Archive for 'Kyoto' Category
I wrote about the large monitor-vision PR clips of Fushimi-inari Grand Shrine in Kyoto on my previous post. And that big Shinto shrine of the most popular tourists’ destination among foreign tourists in Japan also began a new service for foreign visitors there this year. That new service is a”multilingual audioguide”.
This service comes in four languages of Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. This is available when you prepare your own smartphone or similar correspondence devices and download special guiding application software at one of nine spots in the shrine’s precinct where you can get a QR code for this app. And a wifi service availablity is necessary on the premises.
Fushimi-inari Grand -Shrine in Kyoto is the No.1 popular tourists’ destination among foreign visitors in Japan. The shrine ,which is the head shrine of all Inari-shrines of about 30,000 nationwide, is also the most popular destination for a Hatsumode, the first visit to a Shinto shrine or a Buddhist temple in a year, with about 2.7 million visitors for new year holidays. This shrine set a large monitor-vision sysytem in its precinct for its public relations clips.
This big screen clip service was conducted Dec.31.2015-Jan.4. 2016.
At Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto, “The Kanji of The Year” was released. The kanji or the Chinese character of this year is “安”(Ang, meaning safe, secure, or stable ). The kanji of the year is chosen according to the result of public advertisements and announced by the mastermonk of the temple.He drew the kanji in the traditional calligraphical manner on the white paper.
This character being chosen might be reflected by people’s wishes for safety, security, stability, peace in society.
“Jidai Matsuri”(/ the Festival of Ages) was held on this Oct.22 in Kyoto. (https://www.kyokanko.or.jp/jidai/)
This is one of the three greatest festivals of Kyoto held annually and about 2,000 people clad in costumes to represent people from various eras in Kyoto histroy paraded on the big street of 4.5 km from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine. The festival started in 1895 dedicated to Heian Shrine where Emperor Kanmu who established Kyoto as an ancient capital in 794 and Emperor Koumei who was the last emperor to reside in Kyoto are enshrined. The festival’s participants represent the changing ages when Kyot owas the capital of Japan.
Jyojyuin garden in Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, which is usually closed to public, is being open for limited period bewteen April 25-May 13. (http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/lang/01.html)
The Jyojyuin garden is known as “The Moon Garden” and built about 400 years ago and a disgnated national place of scenic beauty in Kiyomizudera Temple that is a world cultural heritage site, which is quite popular and huge number of people visit on daily basis in Kyoto.The garden is called “The Moon Garden” with its beauty and included a lot of strange- shape rocks and stone oblects and shakei or borrowing background scenery.
Hokuriku Shinkansen (The North-central Bullet Trains ) grand opened its full service (Tokyo-Kanazawa)on this Mar.14th. (http://hokuriku-w7.com/about/)
Hokuriku Bullet Trains started its operation partially just between Takasaki and Nagano in 1997 and Tokyo-Takasaki (Tohoku Shinkansen) and Takasaki-Nagano(Nagano Shinkansen) became a part of Hokuriku so that the line Toky0-Nagano began as “Nagano Shinkansen”, which is a part of the planned total line of Hokuriku line. However, this time Takasaki-Joetsumyoukou-Kanazawa line opened on the 14th and the “full line”(Takasaki-Kanazawa 117 km plus the existant Tokyo-Takasaki line). Another bullet train line between Kanazawa and Atsuga is also planned to be opened in 2023 to be a part of the Hokuriku line.
Now due to the launch of the new line, it has come to take only 2 hours and half ,while it used to take about 4 hours including transferrings. Since this new convenience of shortening time, Kanazawa, which is the capital of Ishikawa Pref, and is a traditional city of traditional cultures and history, now is even more popular among tourists. To tell the truth, I used this new Hokuriku Bullet Train line from Tokyo to Kanazawa just one week after its grand opening. The new Shinkansen “Kagayaki”(/ a Shine) was quite comfortable and other passengers seemed so happy and enjoying the trip as well. Though I had been to Kanazawa many times, this time visiting the city by Hokuriku Shinkansen was a fresh and exciting experience. Kanazawa is full of attractions with historical sites and tangible and intangible cultural things, such as Kenrokuen garden, The 21 Century Museum, gold leaves, Wajima-nuri, Kutani-yaki porceline ,and others and seemed quite lively and full of energy with the new attentions by the sightseers or visitors. I hope the attractions there will be recognized even more and more popular.
