Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #kyoto

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It's been a while since I've done a #folklorethursday, so here's some local, rather less well-known tales.

Demizu was once home to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's lavish palace 'Jurakudai' (聚樂第), and the area has many strange wonders.
#Kyoto #京都 ImageImageImageImage
Kannon-ji's 'Gate of 100 Lashings' (観音寺 百叩きの門) belonged originally to the prison at Fushimi Castle (伏見城). When the castle was dismantled the doorway was gifted to the temple🏯🚪🩸😰👋

The gate is just 1 of the '7 Wonders of Demizu' (出水の七不思議).
#Kyoto #京都 #出水 ImageImageImageImage
Before prisoners were set free they underwent a final punishment at the prison gate...a warning to stay on the straight & narrow.
They were lashed 100 times with a piece of split bamboo across the back. It was agonizing, & sometimes deadly!

Image thanks🙇‍♂️ ImageImageImageImage
Read 23 tweets
'May Sickness' (五月病 'gogatsu-byō') is a term for a seasonal disorder that strikes just as Golden Week comes to an end.
After the flurry of changes that take place each April, it may seem like May should be smooth sailing, but returning to work/school after the break is tough. ImageImageImageImage
It may seem like a small thing, but sweets absolutely help lift a gloomy mood...


Kameya Yoshinaga (亀屋良長) has done the impossible and perfectly captured the blue skies & cotton puff clouds of May in sweet form☺️

The wonderful 'hikōki-gumo' (ひこうき雲)✨ ImageImageImageImage
While 'May Blues' doesn't sound particularly serious, in some cases it can lead to depression, anxiety & insomnia.
In April the new school/work year begins, and there's a feeling that Golden Week only helps exacerbate feelings of disorientation, mental exhaustion, & apprehension.…
Read 4 tweets
The weather is warm and the baby ume are plumping up thoughts naturally turn to refreshing 'ao-ume' (青梅 'unripe plums')🙌
Kameya Yoshinaga's (亀屋良長) vibrant 🍑-like version contain a delicious ume jelly within.

#和菓子 #Kyoto #京都 #青梅 #wagashi #ume #plum ImageImageImageImage
For those who can't wait for the fruit to mature, juicy looking 'aoume' (青梅) offer a nice, sweet alternative.

@shioyoshiken's (塩芳軒) annual offering...

#wagashi #和菓子 #Kyoto #京都 #青梅 #ume #plum ImageImageImageImage
One sweet I was very sad to miss out on this year was @o_itotatsu's 'Kyōto-carrot' (京にんじん), created to celebrate the 'year of the rabbit'.
Hopefully he'll be inspired by more local vegetables in the future🙏😉

Photo thanks🙇‍♂️
#itotatsu #Kyoto #京都 ImageImageImageImage
Read 3 tweets
Astonishingly the temperature will soar close to 30 degrees today...the hottest day of the year so far😓

As this heat is a little unexpected we swooped on Ishidatami (石畳) for their famous matcha soft serve (抹茶ソフトクリーム). Fresh matcha is kneaded into the ice-cream🍵🍨🙌 ImageImageImageImage
Fresh matcha as an ingredient in cooking and baking tends to lose its flavour quickly, and so Ishidatami doesn't serve ice-cream older than 3 hours, preferring instead to make new batches throughout the day😮

#Kyoto #京都 #matcha #抹茶 #icecream #Ninenzaka #二年坂 ImageImageImageImage
Another favourite (though much pricier) way to cool down is with Oimatsu's (老松) cheerful 'natsukan-tō' (夏柑糖 'sugared Chinese citron')🍊🥰

#Kyoto #京都 #夏柑糖 #老松 #oimatsu #Japan #citron #chinesecitron #orange
Read 4 tweets

The chaos of blossom season is upon us, so I thought I'd share some information for guests who have already booked, or are thinking of booking tea ceremony during the busiest time of the year in Kyōto🙇‍♂️

#Kyoto #京都 #teaceremony ImageImageImageImage
From mid-March until the end of April, despite opening extra sessions each day, Garden Teahouse is fully booked.

If you would like to be put on our waiting list please email with your name, how many people, and your preference of date(s) and time(s).

Spaces at our Flower Teahouse are now very limited (we are about 95% full) for the end of March and first half of April.

