Walking in Kurama and Kibune

Walking in Kurama and Kibune

Walking in Kurama and Kibune

The first time I came to Kyoto, after going to famous places or temples, I decided I wanted to see something different and headed for Kurama and Kibune, two little towns in the north of Kyoto. It was the right choice, because I still have very good memories of that visit.

Kurama and Kibune have several famous spots like Kurama-dera(1), Kibune-jinja(2) (where the famous autumn fire festival takes place), Kurama onsen (hot spring), or the scenic and expensive Kibune restaurants over the river. Whatever you do if you visit these towns, will be an enjoyable experience, no matter if it’s a relaxing day at the onsen, or a nice summer lunch in Kibune.

But what I personally recommend is to walk down the path from Kurama to Kibune, which takes less than two hours. Starting the ascent from the Kurama side up the mountain, the path passes in front of Yuki-jinja and arrives at Kurama-dera. Behind Kurama dera is Kinone-no-michi (“Path of the tree roots”) which leads to the Kibune side. Don’t forget to take a rest here at the top of the mountain and enjoy the beautiful environment and the tree roots covering the ground like a carpet. After that, the path goes down the mountain to Kibune. From here there’s the option to ride on a bus to Kibune-guchi station, or walk along the gorge, next to Kibune river.

Although I went two autumns ago, I still remember it quite well. That’s why I’m awaiting the chance to come back and be sorrounded again by those trees and roots.

(1) “Dera”, a variation of “tera” meaning temple.
(2) “Jinja” means shrine.

David Gómez

David Gómez

¿Porqué no vais allí y lo veis por vosotros mismos?

Tomad la linea Eizan desde la estación de Demachiyanagi hasta la estación de Kurama, y desde allí es solamente un pequeño paseo hasta Kurama-dera y el comienzo del camino.

Why don't you go there and see it yourself?

Take the Eizan line from Demachiyanagi station to Kurama station, and from there, it's only a small walk to Kurama-dera and the begin of the path.

- David Gómez

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Yukata? Kimono?

David: How are the kimono and the yukata different?

Lower right: Yukata as stylish garment Upper right:  Yukata as pajamas Left: The yukata of cotton is comfortable though it spends

Upper right :Yukata as pajamas
Lower right :Yukata as stylish garment
Left: The yukata of cotton is comfortable though it spends

Even if you cannot understand the difference from just the front, you can distinguish them from the way of tying the belt on the back side. An ethnic costume of Japan, Kimono is classified according to the fabric and the drawn patterns. Their type was different according to their use: for instance, official visiting and ceremony. Yukata was originally a kimono of thin cotton put on for going up in the bath and in the room. The yukata is prepared in the inn of a hot-spring resort. Those are stripe with white and indigo fabric. We use them as pajamas. David might say the colorful yukata in the Gion festival is not different from the kimono.

Upper right:  Yukata as stylish garment

left: Kimono appearance seen in spring,
Purple and the pale green popular colors in the dress, stripes from of old
right: costumes based on kimono

Recently, the number of those who put on the kimono has increased along with the Japanese clothes boom. Yukata and kimono becomes going out wear/stylish garment to produce individuality centering on the young generation. Therefore, patterns of the yukata takes the patterns of the kimono and the patterns of novelty. I think that it is a good idea to put on a thin, stylish yukata because of hot weather in July when the Gion festival is held. It is often seen with a thin belt that is thinner than average when the Yukata in tied the old-fashioned way. If you become accustomed, you can tie the belt by yourself. The kimono is varied. Try to wear a Kimono or Yukata whenever you have the chance.


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What’s the Buzzing Noise Overhead?

What sounds do you associate with “summer” in your country?

In August 2007, I led a group of U.S. university students around the Kansai area. On a tree-lined street, I was surprised to hear their reaction to the loud buzzing noise coming from the branches.

“What is that sound, and will it fall on us?”

They asked. It was the song of the Japanese cicada (semi), which is one of the Japanese “sounds of summer”.Some people may find the sound unsettling, but I think there are many more, like me, who find it comforting.

Cicadas progress through three growth stages: Egg, nymph and adult. Although the song of the adult cicadas can be heard every summer, the nymphs actually live underground for many years. In summer, the nymphs finally come out to shed their skins (most often on tree trunks and branches) and mate before dying a few weeks later. Only the male cicadas produce the sounds you hear. Different cicada breeds emerge at different points, so it's possible to note the progression of the summer if you listen closely.

The song of the “Minmin-zemi” (meeen-meen-meen-meeeeee--) is often used in Japanese comics (manga) to symbolize mid-summer. Use the pull-down menus from the following website to find how many different cicada songs you can distinguish. Unfortunately, only scientific names are used on this website, but you will be able to hear the many distinct melodies of a Japanese summer.

Cicada songs  http://homepage2.nifty.com/saisho/cicadasongaac_e.html


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Flowers are charming in the rain

Japanese love seeing wet flowers in the early summer. There are four seasons in Japan. Japanese take pleasure in the cycle of the seasons.June, July and August are in the summer.

At the beginning of the summer, June is a rainy season. It rains almost every day. We think it’s a dreary season, but Japanese people enjoy the rainy season.

Lots of hydrangeas and iris are blooming and water lilies are in the pond. It’s a beautiful season with flowers wet in the rain in Kyoto. Especially after the rain the wet flowers are so nicely shining.

Let’s go for a walk to find blue or purple flowers with your umbrella in hand. I’ll tell you the places where you can see beautiful flowers in the early summer.

Heian Jingu Shrine (near KCIF)
About 2,000 irises and lots of classical water lilies are blooming in June. 600 yen, 8.30–17.30, 075–761–0221.

Fujinomori Shrine (in Fushimi)
About 3,500 hydrangeas are blooming in June. You can be served powdered green tea by the hydrangea lady for a small charge. 300 yen, 9.00–16.00, 075–641–1045.

Mimurotoji Temple (in Uji)
About 10,000 hydrangeas blooming among Japanese cedar are so nice in June, also about 200 lotus pots are fantastic and mysterious from the end of June to the beginning of August. The lotus is said to be the haven and paradise. 500 yen, 8.30–16.30, 0774–21–2067.

Course to there

Course to there



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Due to 2 best seller books, “kokka no hinkaku”(written by Masahiko Fujiwara) and “josei no hinkaku”(written by Mariko Bando), the word “hinkaku” remarkably attracted people to it. This word originally meant the elegance which you can feel toward a suitable behavior or an idealistic figure, but the meaning the authors of these books mentioned seems to be a bit different from this.

After the Meiji Restoration, Japan has eagerly gone reformations. As these reformations proceed, Japanese people’s samurai spirits or Japanese women’s modesty may well be unnecessary in modern Japan. In spite of this fact, we Japanese people shouldn't lose sight of these characteristics which are good qualities of us, and this is the opinion of those two authors.

Although the behavior of Japanese people have been changing recently, a foreigner's impression of Japanese people is still usually one of a sense of politeness or modesty. From my point of view, I really appreciate this fact. I wish Japanese people would keep developing without losing these traditional good qualities.

- YATAGAWA, Tatsuya

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Notice Board

Kyoto City Hall Flea Market If you don’t need it give it to someone who does!

When: June. 15 (Sun), July. 13 (Sun), 10AM-4PM
Where: On the corner of Kawaramachi Dori and Oikeseihoku,in front of City Hall
Sponsor: Plus One Network Tel: 075-229-7713

Check @http://www.plusone.ne.jp/ for the future schedule.

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