two women in purple and pink kimono standing on street

General information

Kyoto is a national center for traditional practices such as chado (tea ceremony) and ikebana ( flower arrangement) , the birthplace of kabuki and a leading center for calligraphy, painting and sculpture.

The city plays a unique role in preserving Japanese national identity and is believed to be visited by a third of the country’s population every year. Despite this, Kyoto is a surprisingly typical modern city in Japan, with its usual shapeless concrete buildings adjacent to remarkable islands of beauty and culture.

For a thousand years, Kyoto was the cultural and spiritual center of Japanese civilization, the seat of deeply revered emperors from the end of the 8th century. and before the Meiji Restoration at the end of the 19th century. Initially, the emperors moved their capital to Kyoto to escape the growing influence of the Buddhist elite in Nara. For a short time, there was even a de facto ban on the construction of Buddhist temples in the new capital. Ironically, the city is now world famous for its temples.

The name of the city is translated as “the capital”, although it was originally called Heiankyo, which means “the capital of tranquility,” because this is how the golden era of Heian was called, “tranquility,” which lasted from the 8th to the 12th century. During this period, Kyoto flourished as a center of Japanese culture and creativity. However, his fate changed dramatically in the era of the Warring States (1467-1568) , which culminated in the 16th century. unification of commanders Nobunaga and Hideyoshi.

By and large, the city never recovered from the consequences of Hideyoshi’s adoption in the early 17th century. decisions to move the capital to Edo (present-day Tokyo) . An additional blow came in 1868 when the court moved to Tokyo, the decision of which was made by the young emperor Meiji. And nevertheless, the city remained the custodian of the nation’s most outstanding cultural achievements and its architectural heritage.

Imperial Residences in Kyoto The Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace and the Katsura and Sugakuin Imperial Villas are must-see places for anyone with even the slightest interest in Japanese architecture, design and aesthetics. However, since all these objects remain the property of the emperor, it is necessary to inquire about the possibility of visiting them at the local office of the Imperial Court Office, which is in charge of all the nuances of life and the daily routine of the imperial family. The branch is located on the grounds of the palace, directly south of Imadegawa-dori Street. The minimum age for applying to visit is 18 years old, a passport is required. You can also reserve a visit at the Internet address: http: // sankan. kunaicho.go.jp .

The fire destroyed the first Imperial Palace of the 8th century, and the existing building is its 19th century reconstruction. Behind the western gate of Seisomon is the Shishinden ceremonial hall, which hosts the enthronement ceremonies of the emperors (Kyoto retained this privilege) and New Year’s receptions. To the west is the private chapel of the Emperor Seiryoden (“Room of Calm and Cool”) , built of cypress wood , which is really calm and cool and is decorated in red, white and black.

If you can see only one of the imperial villas, opt for Katsura, a must-see attraction in the city. The masterfully designed and executed estate is one of Japan’s masterpieces of sophisticated residential architecture and landscape design. All walls in each of the villa’s seven pavilions are sliding and can be retracted so as not to obscure the view of the surrounding landscape, including the villa’s own garden and the Arashiyama Hills beyond.

Villa Sugakuin is located at the foot of the sacred Mount Hiei. The vast grounds are an excellent example of a “walking” garden (such gardens were popular during the Edo period) . Built in the 17th century. Shogun for the abdicated Emperor Sugakuin – these are, in fact, three villas, each with graceful teahouses scattered around the garden. The upper villa – the largest of the three – is crowned with a wonderful alley framed by pine trees.

City exploration

Kyoto is a surprisingly large city. Since numerous attractions are evenly distributed throughout its territory, you need a good map. The city has two metro lines, several small private rail lines and an extensive bus network. If you do not want to use expensive taxis, you can also get a bus map, which can be obtained from the tourist information offices at Kyoto Station and from any JNTO office. However, given that there are more than 1,500 Buddhist temples, 200 Shinto shrines, many museums and majestic imperial palaces, you will still not be able to see them all.

Try to get your hands on the Kyoto Visitor’s Guide, a free glossy monthly with a cultural repertoire and information on temples, gardens, festivals, exhibitions, restaurants and even accommodation options. When exploring the city, you should definitely be guided by the principle of “less is more” and set yourself the optimal pace.