You can check availability on our booking sites...
🫂Shared Tea Ceremony:…

😊Private Tea Ceremony:…
#茶道 #抹茶 ImageImageImageImage
Read 9 tweets
Second only to Kitano Tenmangū as the go-to destination for plum blossoms, Jōnan-gū's "Spring Mountain" (春の山) reimagines a Heian-period style garden.

even the mean monks
come to eat rice cakes-
God of Jōnan
One of Kyōto's most photographed pieces of scenery is a stretch of garden behind Jōnan-gū's (城南宮) main shrine. Here winter and spring collide with plum blossoms cascading over fallen camellia flowers...bright dots in a verdant green carpet.
#Jōnangū #城南宮 #Kyoto #京都 #Japan
Shōfu-dō's (松甫堂) 'tsubaki-mochi' (椿餅) is sold exclusively on the approach to Jōnan-gu during plum blossom season. The sweet's slight octagonal shape was inspired by the shrine's famous amulet (protecting against unlucky directions).

Amulet image thanks🙇‍♂️-@urahanabi
Read 7 tweets
🍵🙇‍♂️Happy Matcha Day! (抹茶の日)🎉🍵

To celebrate the 120th anniversary of matcha production in Nishio (西尾市), Aichi Prefecture, the Nishio Tea Trade Association first established "Matcha Day" in 1992.

#抹茶の日 #matchaday #Japan #茶道 #teaceremony #抹茶 #matcha
February 6th was chosen for "Matcha Day" as the date is a play on words...

When the numbers 2⃣ (February) and 6⃣ (6th) are put together they can be pronounced as 'Furo' (風炉).

🔥🍵Furo is portable stove used for tea ceremonies during the summer (from May-October).
A few days in the year are dedicated to tea...

🍵"Green Tea Day" (May 1st/2nd - est.1990)- 88th day of spring, first tea harvesting.
🍵"Mugicha Day" (June 1st - est.1986)- beginning of the barley harvest.
🍵"Genmaicha Day" (November 1st)- start of rice trading year (米穀年度).
Read 4 tweets
Daruma await their fate at the small temple of Hōrin-ji (法輪寺).

Having fulfilled their destinies, and hopefully bestowed wishes upon their owners, they're gathered at Setsubun (節分) and burnt on a ritual bonfire🫡👋🔥✨😔
#Setsubun #Kyoto #京都 #節分 #達磨 ImageImageImageImage
Daruma (達磨) is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, a 5th or 6thC monk credited with establishing zen.

Daruma dolls, typically red & made from papier-mâché, are modeled on the story of Bodhidharma wall-gazing in a cave (close to the Shaolin Monastery) for 9 years.
#だるま #Japan ImageImageImageImage
Read 9 tweets
through the smoke
a glimpse of olden times...
fallen leaves
-Kobayashi Issa (小林一茶), 1807.
Trans. David G. Lanoue.

#Kyoto #京都 #Japan #銀杏 #ginkgo #autumn
The Great Yellowing is not yet upon us (ginkgo leaves will reach their golden peak around November 23rd), but you've probably already smelt autumn in the air.
When the fruit from female ginkgo trees falls & begins to rot, the butyric acid in the skin gives off a vomit-like odor🤢

Nishi Hongan-ji's (西本願寺) famed 400 year old 'sakasa-ichō' (逆さ銀杏 'upside down ginkgo') is so-named because when the leaves have fallen it looks surprisingly like roots reaching up to the sky.
#Kyoto #ginkgo #京都 #西本願寺 #folklore #逆さ銀杏
Read 6 tweets

In 1611, during excavation of the Takase Canal (高瀬川), Suminokura Ryōi (角倉了以) discovered a stone pagoda. Further investigation revealed that he had unearthed the tomb of the 'traitor' Toyotomi Hidetsugu (豊臣秀次 1568-95).
#folklore #Kyoto #京都
Hidetsugu was the nephew and heir of Japan's de facto ruler, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), but in 1595 he dramatically fell from grace and was forced to commit seppuku at Mt Kōya.