This year we Japanese people commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Great hanshin-Awaji Earthquake on the January 17th. In the damaged areas, municipalities hosted special commemorative ceremonies and private societies also hosted events sush as charity music conserts and so forth. Kobe City, Nishinomiy City, Itami City and others in Hyogo Pref, Osaka, Kyoto and other rigions and areas in the western part of Japan keep helping sufferers and their bereaved families of the victims. ( http://19950117hyogo.jp/other/),(http://www.city.kobe.lg.jp/foreign/index.html)
Children who were born in that year of disaster now have come of age this year. TV shows, dramas, articles and even personal blogs featuring this anniversary and related events are around. Though all the places and areas have miraculously recovered from the damages and rebuilt so well, we still retain the sadness and would keep consoling the souls of the victims and strive for improving the situations for even better.
Whai is quite unique to the visiting practice of this temple is that there is a funicular railroad that is 200m long. The cable roalroad connects the Mountain Gate station and Tahoto(two-storied pagoda) station on the mountain side which is as steep as 27 degree.
People who visit the temple use this cable car service and the car is called “Ushiwaka-go”. This name if from a historical hero. The temple is said to have been established in 770 and is on the top of the Mount Kurama which is 584m high and located about 12km north of the center of Kyoto City. In 12th century a boy called Ushiwakamaru who was a son of a powerful warrior who had lost and killed in a civil war and he was forced to live there to become a Buddhist monk by his father’s enemy. Ushiwakamaru, however, trained so hard to become a warrior to make an avenge for his father. There is a legend that he was so dedicated to efforts to be a strong warrior, natural deities who lived in the mountain helped him trained him to become really strong. Later on, Ushiwakamaru changed his name and became Yoshitsune Minamoto, who was known as a great hero to lead troops to succeeded in completing his father’s avenge. He was also a brother of Yoritomo Minamoto, who established the Kamakura Shogunate, the first warrior- managing government of Japan in 1192. Yoshistune was finally kiiled by Yoritomo and still is popular as a tragic hero. The funicular car’s name is from Yoshitsune’s childhood name of Ushiwakamaru.
Two huge international travel marts were held at Tokyo Bigsight in Tokyo. One was “Visit Japan Travel Mart 2014″(Sep.24-26)(http://www.vjtm.jp/) and the other was “JATA Toursim EXPO Japan2014″(Sep.25-28)(http://t-expo.jp/en/index.html).
More than 310 foriegn buyers and about 390 Japanese sellers joined VJTM2014 and had passionate exchanges of information and ideas and hosted busines seccions. Buyers from Asian countries were especially a lot and about the half of the Japanese sellers were municipalities or relating associations of such local governments.
On the other hand, a lot of domestic and foreign sellers and buysers joined JATA Tourism EXPO Japan 2014. Such participants were embassies, tourism bureaus, travel agents, food companies, municipalities, railroads, airlines, hotels. universities, guide associations and so forth. The main targets were end users of travel services and a lot of lay Japanese people visited there and the total number was 157,589. Upon the opening of the event, an ward ceremony of good services and efforts of related promotions was hosted and the Best Tourism Award was given to The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Embassy awards were for Thailand and Mexico, the best transporatation award was for Japan Railways East, the domestic inbound award was for the tourism department of Tokyo Metropolis, the publicity award was for a TV show of CXTV, and the chairperson special award was for Okinawa Convention Bureau. (http://t-expo.jp/en/program/cms.html) I personally visited the two big events and collected a lot of interesting information and exchanged ideas with the participants, some of whom were my friends or those I sometimes work with. I enjoyed the delicious food provided by tourism- related restaurants and local specialities and impressed by the greatly enthusiastic atmosphere of energies of the expos as well.
