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
The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka’s French restaurant La Baie and The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto’s Japanese restaurant Tempura Mizuki have both been awarded one Michelin star in the Michelin Guide to Kyoto and Osaka 2018. (Japan Today)
Up to now, it has been a real hassle making advance reservations for Japan’s bullet trains from overseas. JR East finally set up an online reservation system a while back, but that was only for trains heading north from Tokyo. (rocketnews24.com)
A folding screen painted in ink featuring main characters of the Star Wars movie was unveiled Tuesday at Byodoin, a Buddhist temple on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in Kyoto Prefecture, ahead of the release of the latest episode in December. (Japan Times)
The city of Kyoto aims to introduce a lodging tax in 2018 at the earliest to cope with issues stemming from a surge in the number of tourists, based on a recommendation Monday from an advisory panel. (Japan Today)
A record number of foreign tourists visited Japan last year, but they stayed mainly in big cities. Government officials now plan to boost inbound tourism further by attracting more travelers into the countryside. (NHK)
With the aim of revitalizing its tourism industry in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Fukushima Prefecture is teaming up with neighboring Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures to establish a so-called “Diamond Route” to serve as an inbound tourism route linking major sightseeing spots. (the-japan-news.com)
The Imperial Household Agency on Tuesday started free distribution of a guide app that supports six languages for visitors to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and the Kyoto Imperial Palace. (the-japan-news.com)
About 500 people wearing ancient costumes and hollyhocks paraded through the streets of Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto. The procession is part of a traditional festival that attracts thousands of visitors every year. (NHK)