His grave became known by many names, including the "Beast's Mound" (畜生塚 "Chikushō-zuka").
It is unclear why Hidetsugu was so abruptly put to death, but the most likely explanation is the unexpected birth of Hideyoshi's son in 1593.
When Hideyori (秀頼) survived his first years, Hideyoshi no longer needed an adopted heir & Hidetsugu may well have thought about a coup.
Read 24 tweets

The great leaf change is almost upon us, and the countdown to 'momijigari' (紅葉狩り 'autumn-leaf viewing') has begun.

back window-
the deer strikes a pose
the dog sleeps
-Kobayashi Issa (小林一茶), 1820.
Trans. David G. Lanoue. ImageImageImageImage
Fall colours arrive at a different time each year, but the Japan Meteorological Agency has a handy tracker...

It seems that ginkgo will be at their peak around November 23rd & maple leaves around December 2nd (a bit later than last year) in Kyōto. ImageImageImageImage
One annual event we eagerly await is Yūhisai Kōdō-kan's (有斐斎弘道館) competition to find the best 'kyōgashi' (京菓子 - traditional Kyōto-style confectionery) on a given theme...which this year is Sei Shōnagon's (清少納言 966-1025?) 'The Pillow Book' (枕草子 'Makura-no-sōshi'). ImageImageImageImage
Read 6 tweets

even in Kyoto-
hearing the cuckoo's cry-
I long for Kyoto
京にても 京なつかしや ほととぎす
-Matsuo Bashō (松尾芭蕉 1644–1694).

Around the New Year I like to complete a small pilgrimage, not particularly well known, on a mountain close to my house.
Are you interested in undertaking the Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路), but find yourself without any real time to do so?🤔

Not to worry...close to our Camellia Garden Teahouse there is a way to complete the pilgrimage without ever leaving Kyōto🙌
#Kyoto #Japan #京都 #四国遍路
Snaking up and down the slopes of Jyōju-san (成就山), a mountain that rises behind Ninna-ji (仁和寺), is a tiny version of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Kūkai (空海 774-835), founder of Shingon Buddhism (真言宗), is alleged to have first created the circuit of 88 temples on Shikoku👣
Read 10 tweets
Every now and then, when wandering around the city, you can actually see historical moments captured in time.
A good example of this are the sword marks on Sanjō Bridge's balustrade caps. These were from the 'Noticeboard Incident' of September 12th 1866.
In the summer of 1866 an official signboard was erected by Sanjō Bridge, calling Chōshū Domain (長州藩) an enemy of the imperial court.
On September 10th, after anti-shōgunate rebels tore the sign down for a second time, the government ordered the Shinsengumi to guard the bridge.
At midnight on September 12th (October 20th - modern calendar), 8 men from Tosa Domain (土佐藩) arrived to destroy the noticeboard but were surprised by 34 Shinsengumi soldiers!
The Tosa ringleader, Fujisaki Kichigorō (藤崎吉五郎 1845-66), was killed, but 5 of his men escaped.
Read 21 tweets
When the Harvest Moon (お月見) and Feast of Chrysanthemums (菊の節句) arrive together, you know plates will be groaning and bellies will be full🙌

one for the dog
one for the crow...
rice cakes
-Issa (小林一茶).
Trans. Lanoue.
#京都 ImageImageImageImage
Nao-san tucks in to Kameya Yoshinaga's (亀屋良長 @yoshimura0303) 'hane-usagi' (はねうさぎ).
Break open the cute moon rabbit and add hot water to create delicious oshiruko (お汁粉), a sweet bean soup.

#お月見 #moonviewing #moonrabbit #月の兎 #wagashi #和菓子 #Kyoto #京都 #お汁粉
Each rabbit comes with a random kohaku (琥珀) moon. The phase of the moon-sweet determines your fortune...a full moon represents the best luck you can have.

Nao-san got...🥁...a full moon!🎉

A thread all about kohaku and other types of sweets⬇️

#亀屋良長 ImageImageImageImage
Read 9 tweets

Just beside our Camellia Garden teahouse runs Kinukake-no-michi (きぬかけの路 the 'Silk-draped Path'), a 2km stretch of road that joins the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺 The Golden Pavilion), Ryōan-ji (龍安寺) and Ninnai-ji (仁和寺).
An iconic golden pavilion (restored after a novice burnt the original down in 1950), the world's most famous Zen garden, & a former imperial palace are just some of the most well-known attractions to be enjoyed along Kinukake-no-michi.

