Sky Of Kyoto

I came to Kyoto last October for the first time. I thought Kyoto was a historic old city for a long time. However, when I arrived in Kyoto and saw it with my own eyes, I found many aspects of Kyoto that I have never imagined.

Kyoto is not only a historic city, but also an international city. You can see many foreigners including tourists, when you are walking along Sanjyo or Shijyo. Also you will find that menus in English, Chinese, Korean and some other languages are offered in most of the restaurants in Kyoto. When it gets dark, you will see many bands which have foreign members doing live shows along the Kamokawa River. For these reasons, I believe that Kyoto is no less a real international city than Tokyo.

Thanks to Kyoto City Landscape Policy, all the natural sceneries and historical places in Kyoto are maintained well. Building Height Control Districts make it possible to see all the mountains and temples and feels like the sky is much clearer and wider.

He Feng shen

He Feng shen

I like the sky of Kyoto. Mountains, rivers, temples look more beautiful with the clear sky of Kyoto. My favorite background of sceneries is the sky. I often view the sunset and stars from the balcony of my room. I first saw the Big Dipper in Kyoto. I don't really like rainy days for I always feel depressed when it rains.However, it makes me like Kyoto's sky even more, because to watch the moment that the sunshine breaks through the clouds is amazing to me.

I feel relaxed seeing Kamokawa River beneath the purple sky on my usual way home in the morning.

I like Kyoto. I like the city. I like the sky.I am going to go back to my country this September, I will miss Kyoto. I believe that I will come here again some time. I will be looking forward to seeing the SKY of Kyoto again.

- He Feng shen

Kyoto Station

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Culture - International Students, Attention Please!
"Ryugakusei Okoshiyasu PASS"

Ryugakusei Okoshiyasu PASS

Ryugakusei Okoshiyasu PASS - a pass for international exchange students

It is not an exaggeration to say that Kyoto is the birthplace of Japanese culture and arts. We hope that you will act as mediators between our cultures in the near future. We would be happy for you to enjoy the arts and culture of Kyoto and to become a fan of Kyoto.

Kyoto City publishes "Ryugakusei Okoshiyasu PASS" (a pass for international exchange students). Please use them! Please check Kyoto International Students Information Site for further information, which is on the website of the Kyoto City International Foundation.

Period of the service

From 1st-31st of August 2009, from 1st-28th of February 2010

You can enter the following 8 attractions for free

Nijo Castle, Murin-an, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto Municipal Zoo, Kyoto International Manga Museum, Kaleidoscope Museum of Kyoto, Kyoto Municipal Science Center For Youth, Kyoto Municipal Museum of School History

# Free admission to the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art is only valid for the permanent collection of the Museum

Kyoto International Students Information Site
Please click the icon of the website of Kyoto City International Foundation.

- IKUTA, Minoru

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Life information - When an earthquake comes, what will you do?

September 1st is the day of Disaster Prevention. On this day, the big earthquake had occurred around the Kantou Area on September 1st 1923.

Emergency Manual in case of Earthquake

On this day, the Disaster Prevention drill will be carried out all over Japan. An earthquake occurs periodically. The big earthquake is expected to happen between the beginning and the middle of 21st century in the Kantou Area, Kansai Area and Chubu Area.

What will you do if the big earthquake occurs?

First of all, you should join the organization of the independent disaster prevention. By joining this organization, you can get acquainted with your neighborhood. It is important to know about the refuge area in your town and where the fire extinguishers are located at, etc. Please ask about the organization of the independent disaster prevention in your neighborhood or seek information from your land-lord. Also, you should prepare three day's emergency food and drink.

If the big earthquake occurs, the first thing you have to do is to put out any fire, then shelter under the desk, and never run out the door.

In any case you need to protect yourself.

In addition, the over night evacuation shelter training will be carried out at Kyoto International Community House. So please join!

Date and time : from November 14th, Saturday, 4:00pm to 15th, Sunday 9:30a.m.
Place : Kyoto International Community House

- IKUTA Minoru

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When talking about the summer of Kyoto, one is naturally reminded of GIONMATSURI. However, do you know there is another famous national festival in addition to GIONMATSURI? It is a religious festival called Farewell fires of Gozan.

During the festival, firewood arranged to form large Chinese characters is lighted with fire at night on various mountains in Kyoto. "Gozan-no-Okuribi" is held on the day after Obon every year (after 8:00pm August 16 near Higashiyama).