Higashiyama

Higashiyama in the eastern part of the city has temples, theaters, museums and parks, and is a good starting point for exploring the city on foot.

Kiyomizu Temple, one of the oldest in Kyoto, is so popular that it is as crowded on Sundays as the Kyoto subway during rush hour. But don’t let that discourage you. The temple was founded in 788, shortly before the city entered its golden age as an imperial capital, and its many buildings are picturesquely molded to the steep slope of Mount Higashiyama, descending from it in a cascade of thatched and tiled roofs. However, most of what you see today is made in the 17th century. reconstruction of the original buildings of the 8th century The complex occupies a vast area, and its main attraction is the hondo (main hall)… Its protruding beyond the perimeter of the building and soaring high above the slope is supported by a lattice structure consisting of 139 interconnected massive beams. Next door on the slope is another terrace, from which members of the imperial court and members of the nobility enjoyed dancing and music performed on the wide hondo terrace. By the way, the popular expression “to jump off the Kiyomizu terrace” means to take a bold and risky step.

From the main hall, steps lead down to Otova-no-taki – a waterfall, where visitors drink water from a spring that, as they say, has many healing properties, and in the eyes of true believers – and truly divine power. A short walk takes you to a small pagoda on the opposite side of the valley, overlooking the entire temple complex.

Crowds flock to Kiyomizu to admire the lush and delicate cherry blossoms in spring, a riot of maple colors in autumn, and special lighting effects in the evenings (check days and hours at any tourist office) .

From the temple, you can walk to the Gion Higashiyama area, the city’s main hub for traditional theater, arts, and now antiquities. It is especially famous as the last training center for the most famous residents of the city – geisha. It is good to walk here, soaking up the sights and sounds of the secluded Kyoto neighborhood, which remains committed to traditional arts and entertainment. For your curiosity and patience, you will probably be rewarded with the chance to meet a real geisha or maiko (student of a geisha) hurrying to a meeting or class, and you can hear the many layers of her magnificent – and unimaginably heavy – silk kimono rustling as you do so.

Gion attracts collectors and sellers of Japanese antiques from all over the world like a magnet. Prices are usually high, but even if you are not going to part with a significant amount, it is interesting to just look at the treasures on offer, to get a true taste of traditional Japanese design and aesthetics. Some shops are more like small museums, offering exclusive examples of genuine art.

Appeared back in the 17th century. The Minamiza Theater, the oldest in Japan, in December brings to the attention of the audience the famous production of the Kaomise Kabuki Theater. Foreign audiences, from March to November, can experience traditional art by watching the Gion Corner show at Yasaka Hall, made up of tiny gems of Japanese culture. In a cozy little room, in 1 hour you will be introduced to the tea ceremony, traditional music and dance, the art of flower arranging, puppetry and kyogen farce. Tickets for the Gion Corner can usually be purchased through the hotel where you are staying and at the Tourist Information Center.

In the northeastern part of Gion, Maruyama Park is one of the most popular recreational areas in Kyoto, famous for the delightful cherry blossoms in early April. The park is bordered by two important temples. Massive Chioninji – temple of the Buddhist sect Jodo (“Pure Land”) , in the XII century. who preached Buddhism among the uneducated strata of the population. Towering 24 meters high, the temple gate is considered the largest structure of its kind in the world. With the ringing of the Chioninji bell – the largest and most famous in Japan – the monks herald the coming of the New Year, and this ringing is broadcast throughout the country.

A huge arch (torii) stretching across the main road heralds the approach to the Heian Shrine. The site is notable for its distinctly tangible influence of Chinese design and a vast landscaped park, considered one of the most beautiful in Kyoto, with numerous cherry trees and a large pond with an elegant pagoda, which is connected to the shore by a covered bridge. There are two interesting museums nearby, which showcase Kyoto’s rich history as a place where the country’s best artisans flocked. Museum of Traditional Crafts (daily 9.00-17.00)presents a diverse collection of textiles, porcelain, fans, dolls, lacquerware, cutlery and furniture. On weekends and on national holidays, those who wish can participate in the work of art studios and workshops. In the neighboring National Museum of Modern Art (Tue – Sun 9.30–17.00; www.momak.go.jp ) , despite the name, ceramics of the 19th and 20th centuries occupy the main place.