But always venture off the beaten track!😉
But what does the road have to do with draped silk?
Well, Kinukake-no-michi (きぬかけの路) winds through the foothills of Mt. Kinugasa (衣笠山), known also as Mt. Kinukake (絹笠山).

The mountain is named after an incident involving Emperor Uda (宇多天皇).
#Kyoto #Japan #衣笠山
Read 6 tweets
Today is the beginning of a three-day period celebrating mitarashi dango (みたらし団子)!🎉

Actually, this happens every month from the 3rd-5th because...
3= 'MI' (み)
4= 'taraSHI' (たらし)
5= 'danGO' (だんご)

Tenuous wordplay? Yes.
Fun? Also, yes.
In its traditional form, mitarashi dango is made up of 5 small rice dumplings...skewered, grilled, and served with a sweet soy sauce glaze.

Legend has it that the inspiration for the snack came from a miraculous incident involving Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇 1288-1339).
During one of Go-Daigo's outings to Shimogamo-jinja, 5 bubbles appeared in the water as he purified his hands.
Interpreted as the human body (五体 - head, arms and legs), it was taken as a fortuitous sign.
The emperor offered 5 rice dumplings (4 big & 1 small) to the shrine gods.
Read 12 tweets
For 25 years Kurita Kōichi (栗田宏一) has walked the length and breadth of Japan, gathering small samples of soil from each settlement (whether hamlet, village, town or city) he passes through.
At Hōnen-in (法然院) he made a dedication of his life's work. ImageImageImageImage
Kurita's dedication was inspired by the temple's 'sange' (散華), a ritual offering of flowers made early each morning. 25 flowers (usually camellia) are dedicated to a statue of Amida. The flowers represent the 25 bodhisattva who help Amida take the souls of the dead to paradise.
Hōnen-in is no stranger to using earth and sand as a form of offering.

Upon entering the temple visitors pass through the 'Byakusadan' (白砂壇), 2 terraces of white sand (roughly 7m long, 3m wide and 10cm high).
Said to symbolize water, the sand purifies the body and soul.
#京都 ImageImageImageImage
Read 13 tweets

Wibbly-wobbly warabimochi (わらび餅)☺️

A popular summer snack in Kansai, the melt-in-your-mouth warabimochi is a jelly-like sweet traditionally made from bracken starch (わらび粉 'warabiko').
It's covered with sweet, toasted soybean flour (黄粉).
There is a legend that Emperor Daigo (醍醐天皇 885-930) loved a particular type of warabimochi so much that he bestowed on it the rank of 'dayū' (大夫 -5th court rank). Over time 'Oka-tayū' (岡大夫) came to be used for warabimochi in general.
#Kyoto #Japan #わらび餅 #warabimochi
As real bracken starch (warabi) can be very expensive, many stores nowadays substitute it with potato, tapioca or kudzu (Japanese arrowroot) starch.

Today's delicious warabimochi is from Sagano's 'Chikuji-an' (嵯峨野/竹路庵). It's absolutely buried in kinako!🙌
#Japan #Kyoto
Read 13 tweets

Between July 10-14th the floats that will participate in the Gion Matsuri's first parade (the 'Saki Matsuri' 先祭り - July 17th) are constructed. The parts are laid out, slotted together, and then meticulously bound in rope.
#Kyoto #祇園祭
The 'hoko' (鉾) take around 3 days to complete, the smaller 'yama' (山) only 1. Float decorations are displayed in the 'kaisho' (会所), the meeting place of each 'float neighbourhood'.
Using only rope to bind the float skeletons allows for much more flexibility during the parade. ImageImageImageImage
Float frames are known as 'yagura-gumi' (やぐら組み 'turret style'), and the method of binding is called 'nawa-garami' (縄がらみ 'rope construction').

Ropes are held in place by a series of intricate knots, such as the 'prawn knot' (海老結び) & 'female butterfly bow' (雌蝶結び). ImageImageImageImage
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July, consumed as it is with the Gion Matsuri, always passes in the blink of an eye, so I thought I'd compile a list of the 34 individual floats ('yamaboko' 山鉾) that you'll be able to see at this month's festival.

