Strolling in Kyoto: Takeyacho & Ebisucho

Source: deep kyoto

This month Edward J. Taylor continues his ongoing exploration of Deep Kyoto’s streets by strolling not one but two: Takeyacho and Ebisucho.

The whisk of brooms has replaced the wail of sirens. Typhoon Jebi had roared through the day before, supposedly the strongest storm to hit Japan in 25 years. I could certainly believe it, the way that my old wooden house shook as if in fear. As I bicycled downtown to begin this walk today, I noticed large piles of branches and leaves in the wooden grounds of the temples and shrines along the way. The Imperial Palace grounds too had taken a pretty big hit, debris strewn haphazardly across the gravel seen through the gate.

Shortly after the storm passed, my neighbors were out to assess the damage, and to right things that had blown over. And this morning was a symphony of brooms, the entire neighborhood in a coordinated waltz. Many of the brooms were made of bamboo, in keeping with a centuries-old tradition. The bamboo industry in Kyoto had always been centered around the eponymous Takeyamachi, where dozens of shops served both the Imperial Palace and the shogunal administrators at Nijō-jo. I had long wondered how many of the old shops remained, so set off as the remnants of yesterday’s winds continued their own dance.

I start at Teramachi and walk west. The street is not a long one, and there is very little green remaining. Here and there are a few trees, and where there are trees there are leaves, a great many underfoot. As in my own neighborhood the older housewives are busy with their clean-up, wiping the dust from the grain of wooden screens and window frames. The street is pretty active, punctuated with people beginning their day. I am quickly finding …continue reading