“Shimazu Masamune”, a special Japanese sword provided to the-then emperor Koumei by the-then Shogun Iemochi Tokugawa upon the wedding of Iemochi and Princess Kazunomiya who was Koumei’s sister 1862 ,which had been missing for 150 years, was reconfirmed as a personal property and was donated to Kyoto National Museum (http://www.kyohaku.go.jp/eng/index.html) in 2013.
“Masamune” swords are forged in the Kamakura period (1192~1333) and regareded as the first-rate Japanese swords, most of which are national treasures today. The reconfirmation this time is a precious “re-discovery” of an historic and cultural important asset. The Shimazu Masamune will be exhibited from the coming Oct.15th on at the Kyoto national Museum.
Universal Studio Japan in Osaka opened a new theme area of the worldwide popular fantasy series, “Harry Potter” on Jul.15. (http://www.usj.co.jp/harrypotter/)
The theme area is 40,000 ㎡ with re-enacted facilities of those in the stories, such as the magic school that wizard children go, and at restaurants and stalls where special food described in the stories are available.
On the grand opening day, about 3000 people visited the area and everyday it receives a lot since then. USJ made the record high of the number of visitors there with more than 10 million last year and now it expects to have more than 12 million this year with these new attraction services. About 45 billion yen (≒$440 million )which is equal to the half amount of an annual budget of USJ was spent on building this new area. Some hotels expand their capacities expecting a huge increase in visitors and job opportuniies are expected to increase as well in Osaka, kobe, Kyoto, and other areas in Kansai, which will surly invigorate economy there.
Byodouin, one of the World heritage sites in Kyoto hosted a completion ceremony of the rennovation on April 2nd.
Byodouin is a Buddhist temple built in 11the century by an influential aristcrat and said to be one of the oldest remaining temples with buidings and treasures from those days. The temple was under rennovation since September 2012 and now restored colorful appearances. Especially, Hohohodou, which is depicted on the face of 1o yen coin, has become beautiful and that was the venue of the ceremony. the rennovation is almost complete and from the 3rd on, visitors were allowed to enter and view the facility.
In Japan, we have full bloom of cherry blossoms in many rigions by the end of March this year. In Kansai (the Western part of Japan), beautiful combinations of cherryblossoms and old cultural buildings, sush as temples and paths are seen.
In Kanto(the Eastern part of Japan) ,where full bloom situation was recognized by March 29th, a lot of people enjoy the coloful cherry blossoms in various places, such as Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Sumida River ,and other popular cherry blossom viewing spots and facilities.
A special exhibition concerning old Kyoto art about 400 years ago is being held at Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Tokyo Oct.2-Dec.1. (http://www.tnm.jp/modules/r_free_page/index.php?id=1610&lang=en)
Beautiful and artistic panels and folding screens dipicting K yoto scenes, or pictures owned by Ryoanji temple, Nijyojo castle, and decorating the omperial palace in Kyoto about 400 years ago are shown, some of which are currently owned by museums in US. Special effect video clips of a huge size to enjoy changing seasons in the dry landscape garden of Ryoanji has strong impact. Some works came back to Japan for the first time in about 80 years. I went to the event today and found All the works there so breathtaking magestic and profound, which conveys the image of days in 400 years ago in elegant Kyoto.
Willer Travel started a totally new type bus drive attraction called Star Fighter.The interir design of the bus is something like a replica of a cockpit of a rocket. http://travel.willer.co.jp/starfighter/
You can enjoy playing special video games on your seat in the bus during the drive, which is a part of the plot of the attraction. The bus service will be available in August, between Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, and Shinjuku and Space Center in Tsukuba , Ibaraki where you can experience a mock asrtronaut training program or Science Future Museum in Odaiba Tokyo. The travel has a concept of futuristic experiences in a scfi-fi atmosphere.