A Few Hours in Nishiki

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A Few Hours in Nishiki In Nakagyo Ward of Kyoto, hidden behind the opulent avenue of Shijo and the wide streets of Teramachi, lies a unique Kyoto treasure. The narrow alley of Nishiki Market runs just a few hundred meters East to West and absolutely brims with food, shops, and food. Were Nishiki Market not […]

The Four Seasons of Kyoto

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Elegance… When it comes to luxury hotels in Asia, Japan may not be the first place that comes to mind. Yet in regard to hospitality, really no other country can hold a candle to the Japanese. Case in point: the newly opened Four Seasons in Kyoto. Its opening in October added just the second international […]

In Search of Vegetables

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Any vegetarian will tell you that it’s just plain difficult to find a good meal. Most restaurants of the world serve meat, perhaps less than 20% of the menu could be considered vegetarian. In Asia, especially Japan, that portion shrinks significantly. That’s because most dishes in Japan call for some kind of animal products (usually […]

Mountain of the Fire Deity

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In Kyoto’s west, towering above the small village of Kiyotaki, lies Atago-san, Kyoto city’s tallest peak  at 924 meters. A holy mountain for over a thousand years, once a year pilgrims come here to hike to the top during the night. By doing so, one shows reverence to the fire diety and gains 1,000 days […]

Nobody Else

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Visitors often ask me how to find somewhere free of people and still worth seeing. I invariably answer: earn it. To become popular, an attraction must have a strong natural draw and easy accessibility. Remove accessibility and the crowds vanish magically. After all, the view from Mount Everest is simply breathtaking, but you won’t find […]

Drinking game with the guests

Dining with Maiko – Gion Hatanaka

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This week we took a look at Gion Hatanaka, a beautiful ryokan in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto. Here guests can enjoy a Kyoto style dinner while watching Maiko performances for an affordable price. After the meal, the participants are invited to play drinking games with the Maiko! ^.^ Check out more at their homepage: […]

Daimonji mountain fire

Kyoto’s Gozan no Okuribi 2015

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On the 16th of August the «Gozan no Okuribi» (五山の送り火) event took place in Kyoto where five giant bonfires were lit on mountains surrounding the city. The event is connected to the O-bon festival – a Buddhist custom during which the spirits of deceased family members are said to visit this mortal world. The word […]

Saio misogi purification ceremony

Misogi purification ceremony 2015

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The Aoi festival held on the 15th of May every year in Kyoto is drawing near. Before the actual date of the festival, many preparations and pre-ceremonies has to be done. One of these is the misogi purification ceremony that was held today. In this ceremony, the “Saio-dai” purifies her mind and body by ceremoniously […]