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Miyako Odori – Geisha Dancing in Kyoto

March 26, 2018 by Mark Guthrie

The geisha is perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of Japan, an icon that conjures up images of beauty, grace and a time of pre-industrial Japanese tradition. Perhaps the most famous geisha are the geiko of Kyoto (geisha translates as “person of the arts”, yet the geisha of Kyoto prefer the name geiko, “arts child”). Centralized […]

5 Most Popular Festivals to Check Out in the Kansai Region

March 23, 2018 by Justin Hanus

There’s always a famous festival in every country that draws pilgrims, tourists, the one-time visitors and even locals. There’s that exhilarating energy that wafts in the air when you hear the drums booming, the music blaring, the dancing, the merriment and all the energy that is ablaze every time there’s a feast. Festivals are reminders […]

8 Most Popular Samurai Castles in the Kansai Region

February 26, 2018 by Justin Hanus

The Shogunate has been the most influential and highly esteemed form of government that began in Medieval Japan when the Imperial Court announced its birth through Minamoto no Yoritomo. Although the Imperial Palace still existed and headed the religious and bureaucratic leadership, the Shogunate became the de facto form of government and maintained this military […]

The Best Bike Rides Around Kansai

August 24, 2017 by Justin Hanus

Bicycles have long been a staple in Japanese life. Many of the roadways are built with designated bike lanes. Bicycle sheds are common at train stations to aid commuters and mechanical bicycle tree storage systems are familiar sights. Bike sharing systems and bike rental operations are ubiquitous and if you don’t have a bike, you […]

Gozan no Okuribi – Kyoto’s Obon Fire-Fest

July 11, 2017 by Mark Guthrie

The festival of Obon, a buddhist celebration of ancestors, is celebrated across Japan from the 13th-15th of August (excepting some regional variants).  During Obon, the spirits of ancestors return to this world to visit family altars, though they are not limited to that location! At the culmination of this festival, in Kyoto, is the Gozan […]

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