Before heading to the Silver Pavilion, you might want to explore the quieter temple gardens at the base of the eastern hills in the northern section. A short stroll from the Shugakuin-michi Bus Stop (Route 5) or the Eizan Railroad Station of the same name leads to Mansuin, a delightfully reposed Tendai temple dating from 1656. Maples and cherry trees frame an impeccably manicured sand and gravel garden. Walking south through a pleasant residential area, you will find yourself at a narrow bamboo entrance to Shisendo, a country-style hut with an adjoining karen sansui (dry landscaped garden)surrounded by azaleas, maples and persimmons. Nearby there is another temple that often falls out of sight of tourists – Kompukuji. And again a dry landscaped garden with a wall of azaleas. The temple is affiliated with the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, but also has literary associations, as it is associated with the names of two of the greatest Japanese masters of haiku poetry – Basho and Buson.

On the northern edge of Higashiyama, there is a short route for one of the most famous and delightful walks in the country. The Philosopher’s Trail, named in memory of the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro, is about 2 km long and winds along a narrow channel connecting two large temples, Nanzenji and Ginkakuji. Despite the large number of people who come to admire the spring blooms and the stunning shades of autumn foliage, the Philosopher’s Trail attracts with its silence and solitude. Any of the welcoming little tea houses on your way, any coffee house is the perfect place to relax.

Nanzenji is a 13th century palace, on the territory of which about a dozen related temples and monasteries are currently located. The powerful gate of the main entrance was erected in 1628 and is known as the place where the robber Goemon was boiled alive in an iron cauldron. At the same time, he held his son in his raised arms so that he would not suffer the same fate. Since then, the old-fashioned Japanese iron baths have been called gloomily “goemonburo”. The view from the height of this 30-meter gate allows you to take in the complex territory and the sacred Mount Hiei to the north. A unique feature of the site is the presence of a large red brick aqueduct behind the main buildings, which now delivers water from Lake Biwa. Locals love to walk along the aqueduct.

A short walk west of Nanzenji is Murin-an, a classic private villa with a stunning landscaped park and wonderful views of the hills to the northeast.

Also not far from Nanzenji, the magnificent Eikan-do temple with a beautiful statue of Buddha Amida, looking over his shoulder, is nestled on the hillside, which is unusual. The strange pose is reminiscent of the legendary statue that revived and scolded the stunned monk Eikan for pauses in ritual chants. Every autumn evening, special illumination is switched on, illuminating the numerous maples and highlighting the vibrant colors of wilting foliage with strategically placed spotlights. The effect is amazing and the experience is totally unforgettable.

At the opposite end of the canal is the second significant temple on the walking route – Ginkakuji (daily mid-March – November 8.30-17.00, December – mid-March 9.00-16.30) , the famous Silver Pavilion, never clad with silver, as originally planned. It was built in the 15th century. the esthete and mystic shogun Yoshimasa Ashikaga, who used the pavilion for esoteric tea ceremonies, and primarily for contemplation of the moon in his elegant garden. The flat-topped mound of white gravel, despite the inevitable comparison to Fujiyama, was originally a pile of sand left over from the temple’s construction.

It is not far from here by bus to the Kyoto National Museum (Tue-Sun 9.30-17.00, Fri 9.30-18.00) , which houses the largest collection of Japanese sculpture and painting in the country, as well as weapons, traditional armor and costumes from the past ten centuries, including several dazzling costumes of the theater no with masks. Much of the unparalleled collection has been amassed in the temples and palaces of Kyoto, Nara and other significant cultural centers.

Directly south of the Kyoto National Museum stands the spectacular Sanjusangendo (“Hall of 33 Spans”) . The original temple, built in 1164, lasted only 100 years, and the current reconstruction dates back to the 13th century. The highlight of the exhibition is a gilded wooden statue of a seated bodhisattva Kannon, 3.3 m high, with 11 crowned faces on its head and 40 arms (although the statue is referred to as a “thousand- handed “) , in which Kannon holds bells, wheels and lotus flowers. And yet the main treasure of Sanjusangendo is a legion of 1000 gilded images of the same Kannon, surrounding a gilded statue of Buddha. Identical statues were carved by artisans of the 13th century. Kokey, Unkei and Tankey, assisted by 70 artisans.

