The weather in Kyoto has been very weird. It was sooooooo cold especially on Tuesday this week. When I left the office, I felt the chilly air and thought winter finally came… Lots of people were wearing winter clothes and hurrying home. But, it’s really warm today. According to the weather forecast, the temperature is going up to 23 degrees in Kyoto. As I am very sensitive to the cold weather, the news made me so happy this morning! One bad thing is…this warm weather doesn’t help the leaves change the colours!!!!!(Risa)
My friends from Nara came to Kyoto to go hiking in Daigo area yesterday. Daigo is located in southeast area. It’s quite easy to get there by subway. Anyway, my friends went there to visit the oldest surviving wooden structure in Kyoto. It’s a five story pagoda at Daigoji temple. It was built in 952. The construction of the temple itself started in 874 but all the other buildings except for the pagoda was destroyed during several wars in the history. You think it’s impressively old, don’t you? Well, it is amazing that a building that is over 1000 years old is still surviving today. But if you like old structures, there is “THE” oldest surviving wooden structure in the world not too far from here. It is Horyuji temple in Nara. The temple was founded in 607 by Prince Shotoku…so it is about 350 years older than the five story pagoda in Daigoji temple!!! Doesn’t it make you want to go to those places and touch the buildings when you hear how old they are? (Junko)
*Both the temples are registered as world heritage sites.
I went hiking to Kurama & Kifune with friends last Sunday. We took the train from Demachiyanagi station to Kurama station. After we got off the train, we took the most popular way from the Kurama station to Kuramaji-temple. I can’t remember how long it took…but maybe 40 min or less. We had a little lest at the temple, and then we headed to Kifune. It is really a nice hiking trail in beautiful nature. We also visited the famous Kifune Shrine after we got off the Kurama Mountain. (If you want to know more about the shrine, please visit our website http://kyotoguesthouses.com/sitedyn.php?SITE_ID=23) We took the train from Kibuneguchi station (not Kurama station) on our way back to the town.
Today is a special day for me personally. This is my last day at work. I just want to thank all the customers in the past. We started this website about a year ago and it has been very successful thanks to you all. We have had a lot of nice and friendly customers and I want to thank all of them but especially to Mrs. S from Toronto, Canada. She was so happy with our service that she offered to help us adverting in her country. She asked us to send her some brochures which we didn’t have at the time…so I immediately designed and made brochures with my friends help (thanks for your help, Greg) and sent it to her. Thank you so much Mrs. S! I appreciate your help, but what I appreciate more are your e-mails telling me how you liked our service and your message to me that you left at the ryokan you stayed at.
I would like to thank Ian, our website designer again for making this beautiful website. He is one of my closest friends and a very talented website designer. I feel very lucky to have these wonderful people around me to help us. Anyway, of course Kyoto Guesthoses will stay on business so please keep on enjoying the news here and if you ever come to Kyoto, please let Kyoto Guesthouses help you! Thank you very much! Bye-bye! (Junko)
We have never had a day where we didn’t hear his name [Daisuke Matsuzaka] in the sports news for weeks. He is a Japanese right-handed pitcher who plays for the Seibu Lions in Japan’s pacific League. He became a national hero when he was a high school student. His performance garnered the attention of a great many scouts, but he was taken by the Seibu Lions with the first pick of 1998 draft. He has played a very active part for the team for 8 years. On October 24th, Scott Boras was announced as Matsuzaka’s agent to represent him in any contract dealings in the American Major Leagues. On November 2nd, he was officially granted permission by the Lions to pursue a career in Major League Baseball via the posting system. On November 14th, it was announced that the Boston Red Sox had won the bidding rights to Matsukaza with a bid of $51.1 million. (It really is big money, isn’t it?) Through the posting system, Boston outbid the other teams including the Texas Rangers, the New York Mets, and the New York Yankees. I hope Matsuzaka will sign a contract with the Boston with no problem and he will do well in the Major League too!!!! (Risa)
I visited Tofuku-ji temple with one of my close friends on Sunday. It took 19 years (1236 ? 1255) to build the temple on the instructions of Kujo Michiie, the great statesman of Kamakura period. Its name, Tofuku-ji is a combination of one character from the names of temples in Nara Prefecture. The original building was burned but it was rebuilt in 15th century according to the original plans. It flourished as one of the Five Great Temples in Kyoto at the time. Even now, the temple attracts sooooooooooo many people from all over the world…especially in this season. Its tinted autumn leaves are really famous…lots of people say the leaves at the temple much redder than the others. It will take a little more while before we can see the famous burning red leaves…but we enjoyed the changing colours of autumn leaves so much! I took some photos in the rain…but they don’t look really nice…so I decided not to put them here…sorry! (Risa)