#GionMatsuri #祇園祭 #Kyoto ImageImageImageImage
1) NAGINATA-HOKO (長刀鉾)⚔️

The Naginata-hoko always leads the Gion Matsuri's first parade, the 'Saki Matsuri' (先祭り). As it is exempt from the lottery to determine the position of the floats, it was known in the past as 'Kuji-torazu' (くじ取らず 'Lot-drawing Not Necessary'). ImageImageImageImage
The float's name comes from the long halberd (鉾 'hoko') that rises from its roof to drive away evil. It is said the original was made by famed swordsmith Sanjō Munechika (三條宗近) in the 10thC to thank the gods after his daughter was spared from a terrible plague.
#Japan #Kyoto ImageImageImageImage
Read 86 tweets
Asukai-no-Masatsune (飛鳥井雅経 1170-1221) was founder of the Asukai school of kemari.
A skilled poet (134 of his poems appeared in imperial anthologies), he served in the 'Poetry Bureau' (和歌所), helped compile the 'Shin Kokin Wakashū', and authored 'Kemari Ryakki' (蹴鞠略記).
Long before Shiramine-jingū, the principle shrine to occupy this land belonged to the 'god of sports' (精大明神). It was paid for by the retired Emperor Go-Toba (後鳥羽上皇 1180-1239) when he visited the mansion of the Asukai (繁乃井殿 'Shigenoi-dono') for a religious festival.
Go-Toba constructed the shrine beside the 'Shige-no-i' (繁乃井), 1 of 7 famed wells in the capital during the Heian period.
Because of its connection to the Asukai clan & Fujiwara-no-Narimichi (藤原成通 1097-1162), the shrine eventually became home to 'Sei Daimyōjin' (精大明神).
Read 21 tweets

chirr-chirr! insects also
work their looms...
stars of Tanabata

Tanabata (七夕), also known as 'Hoshi-matsuri' (星祭り 'Star Festival'), celebrates the reunion of Orihime & Hikoboshi on the 7th day of the 7th month. ImageImageImageImage
Tanabata (七夕) evolved from 1 of the 'Go-sekku' (五節句), 5 events held on auspicious days throughout the year. Imported by the imperial court from China, these festivals now coincide with the 1st January, 3rd March, 5th May, 7th July and 9th September.
#Kyoto #Japan #七夕 #京都 ImageImageImageImage
Some of the year's most arresting sweets appear at Tanabata🥰

🌟Kameya Kiyonaga's (亀屋清永) 'ama-no-gawa' (天の川) and 'hoshizukuyo' (星づく夜)
🌟Tsuruya Yoshinobu's (鶴屋吉信) 'hoshi-matsuri' (星まつり) and 'tanabata' (七夕)
#七夕 #和菓子 #京都 ImageImageImageImage
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Human trafficking & sexual enslavement revealed by 🇯🇵 #Kyoto's ex- #maiko herself. Kiyoha exposed her #MeToo that her 'owners' brainwashed underaged girls to serve their 'customers' by forcing them to drink alcohol and bathe with them naked. In English👇
"I may be vanished for doing this, but this is the reality of being a maiko. At 16, I was forced to drink tons of alcohol & bathe with my customers (I escaped). Tell me if this passes as a 'traditional culture'. The photo shows me winning a drinking match against a customer."/1
"Hard to believe this was in 2017. I might get killed for tweeting this, but nothing will change unless someone lets this out. I didn't want to keep quiet about others attempting suicide or going mental like every single year. Kyoto's a scary place. But don't get mad at me ♡"/2
Read 17 tweets

In 1903 the head priest of Nenbutsu-ji (念仏寺) and neighbouring Fukuden-ji (福田寺) began to gather up stone Buddhist statues from all around the local area.
By the time he was finished they numbered 8000!

#Kyoto #Japan #化野念仏寺 #京都 #Obon
From ancient times the poor (and not so poor) abandoned the dead in Adashino (化野), an area that now equates with the stretch of land between Nison-in (二尊院) & Nenbutsu-ji (念仏寺).
By the Heian period it had become 1 of Heian-kyō's 3 Great Crematory Grounds (三大葬地).
Come for the statues, stay for the bamboo🎋

young bamboo
and old bamboo...
full of pluck
-Kobayashi Issa (小林一茶), 1824.
Trans. David G. Lanoue.

#Kyoto #京都 #Japan #bamboo #化野念仏寺 #嵯峨野 #AdashinoNenbutsuji #竹 #haiku
Read 22 tweets

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