Yukio and Kita

Nestled in the northwestern part of Kyoto, Ryoanji (March-November 8.00-17.00, December-February 8.30-16.30; www.ryoanji.jp ) is the most famous of all Zen Buddhist temples. His famous rock garden has generated more debate – both positively and negatively – than the gravel on his 10 x 30 m rectangular area.There are no trees or bushes – only 15 stones decorated with old moss, arranged in groups among ideal rake-treated white gravel. Although the creation of the garden is usually attributed to the great master Soami, no one really knows exactly who (and why)created it. The mystery surrounding the emergence of the garden does not diminish the power of its simplicity. By mixing different interpretations, we can say that it expresses the essence of the predominantly anti-intellectual commandments of Zen Buddhism. Dark islands in the white sea, mountain peaks rising above the clouds – everyone sees what he wants to see. Come here early in the morning, before the influx of visitors. Few experiences associated with a visit to Kyoto remain in the memory as long as contemplation of the mysterious Ryoanji rock garden.

Behind the garden, you can stroll among the maple and pine trees of the forest that surrounds the charming Köyöchi Pond at the foot of Mount Kinugasa. Luxurious dense moss grows abundantly everywhere. Few foreign visitors know this, but just a 15-minute walk south is the magnificent Myoshinji, a walled complex of temples, Japanese gardens and teahouses where you can spend the day unnoticed.

The famous Kinkakuji Temple of the Golden Pavilion ( 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily) is a 20-minute walk or short bus ride from Ryoanji . The original pavilion of the late 14th century, completely covered with gold leaf, was a typical expression of the irrepressible pursuit of luxury that characterized the Muromachi period and was encouraged by the shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, who built the pavilion by the time of his retirement at the quite respectable age of 38. That pavilion was burned down in 1950 by a fanatical young monk. Today’s 1955 building is an exact replica of the original, last refurbished in 2002. Most of the buildings are inaccessible, but as you walk up the winding stone stairs to the exit, you will not pass by the thatched tea house.

Another famous victim of fire is Daitokuji. This vast complex of 22 small temples and related monasteries (currently fewer than the 60 in the Edo period) burned down and rebuilt between the 14th and 17th centuries. The complex is lavishly endowed with artistic treasures and some of the finest Zen gardens in Japan, reflecting its history as an important center for calligraphy, gardening, tea ceremony and other sophisticated art forms. Zen temples have particularly noteworthy gardens, teahouses and relics. Daisen-in, “The Zen Temple Unmatched,” features magnificent painted fusuma (sliding panels)and decorated with wall paintings. The curious garden of Zuiho-in Monastery combines Zen Buddhist and Christian symbolism, as well as an attractive rock garden and a tea garden with an unusual geometric shape. Ryugen-in has five different rock gardens, one of which is arguably the smallest in Japan.

To the south of the complex is the traditional Nishijin weaver district. High quality fabrics have been produced there for centuries, including exquisite silk brocade. The best place to get acquainted with the subject is the Nishijina Textile Center (daily 9.00-17.00) .

To the west is the large and significant shrine of Kitano Tenmangu (daily 9.00-17.00; www. Kitanotenmangu.or.jp )… Tenmangu temples are usually decorated with statues of seated cows and bulls, which are believed to have healing properties. You will see how people rub certain parts of the statues in the hope of getting rid of their pain or illness. The sanctuary is also famous for its thousands of plum trees, whose rich pink color attracts crowds in the weeks leading up to the general cherry blossom fever. However, it is really crowded here on the 25th of every month, when the famous flea market operates in Kitano Tenmangu. People come from far and wide to wander among used kimonos, antique furniture and ceramics, ancient scrolls, as well as handicrafts, food and household goods, which range from affordable to mind-boggling prices.

Central Kyoto

Southwest of Kyoto Train Station is Toji, the oldest temple in the city with the largest pagoda in the country. The temple was founded after the imperial capital moved to Kyoto in 794. It was built from a forest located to the south of the sacred mountain Inari. Thirty years later, the deeply revered founder of esoteric Buddhism, Shingon Kukai (after his death, became known as Kobo Daishi), was appointed chief abbot . The temple complex quickly became the main center of Shingon in Kyoto, which it remains to this day. In addition to the imposing pagoda, a huge flea market is popular nationwide, which draws crowds of bargain hunters on the 21st of every month.