Christmas comes along in a month or so… Yesterday, I saw the news that Christmas markets are now being held in the cities throughout Europe. Are you already busy preparing for Christmas presents for your family and friends? I just remembered I stayed up late and wrapped so many presents every night when I was in New Zealand in the Christmas season. I know Christmas is a very important event for you in many countries in the world, and you will have a long holiday during that time. Are you looking forward to it? I bet you are!!! The downtown Kyoto is getting christmasy… I will take the photo of town and put it here soon! (Risa)
I went to Fushimi Inari Taisha, which is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the spirit Inari, with one of my good friends on Saturday. It is especially famous for the thousands of vermillion torii lining the paths on the hill on which the shrine is located. The torii gates are all donations from individuals, families or companies. The Inari spirits is considered to be the protector of grains, especially rice, and has thus historically been associated with wealth. Company officials often make offerings to Inari shrines in the form of barreles of sake (rice wine) or torii gates. The torii gates are wood, and they are replaced about every 10 years. There is a walking trail behind the main building of shrine. There are ups and downs, but it takes only about 2 hours (even if you walk very slowly) to do the walk. The view of the never-ending torii is amazing…I think it is one of the things you should see in Kyoto!!! (Risa)
Did you have a neat weekend? I met a lovely lady, Amy from Seattle, USA on Saturday. We visited [Tenryu-ji] and [Okochi-Sanso] in Arashiyama, and then we headed to Kiyotaki by bus. Why Kitotaki? There is a nice hiking trail from Kiyotaki to Takao along the Tokai Natural Way. After we got off the bus, we started walking along the Kiyotaki River. It was soooooooo refreshing to walk in nature, e.g. the contrast between green and orange, the pure water, fresh forest air, and so on. We were completely fascinated by the beauty of nature. DEATH BY NATURE ? It is indeed an accurate expression Amy told me. We passed by three famous temples, [Jingo-ji], [Saimyo-ji] and [Kozan-ji] along the way. We didn’t have time to visit Saimyo-ji, but we did fully enjoy Jinjo-ji and Kozan-ji. Umm…I can’t explain how great the temples are in one day…I’ve got 4 days left this week, so I will post an article one by one every day. How many temples did we visit? Yes, 4 temples!!! Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? (Risa)
Actually I didn’t know what [Okochi-Sanso] is…I only knew the name… The late Okochi Denjiro, who was a popular movie star, started to build the villa and garden when he was 34. He was attracted to the Mt. Ogura area, where the poet Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241) was living when he edited the famous anthology of Japanese waka poems known as the Hyakunin Isshu. He spent the greater part of his performance fee for the garden until he died at 64. The total area of this site covers about 5 acres. Yes, it is indeed a huge garden. I couldn’t believe it was someone’s house… The Okochi Denjiro invited his movie star friends to the villa and entertained the company. After you enjoy the beautiful garden, you will be served Matcha (powdered green tea) and a Japanese cake. I think it is a perfect place to relax your tired body and soul!!! (Risa)
I think it’s the best way to do the sightseeing. If you have time, I recommend you to go up to the mountain by gondola. The sand bar can be viewd from mountains on either side of the bay. Visitors are recommended to view the Amanohashidate, (heaeven’s bridge in English) by turing their back to it, then bending over and looking at it upside down from between their legs. (Risa)
We still had 30 minutes for looking around the temple and the garden. I wished if we could have seen the autumn colours in the garden, but I am very pleased the visitors enjoyed the view so much. As Junko wrote in the news on Nov. 7th, the famous temples in Kyoto are open for night-time visitors during the season. If you are around Kyoto during the season, I strongly recommend you to visit one of them! (Risa)
The light on the train was switched off all of a sudden…why? The lit-up trees could be seen through the train windows. I thought it was quite beautiful. Although it was raining…and it was very cold (when I looked at the thermometer, it was only 4 degrees!), I did enjoy the hike so much. The autumn colour season has finally started in the area ? Kurama & Kifune are located in the northern part of Kyoto city, so it’s much colder than the downtown area -. I guess the best time for the autumn colours will come pretty soon! (Risa)
As I promised yesterday, I will talk about [Tenryuji] here today. It is located in front of Arashiyama Station of Keifuku Railroad. The temple is the first ranked of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto. It was built by Shogun Takauji Ashikaga in 1339, for the purpose of consoling the soul of Emperor Go-daigo. The garden, designed in the stroll-around style, remains the same form as when it was designed by Muso Soseki in the 14th century. You will notice aristocratic tradition and Zen culture are well blended in the garden. I think we can see the beauty of nature in every season. Of course, we enjoyed the autumn foliage! (Risa)
The famous Kukai and Saicho also visited the temple for peace and solitude before they built their own mountain temples. The Jingoji is also very famous for the beautiful colored leaves. When we visited there last Saturday, it was at the height of the autumn foliage. Lots of people were enjoying the gorgeous scenery there. I have to mention one more thing before I stop writing the news… As you can see the photo below, you have to go up steep stairs to get to the temple. (Risa)