Kyōto (京都) was the capital of Japan for over a millennium, and carries a reputation as its most beautiful city. However, visitors may be surprised by how much work they will have to do to see Kyoto’s beautiful side. Most first impressions of the city will be of the urban sprawl of central Kyoto, around the ultra-modern glass-and-steel train station, which is itself an example of a city steeped in tradition colliding with the modern world.
Nonetheless, the persistent visitor will soon discover Kyoto’s hidden beauty in the temples and parks which ring the city center, and find that the city has much more to offer than immediately meets the eye. …WikiTravel
Setsubun (February 3 or 4) A large bonfire and Shinto ceremony is held at Yoshida Shrine.
Hanatoro (March 14-23 in Higashiyama and December 14-23 in Arashiyama) Streets and temples are decorated with lanterns and flowers, and many places have extended viewing hours into the night.
Cherry Blossom Season (April 1-15; days vary depending upon the weather) Although viewing the blossoms is enough for many, special events are often held throughout the city.
Aoi Matsuri (May 15) Beginning at Kyoto Imperial palace, a large procession dressed in Heian Period garbs walks to Shimogamo Shrine and finishes at Kamigamo Shrine.
Gion Matsuri (July 17) Many Mikoshi are paraded through the streets. It is considered to be one of the top three festivals in Japan.
Daimonji Gozan Okuribi (August 16) The hillside in Northwestern Kyoto is lit aflame in this festival honoring one’s ancestors. Candle lanterns are floated out in Hirosawa Pond.
Jidai Matsuri (October 22) People dressed in traditional garbs parade to Heian Shrine.…WikiTravel
As fireworks light up the winter night, scores of men, women and teenagers crying “washoi, washoi” haul the last of six towering, lantern-covered floats up a small hill and into the town center, the culminating moment of a Shinto festival that has evolved from a harvest thanksgiving into a once-a-year meeting between two local gods. (Japan Today)
Two Japanese restaurants have shot to the top of the La Liste ranking of best places to eat in the world, with a third one getting the second highest mark from the authoritative “guide of guides”. (Japan Today)
For most city residents, trains and subways are an integral part of daily life, and few countries have embraced rail travel like Japan. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that one of the best train museums in the world is found here: the Kyoto Railway Museum — and it’s a great place to visit with kids. (Japan Times)
The town of Kutchan, part of the Niseko tourism zone that includes a number of popular ski resorts in Hokkaido, introduced a 2 percent levy Friday for stays at all lodging facilities in its jurisdiction, marking the first such accommodation tax system in Japan. (Japan Today)
Tourists in Kyoto will no longer be able to take pictures in privately-owned alleys near one of the most photographed spots in the city. Locals say the ban has come after disrespect shown by some visitors.
Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka rank among the world’s best 10 large cities — with the Japanese capital topping the list for a fourth successive year — according to U.S. luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler. (Japan Today)
Foreign tourists in a popular sightseeing spot in Kyoto are being reminded of etiquette via their smartphones in a pilot project that began Monday, after local residents complained of their behavior, such as taking pictures of geisha and their apprentice maiko without permission. (Kyodo)
Among Japan’s 72 major cities outside of Tokyo, Kyoto retained its top spot as the metropolis with the greatest strengths for the second consecutive year, thanks to its allure as a tourism destination, a Tokyo-based think tank said Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Although Nara has become a favorite of international tourists in recent years, the city, which served as the nation’s ancient capital from 710 to 784, has historically been a bit off the beaten path. (Japan Times)
Much of Japan sweltered on Tuesday, as temperatures hovered around 35 degrees Celsius. Weather officials are urging people to take precautions against heatstroke, as the hot weather is expected to continue for about a week.
In Japan, there is no food more beloved than ramen, and there’s no town more ramen crazy than Kyoto’s Ichijoji neighborhood. It’s considered the most competitive ramen area in the country, a place where famous national chains are born — and hopes and dreams soar and crumble in the ramen industry. Ichijoji is well known in Japan but virtually unknown outside the country so — WELCOME to KYOTO! (ONLY in JAPAN)