Kiyomizudera Temple/Kyoto

It was quite surprising that we had nearly 10 cm accumulation of snow all over Kyoto.
Guardian Lion at the temple gate, hundreds of Jizo Bodhisattva and camellia were covered with snow.
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Late morning the climate return to normal-cold and dry.

Fushimi Inari Shrine/Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine is dedicated to the deity of the harvest. The deity of rice living in the mountains come down to the village, when the climate is ready for growing rice. Foxes also come down to the bottom of the mountains at the same time. So they are regarded as the attendants of the deity. Hundreds of foxes are sitting, watching, running, holding a bundle of rice or the key of the storage of rice.

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Today is the special day called Hoshasai Festival to tell fortunes for the year, whether we have bountiful crops or not. In the beginning the principal Shinto priest shoot arrows toward four directions in the sky.
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It is followed by the main shooting of four arrows to the target ssurrounded by a big snake made of rice straws. May we have good harvest and retuning business !
fushimi12.jpg Every four arrow hit the target luckily. We will have good harvest this year !! Two Shinto Priests among others might be so relieved. Participants also felt relieved and went home peacefully.

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Fushimi Inari Shrine became very famous, because of the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha. Thousands of Torii gates are all donated by people. The shrine is one of the most visited one throughout Japan. Money matters under all circumstances ! Fushimi Inari is only 2nd station by JR from Kyoto Station or 5th station by Keihan Line from Shijo Station.

Year End Bell/Chionin Temple

Chionin Temple is the headquarter of Jodo Buddism School established by Honen. The steep stairs inside the Sanmon gate called male slope was used when the film, Last Samurai was shot. chion1.jpg
The bell is one of the three great bells in Japan, made of bronze in 1636, weigning 70 tons. chion2.jpg
The bell was used for sounding the hours of the day, however we strike 108 times on New Year's eve to expel our worldly sins now.
Young monks practiced to strike on 27th of Dec. While 16 monks keep time with pulling the ropes, the 17th monk strikes the bell using his all mind and power.

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We have a trainee monk joining from Tohoku, the tsunami hit area. It is very special for him and all people in Japan.

Heian Shrine/Kyoto

We love rains!! We are beautiful in the rains.

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The garden behind Heian Shrine is relatively new compared with the garden in many temples. It was designed to enjoy the flow of natural water, by taking water from Lake Biwa.
We are in the rainy season. It's going to be over in the middle of July, when the highlight of Gion Festival, the Parade of floats is taking place on 17th. As long as carrying an umbrella, it's nice to walk outside even in the rain. Air is washed for flowers to look fresh. What's more, rain is important to grow rice.

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Arashiyama/Sagano,layers of history

Arashiyama/Sagano area has long been a resort of Kyoto. Patches of cherry tree on the mountains look like being displayed.
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sagano3.jpg The area was originally developed and cultivated by Korean descendents from as early as 5th Century. They were composed of skilled artisans, and contributed to establishment of the dam and irrigation system starting from mainly Katsura River in the area. They grew mulberry, silk worm, and made silk fabric. The mother of Emperor Kanmu, who established the capital of Kyoto in late 8th Century, was a Korean descendent. This is one of the reason why Emperor chose here for the capital.

sagano2.jpg Emperor and court nobles loved this area, because of scenic beauty. They established detached palaces (later they became temples) and hermitages, enjoying boat riding along the river, or making poems in Medieval period.
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During Early Modern period, a rich merchant invested money to open the waterway from over the mountain along Hozu River. The line was main waterway to transport products like timber, charcoal, rice or the like in the North to the Capital. Today, Boats tranport tourists only. (In the past, rowers carried the boat back upriver by the rope between 16 km. Today boat is carried on the track, while rowers get on the train.)

Arashiyama/Sagano became a popular site for the movie shooting, particularly for samurai movies in Modern period. It is called "Hollywood in Japan". You might have a chance to see movie actors and actresses. There are some people who are pretending to be one of them.
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Tour guide living in Kyoto

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