Directly north of the pagoda are the centers of two streams of jodo-shinsu (“Pure Land”) : the Nishi-Honganji and Higashi-Honganji temples. The latter was built by shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa to counter the powerful influence of Nishi-Honganji, who won thousands of fans through the preaching of liberal Buddhism: priests could marry and have children, eat meat and abandon traditional ascetic practices.

Most of Higashi-Honganji is inaccessible to the public, but the main hall and the founder’s hall, rebuilt in 1895 after repeated fires, are notable for rather unpleasant ropes woven from women’s hair, which were donated by parishioners to transport the temple pillars to their place of installation. Entrance to the Shosei-en Temple Garden (daily 9.00-16.00)located a short walk to the east is free. The shady garden with many ponds is a pleasant place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Much more awaits you at the nearby Nishi-Honganji Temple, a truly outstanding example of monumental Japanese Buddhist architecture, combining imposing silhouette with rich décor. With its splendor, the buildings of the 17th century. in no small measure owe to the structures brought here from the luxurious Fushimi castle, which was located in the southern part of Kyoto and belonged to Hideyoshi (dismantled by order of the Tokugawa in 1632) .

Nijo Castle is a touching monument to an ironic twist in history. Built in 1603 by Ieyasu Toku-gawa for his rare and reluctant visits to Kyoto (at the behest of the emperor), the castle after the restoration in 1868 was expropriated by the emperor Meiji. It was here that the emperor signed an edict abolishing the shogunate and ordered his carpenters to bypass the castle and replace the Tokugawa stockroses with imperial chrysanthemums.

Directly east of the castle, the new Kyoto International Manga Museum (Tue-Thu 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; www.kyotomm.com ) proves by its existence that Kyoto does not only live in the past. The museum positions itself as the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to Japanese comics. Visitors are allowed to take comics out onto the lawn and read there.

Look for the Nishiki Market to change the rhythm and mood. A surprisingly calm street market is occupied by a single-aisle passage. It is hard to take your eyes off the colorful counters with dried and fresh fish, pickled vegetables, young bamboo shoots, chicken wings and breasts skillfully laid out in an ornament, an abundance of squid, mussels, oysters and scallops.

Nearby, Shiji-dori goes to the north – another significant market zone deserving attention and known as Teramachi (literally “temple district”) . During the reorganization of the urban space in 1591, after its almost complete a long narrow street with many Kyoto temples. Although small temples and shrines exist today, tourists are primarily attracted by the covered arcade between Shijo and Sanjo streets, famous for its second-hand bookstores, shops selling traditional hand-made washi paper, fashionable and sometimes extravagant clothing and numerous shops of pickled products. …

North of Oike, Teramachi is home to some of Kyoto’s most respectable antique and washi paper stores, some of which have been around for hundreds of years. The adjoining streets are home to trade centers for traditional Japanese tables, screens, lamps, scrolls and other exquisite furnishings and interior design.

Southern Kyoto

The importance of rice in Japanese culture cannot be overstated. Each year, during a ceremony significant for the country, the emperor plants rice on a symbolic field, thereby emphasizing its role as a link between the Japanese people and the Shinto gods. Rice is so important that the Shinto pantheon even has its own deity named Inari. There are thousands of Inari shrines scattered throughout Japan, recognizable by the two foxes standing guard.

The most famous shrine of Fushimi-Inari is located in the southern part of Kyoto. In a city filled with attractions, this is one of those places that can finally drain your stock of rave epithets. The main buildings with the ubiquitous rice and fox motifs are some of the most extensive in Kyoto. Once upstairs, follow the path to the right of the structure to reach the first notable feature of the sanctuary – long, curving tunnels made up of bright orange torii arches. Delivered (for a lot of money)funded by companies and individuals who hope in this way to secure the blessings of the gods, the torii decrease as you move through the tunnel and begin to climb the mountain. Then you come out to an intriguing double tunnel that forces you to choose between the right and the left road. As you climb to the top of Mount Inari, you will pass many small temples and countless bright red thoriums, both miniature and massive. Charge your camera in advance – you will need it.

To the north of Fushimi is the large Zen Buddhist temple complex of Tofukuji. In addition to its many imposing structures, there are four notable and distinctive Zen gardens in the hojo (abbot’s dwelling) . The central part of the territory is occupied by a hollow with a small maple grove. Every fall, hundreds of thousands of people come here to admire the vibrant colors from the Tsutenkyo Covered Bridge (“ Skyway Bridge”) .

