Category Archives: Kyoto

Beyond Kyoto: A Daytrip to Hiroshima

Hiroshima is different from other tourist spots in Japan. This country is filled with places that absolutely need to be experienced to be fully understood, but Hiroshima is different than cultural spots like Kyoto or the areas of scenic beauty around Mt. Fuji. It has an intangible feeling of history to it that is unlike anywhere else. The subject matter of the city’s main historical focus is dark, but Hiroshima offers moments of surprising lightness that stand out as a welcome counter. The key is finding this balance when visiting, which can be done conveniently as a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka.

KyoTours Japan doesn’t currently offer tours to Hiroshima, but judging from the amount of requests we get, it’s a popular destination. I often tell guests that Hiroshima is a pretty straightforward sightseeing experience that they can do on their own with a little bit of preparation and planning, so that’s what this blog is all about! Read on for some helpful info and tips for planning your day in Hiroshima.

Give Peace a Chance

It’s undeniable that Hiroshima stands as one of the most important locations in 20th century history, if not the history of all mankind. As the first of only two places where nuclear weapons have been used in warfare, the monumental nature of Hiroshima is clear. As uncomfortable as this can be to confront as a tourist, to ignore it is a mistake.

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First Fridays with the Joshua Breakstone Trio at Bond’s Rosary, Kyoto

Source: deep kyoto

Good news for Jazz fans! Renowned American jazz guitarist, Joshua Breakstone has moved to Kyoto and will be playing here regularly in a special series of “First Fridays” starting this July. The venue is a great new jazz club in Gion called Bond’s Rosary. Says Joshua, “On the first Friday of every month I’ll be there with my trio and we’ll invite a special guest to play with us.” The special guests booked for the first three months are alto sax player, Gary Tegler on July 6th, vocalist Kunie Iwanami on August 3rd, and pianist Philip Strange on September 7th.

If you can’t make it to Joshua’s Kyoto shows, fear not! Joshua will also be playing a series of Last Saturday gigs at Basin Street in the nearby city of Kobe.

About Joshua Breakstone
“The signature characteristics of Joshua’s playing style are melodic inventiveness, fluid, horn-like lines, and harmonies etched by careful note selection.” – Tim Berens

Joshua Breakstone has been described as “a discreetly confident force of nature in command of his own technical power”. With over 20 albums recorded since his 1983 debut, “Wonderful!”, Breakstone has recorded with jazz legends such as Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, and Pepper Adams. His most recent recording, “Children of Art”, is a tribute to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and will be available for sale at his shows.

Bonds Rosary is a 4 minute walk from Exit 1A of Hankyu Kawaramachi Station and a 30 second walk from Exit 7 of Gion-Shijo Station. Here is a MAP of the location.

Basin Street is an 8 minute walk north of Sannomiya Station in Kobe. Here is …continue reading


Conserv’Session: Documentary Screening of “SEED – The Untold Story” at Kyoto University

Source: deep kyoto

Thanks to Zsofia Budai of the Conserv’Session group for the following message.

On June 23rd, we will screen the documentary “SEED – The Untold Story” (2016, 94 min), at Kyoto University, in English with a presentation and discussion in Japanese in English.

Film synopsis:
Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. SEED features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke and Raj Patel.

After the movie, Chuck Kayser (Founder of Midori Farm, Kyoto and Shiga, Japan) will lead a discussion about the film, food systems, and opportunities for involvement at a local level. The discussion will be bilingual (Japanese and English).

The event will be held in the International Seminar House of Kyoto University’s Yoshida Main Campus (京都大学吉田キャンパス国際交流セミナーハウス) from 15:30 to 17:30. No registration is required, and entrance is free!

Conserv’Session is series of events aimed at screening films to raise awareness and promote dialogue about a variety of topics from wildlife conservation to resource management to human rights. These sessions are organized by graduate students of Kyoto University and attended by students, local community members, and visiting academics. Entrance is always free and events are open to everyone. We even provide free drinks and snacks that are often times homemade!

For more information about Conserv’Session and Midori Farm, check out the following …continue reading


Dispatches from the Yatsuhashi War

A war has broken out in Kyoto. It’s not the kind fought by samurai with swords in ages past, but it’s just as divisive and ugly. Maybe even more, as Kyotoites take their confections pretty seriously.

That’s right, this battle is raging over sweets. Specifically yatsuhashi, a flavorful treat that comes in a variety of styles and flavors.

Souvenirs are a big deal in Kyoto, and none are more sought after by Japanese visitors than wagashi (Japanese sweets). Among wagashi, yatsuhashi stands supreme as the most popular. The Kyoto municipal government reports that at least 40% of domestic tourists return home with a package of these beloved sweets. Within the wide variety of Kyoto meibutsu (famous local goods), yatsuhashi holds a special place at the top of the pile. Yatsuhashi are THE Kyoto souvenir. Period.

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