Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cultural activities

So every so often we like to go out and do something cultural in this very cultural city. That said, we'd been here over a month before we even went to a single temple. One highlight so far has been the Moon viewing festivals for Jugoya. On the actual Jugoya we went to a local shrine- the Hirano Jinja to see the lanterns, look for the moon through the clouds and listen to some really nice koto music. The kids were pretty good and since it was an outdoor performance as long as they weren't too loud they could wander around while we listened. Our oldest said it was not quite happy music and not quite sad music, but that it made you think of long ago. I don't think I could have said it better myself. The shrine was really beautiful all lit up at night. We also went to the moon viewing in Daikakuji. This lasts for three days so we thought we could see two. It was a very long bike ride from our home to Arashiyama- longer than we expected. But even E was good natured about it. Once there the shrine was really nice and they had some food available in stalls on the grounds- we had some mochi treats. For a fee we could have ridden a boat on the pond while drinking tea. That would have been nice, but not really kid friendly. Again there was some nice music including some classical chamber music. On the way home we saw a film crew at a nearby lake filming a night-time flood scene. I wonder what that was about?
We have also tried Tenjin-san. This is the monthly flea market at Kitano Tenmangu. Getting there early is definitely advisable. The kids enjoyed the matsuri food in the stalls and looking at the interesting wares for sale. They were especially intrigued by the games where you can win toys.
This week there is the Zuiki matsuri (festival) at Kitano Tenmangu. E has been learning about it in school and has even been on a field trip to see them harvesting the zuiki (taro stalks) for the portable shrines. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. Great stuff. Where do you learn about where and when these cultural activities take place? And have you any great ideas for rainy day activities while in Kyoto?

  2. The best place to learn about the events is the Kyoto visitors guide. I have a link to the right. Rainy day activities for me would be museums or even leisurely walks in gardens and the temples. Even the big temples are not as crowded and the rain actually brings out the colors in the gardens.