain, known for its super-thick (viscous) soup. This thick soup has got very dense flavor (that’s why customers tend to order a small bowl of rice with ramen so they can dip rice into the soup and eat it.) and they tend to drink it up until the last drop. When the last drop of soup is finished something emerges on the very bottom of the ramen bowl.

IMG_7252

A sentence, “We’ll be looking forward to your visit again tomorrow.” Good surprise is surely one of the core ingredients to gain attention of customers, and ultimately leads to loyalty. But, considering having this thick soup 2 days in row – you might want to consider taking Alka-Seltzer before you hit the next round.

 

TENKAIPPIN

One of the most popular Ramen restaurant chains, famous for its thick soup.

http://www.tenkaippin.co.jp/

 

Gion: Geisha Street In Kyoto

R_Gion photo AC (6)

Gion, one of the symbols of Kyoto, was founded in the Middle Ages in front of the Yasaka-jinja Shrine. It is a brilliant geisha district located on both sides of the Kamo-gawa River. The area has been developed for tourism and a part of Gion is a national historical preservation Viagra pills district. The City of Kyoto has recently completed a project to restore the streets and to preserve the original beauty of Gion.

There are beenold-style Japanese houses called machiya (townhouses), some of which have been known as ochaya (tea houses) since the late 1500′s. The patrons of Gion—from the samurai warriors to modern-day businessmen—have been entertained by maiko (geisha in training) and geisha for centuries in these traditional buildings.

R_Gion photo AC (5)

In the private world inside ochaya, the evening entertainment often includes cocktails, chatting, games, as well as traditional Japanese music, singing and dancing. Shinbashi-dori Street has some traditional ochaya and okiya (geisha houses) that you can see geisha and maiko in kimono in the evening when they walk along the street to and from their engagements. Particularly, maiko draws visitors’ attention by wearing their pokkuri, high-sold clogs.

R_Gion photo AC (4)

Gion is often mistaken for a red-light district. In fact, geisha is not prostitutes but entertainers.

Another attraction is the Yasaka-jinja Shrine, popularly called Gion-san. The shrine has a pleasant garden that is a popular site for hanami (cherry blossom viewings). The shrine is the venue for Gion Festival that attracts millions of people during the festival period in July.

m_180285