Trips from Kyoto

When your head and body are ready to take a break from the stress of cultural sightseeing, head south to the Arashiyama resort area along the Hozu River (also known as Oi) . The river flanked by maples and the famous old wooden Togetsukyo Bridge are popular with Japanese tourists, so you should refrain from traveling here on Sundays and national holidays.

There are several significant temples and shrines in Arashiyama. The Nonomiya Shrine is unique for its special role in preparing the princesses of the imperial family for service as priestesses at the Grand Shrine of Ise, the country’s main Shinto shrine. The sanctuary occupies an important place in “The Tale of Genji”, as well as in the famous theater play with the eloquent name “Nonomiya”, and therefore arouses particular interest among people who are not indifferent to classical Japanese literature.

North of Kyoto, in the rural enclave of Ohara, lies the majestic Sanzen-in temple complex. From the bus station, follow the signs in English to the path that winds along the stream, past the many stalls and shops selling the famous pickled foods of Ohara, and eventually you will find yourself in front of the massive gate of the temple.

The superbly designed Suhekein Garden with its pond is an iconic place of meditation and contemplation. After exploring the garden, walk to the hall at the end of the corridor and try your hand at calligraphy alongside Japanese visitors brushing traditional prayer invocations to the central Buddha Amida. The view from the veranda at the rear of the building overlooking the lush green and moss landscaped garden is one of the most famous in Kyoto. The Ojo Gokurakin Hall in the central part of the temple houses an imposing seated statue of Buddha Amida, dating from 986 (and so revered that it is forbidden to photograph it) . The seals that you can use in the various numbered areas of the complex are particularly elegant, and their prints will be a wonderful and unusual souvenir to remind you of your visit here.

About 30 km from Kyoto, in the depths of the wooded nature reserve, there is the Miho Museum (mid-March-mid-June, mid-July-mid-August, September-mid-December Tue-Sun 10 am-5 pm; www.miho.or.jp ) , built by the project of the world famous architect I. M. Pei. The tunnel provides access to an outstanding private collection of Egyptian, South Asian, Chinese, Persian and, of course, Japanese art. The exterior of the building, its interiors and the exhibits themselves are a triumph of design and harmony between old and new, East and West, simplicity and complexity. The Miho Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in Asian art and design.

Uji is located on the Nara Railroad Line, a 30-40 minute drive from Kyoto. The green hills provide the backdrop for the mighty Uji River and the immensely significant Byodo-in, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Phoenix Temple Hall with a gilded statue of Buddha Amida, seated on a bed of lotus flowers, was built in the 11th century. and, despite all the vicissitudes, has survived to this day in its original form. The first thing you’ll notice about Uji is the smell of tea being dried. Fragrant uji-cha has been cultivated since the 13th century. Local green tea is considered the best in Japan.

University city

With approximately 40 universities, Kyoto is still considered the country’s educational center. However, due to a lack of space for campuses, the student population has recently declined. The sky-high construction costs in the city have forced a number of faculties to move to rural areas adjacent to Kyoto.

Holidays in Kyoto

The Japanese, especially the people of Kyoto, count the time with holidays and ceremonies. Here are some of them. April. Local geisha in lush outfits perform traditional dances at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater in Gion. Kyoto hosts many fun flower-viewing festivals [hanami), the most famous of which is Dai-goji.

June. A summer feast in the form of a dynamic water extravaganza at the Kifune-jinja shrine dedicated to the water god. Theater performances but by torchlight. July. The largest festival in Kyoto, Gion Matsuri, originated in the 10th century. On July 17, beautifully decorated platforms float through the city.

October. A month of holidays. The festival of the bull in Koriuji is one of the “mysterious holidays” in Kyoto. The Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages) crowns the “mysterious holidays” and is the culmination of the October round of costume festivals. The procession through the streets of the city is led by 2,000 people representing famous characters in Japanese history.

December. Kaomise ( Facial Show ) – A gala performance of the Minami-za kabuki theater, during which the actors show their real faces. Senbon Saka-do – a holiday of Buddhist enlightenment with a ceremony of boiling radishes!