The word "Dai" will be lighted at Higashinyoigatake at 8:00pm on August, 16th to signal the start of the event.At 8:10pm, the two characters for the word "Myoho" will be lighted at Matsugasaki-Higashiyama and Nishiyama correspondingly.

These were followed by the lighting of the boat-shaped pattern "Funagata" at "Nishikamo-Funayama" and the "Hidari-Daimonji" at the Ohkitayama at 8:15pm.

So what is the rationale behind this event? There are various explanations. The most popular version says that during the Obon time in Japan, the characters and patterns are lighted to guide the ghosts who returned to visit our temporal world back to the underworld.

I hope the explanation here has helped you understand "Gozan-no-Okuribi" better. So let's participate in the traditional summer festival to show respect to the deceased ones who live in the underworld.

the word "Dai (大)" is lighted

- TEI Keibun
- translated by HE Feng Shen

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This is the place to be spent peacefully on a bright day. Kitayama-dori is such a place for me. This is not like the traditional Kyoto Ave, such as Karasuma and Kawaramachi-dori, but you can enjoy it by walking around Kitayama-dori, because there are lots of café, cake shops, and general shops. I am originally from Hyogo prefecture, so I feel nostalgic like being in Kobe. There are also many churches, wedding halls and fashionable restaurants. You might be able to see dress appearances of the brides on the weekend. Is it only me that has feelings of happiness when seeing the newly-married couple?

An especially recommended place is "Kyoto Botanical Gardens" in the Kitayama-dori. Even though Kyoto is a naturally rich town, there are many flowering plants in these botanical gardens, and it becomes a study. You can enjoy a different atmosphere whenever you go. Blooming time is also different according to the season such as cherry blossoms, plum trees, bamboo forests, and roses. When I went, the rose was very wonderful and in full-bloom.

Moreover, there is a big place in the botanical gardens where we can play little games like badminton. You'll be able to have a happy time if you go with friends or family. It was possible to walk around the garden with the guide map that recorded the flowering situation of the plant. I felt like the map was retro, because it was a hand-written map. Also, the bar-code reader is attached to some plants, and it can tell details of the plant when reading it with the cell phone. Because it is changed to English, the foreigners can understand it. There was a bar-code reader in various places recently; I thought it became very convenient.

There are lots of natures gifts in Kitayama-dori. How about a stroll there, and spend some relaxed time there when you have no school and work?

- IKEDA, Kana

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Culture - Tasty drink in summer

I like coffee. I drink it in the morning. I keep the rest of it in a tumbler and I take it to my office. I add lots of ice in it to keep it cool from the heat from my computer. I sometimes drink plum juice for refreshment. We sweat in this season. What kinds of drink do you like? When I lived in New York, coffee was popular regardless of the season. Because they could carry coffee beans by land from Central and South America, various kinds of beans were in the bags and lined up in markets at a low price. In the busy mornings, I often saw people would have a bagel with coffee for breakfast in a cafe before going to the work place. During the summer in New York, the heat would gradually increase and frequent rehydration was necessary. I often got iced coffee, because it was just $ 1 for a plastic cup of it in a grocery store. The pink lemonade was sometimes in the cup such as the iced coffee, too and was sold. That is sour; coffee was sweeter, and was delicious when I was tired.

In Japan, speaking of summer, my favorite drink is barley tea. I love the fragrant smell when I put a barley tea pack in boiling water. Because I dislike water, I drink barley tea. When it is so warm and feel lazy, I gulp down barley tea and revive. Whenever I ride a bicycle and participate in an event, I take a frozen barley tea in a PET bottle. Barley tea is light and slightly bitter. It is easy to drink. Not high-quality tea, it is the tea which has been loved by the common people.

Because Kyoto is a production center for tea, various green teas are available. Even if it is not high-quality, attach the "o" of the polite word; we call it "OCHA." We call it with this prefix. When I am sleepy, I will buy a PET bottle of thick tea. I may even add sugar and may drink the powdered green tea used at a tea ceremony by adding the coffee to it; the bitterness of the coffee is combined with that of the tea and is delicious.

In addition, the plum juice is a delicious Japanese drink. When it is early summer, the fruits of the plum cause a line to form in the supermarket. When I make pinholes on the fruits and store them in a bottle with crystal sugar for a while, plum juice is made. It seems to be a trace of the spring, and has a bittersweet fragrance and taste. I mix juice with soda and I put fruit and drink it.

