Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Kyoto prefecture study trip: Hakurei Sake brewery, Kurotani washi and Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate
In August, I went on the last study trip of the year with Osaka University. We went to three places around Kyoto prefecture- and we saw sake making, Japanese paper making and a place which I'd wanted to visit for ages- Amanohashidate. 
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Sunday, 12 February 2017

My last Tokyo trip (for now) Fireworks, Tokyo Sky Tree and the Imperial Palace

Tokyo Sky Tree
It was Marcus' last day in Japan, it was stupidly hot (Japanese summer is ew) so we decided to go on a little date to the imperial palace and have a chilled afternoon before meeting up with some other friends to see the Asakusa fireworks.
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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Experiencing a Japanese summer festival at the Tenjin Matsuri, Osaka

Tenjin Matsuri
The Tenjin matsuri was less than a week after Gion matsuri, but I wasn't going to miss it for anything. Apparently there were 1,000,000 people there, compared to the 300,000 people at the Gion matsuri. So yeah, it was a bit intense. Like the Gion matsuri, there were a lot of people in Yukata. There were also a lot of cute couples dressed up and going on dates <3 so cute.


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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

My last visit to Kyoto (for now) shopping at Nishiki market

Nishiki Market Kyoto
The last time I went to Kyoto, I was actually going on a shopping mission rather than sightseeing. I wanted to buy some geta sandles for Marcus and I figured that if I went to Kyoto, I'd either find super touristy ones, or I'd be able to find some proper ones in the famous Nishiki market.
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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Japanese summer festivals: Yoiyoiyama at the Gion Matsuri, Kyoto

Kyoto Gion Matsuri
Gion Matsuri is one of Japan's biggest festivals, and it's held in Kyoto. The festival involves huge rolling carts, called Yama and Hoko, which are set up in central Kyoto (around Shijo) and pulled around town in a huge procession (Yamabokojunko) on the day of the festival. This year, it fell on a weekend, with the main procession on Sunday so apparently it was going to be even busier than usual. The night before the procession (yoiyama) and the night before that (yoiyoiyama) the carts are lit up and millions of people go to see them. There were also tonnes of food stalls (yatai) and people in summer yukata so it was a really cool experience of the 'festival' atmosphere. However, if you're not a fan of crowds, be warned: literally millions of people visit the Gion Matsuri. 
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Friday, 3 February 2017

Bunraku: Traditional Japanese Puppet Theatre


Another trip I was so lucky to go on last year was to see Bunraku theatre in Osaka. Bunraku  (or ningyo jyoruri) puppet theatre actually originated in Osaka, so we went with uni to see a performance. The performance we went to was especially for school children- there was an explanation of Bunraku at the start which was really interesting. Like Kabuki, Bunraku was interesting but quite heavy going. The language was old and quite hard (there were even subtitles for this performance) and most of the Japanese school kids in the audience fell asleep. Our teacher told us that it's quite common for people to fall asleep during the long kabuki performances, and I guess the same is true of Bunraku. 
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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Wagashi making and visiting temples in Kyoto

Wagashi making and visiting temples in Kyoto

Another trip I was super lucky to go on with Osaka University was making Wagashi- traditional Japanese sweets-  at a shop called Kanshundo in Kyoto. The staff were really friendly and helpful- and really skilled so they made wagashi making look super easy (it wasn't). But it was really fun. After that, we had some free time to visit a couple of temples including the famous Sanjusangendo and Chishakuin. 
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