These drinks are easily available in different places, and the tastes are all different. While you are in Kyoto, please enjoy a Japanese drink.


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Culture - Let's enjoy Japanese Culture through the short films

The Japan Foundation Kyoto Office will present a screening series introducing various aspects of Japanese Culture with English narration. The number of the film is 50 and will be put on the screen from September to November. The schedule of September show times is below.

Date films (length in minutes)
Tue. Sept. 1st Jewels of The Skies : The Fireworks of Japan (35min.) Kites of Japan (28min.)
Wed. Sept 2nd Continuity in Craftsmanship : Lacquerware in Tohoku (30min.)
Maki-e : Gold Lacquer (31min.)
Thu. Sept 3rd Hand-made Japanese Paper (31min.) Tsutsumu (28min.)
Fri. Sept. 4th Stencil Dyeing : Edo Komon and Chugata (30min.)
The Beauty of Japanese Embroidery : A Meeting of Spirit and Technique (38min.)
Tue. Sept. 8th From the Asian Continent : Chinese Characters and Buddhism in Japan (29min.)
On A Wind from The South : The First European Impact on Japanese Culture (29min.)
Wed. Sept 9th Buddhist Art (27min.) Horyuji Temple (23min.)
Thu Sept. 10th Zen Culture, Zen Spirit (29min.)
Zen Temple : The Eiheiji (50min.)
Thu. Sept. 17th Sesshu : Great Landscape Painter of Japan (30min.)
Hokusai : Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (30min.)
Fri. Sept. 18th The Bunraku Puppet Theatre (35min.)
Bunraku : Sonezaki Shinju Journey to The Tenjin Woods (28min.)

Time, place, fee information

Time: 3:00 pm
Place: Kyoto international Community House - Event Hall
Fee: Free
Organizer: Japan Foundation Kyoto Office
Co-Host: Kyoto City International Foundation

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Library Letter - Kyoto International community House library

We have the books such as...

To know more about world countries -
Long stay, studying abroad, working holiday, volunteer, etc..

To know more about Japan or your own country -
Books about Japanese culture, Kyoto sightseeing, Newspapers and Magazines from all over the world, study books on Japanese, etc...

# We do not have renting services. You can read freely in the library. Videos and DVDs are available to enjoy.


August 3 (Mon), 10(Mon), 17(Mon), 24(Mon), 30(Sun), 31(Mon)
September 7 (Mon), 14(Mon), 24(Thu), 28(Mon), 30(Wed)

Book introduction

This time Ms. Hisae Kinpara is introducing these books below. You can read them at our library.

"Eat Cold Tofu with a Knife and a Fork? Japanese Manners Incomprehensible for Foreigners"

Author: Rumi Sei
Publisher: Taiyou

This book describes the marked differences of feeling between the Japanese and the people from the other countries in a concise manner.
  There are differences in sensitivity among families in Japan. There are also remarkable ones among people from foreign countries with diverse environments.
  It is very important for Japanese to maintain their identity. However,I think that Japanese are aware of this as something to be overlooked intheir daily lives by enjoying and accepting the diversity within Japanese culture, considering them (remove "once again") from the viewpoint of foreigners.

"Recipes of Japanese Cooking"

Author: Yuko Fujita
Publisher: Natsume

Why don't you try to make Japanese home cooking?! There are recipes with pictures.

- By Ms. Hisae Kimpara

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Notice Board

Useful Guides - You can get at KCIF

"Early Living in Kyoto" & "Medical Handbook" -
free multilingual information booklets for foreigners living in Kyoto

Kyoto Life Map "Guide to Kyoto" 400 yen -
A useful map with the index of public institutions, schools, etc. in Kyoto

Useful Links

Medical Handbook:

Useful Kyoto Information:

Message board for information exchange:

Life in Kyoto is a free newsletter

Life in Kyoto is a free newsletter trying to support residents in Kyoto with providing information. LIK is published every even months, and four languages version is provided such as Japanese, English, Espanol and Chinese.

As we always want to know what you want to know through LIK, please tell us at mailbox in the lobby or

LIK Back Issues:

International volunteers wanted

If you are interested in writing articles, conducting interviews, translating, proofreading, photographing and accomplishing LIK with us, please don't hesitate to contact the office Life In Kyoto is put together by various nationalities' philanthropy.

Event Calendar

Changes on the dates and details of events can happen without notice. Please ask directly.

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