The Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is located in Yamato-ooji Douri, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture.
The shrine honors the gods Yaekotoshironushi-no-ookami, Ookuninushi-ookami and Sukunahikona-no-kami.
It was reportedly built at the current location in 1202 by Yousai, the founder of the Rinzai Zen School and it was intended as a guardian shrine to protect Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple.
The shrine is one of the Three Greatest Ebisu Shrines in Japan which are thought to bring prosperity in business. The shrine is commonly called “Ebe-ssan”.
Bamboo is a symbol of the Ebisu beliefs and visitors receive amulets and lucky charms with bamboo motifs. The association with bamboo began at the Kyoto Ebisu Shrine and it spread to other Ebisu shrines. Bamboo grows straight and upright. It also has an elastic trunk and it does not break easily. Moreover, bamboo leaves do not change color or fall off the stem. The leaves remain fresh and green all year round. These characteristics made bamboo the symbol of family prosperity and success in business.
The Ebisu Festival, held every January 8th through 12th, is a busy and lively event filled with visitors who celebrate until well after midnight.
The Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is, along with the principles of the Ebisu beliefs and the Seven Lucky Gods, well rooted in the hearts of and loved by the local people.
Genbee Yamaguchi is one of the most respected kimono makers. In 1981, he became the head of “Kondaya”, a long-established wholesale store of obi sashes that was founded in Kyoto in 1738. As the tenth head of Kondaya, he devoted himself to advancing obi making. His recent works, however, have been more involved in designing and making the whole kimono. He also takes an active role in revitalizing the dyeing and weaving technologies through such measures as the revival of Koishimaru - a specific type of silk worm cocoon found in Japan and the preservation of a unique village in the Philippines called “Dreamweaver”. In 2003, Yamaguchi received the Japan Culture Award. After successful collaborations with Kengo Sumi, an architect, and Hiroko Koshino, a designer, he released a new kimono line called Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu, in collaboration with UNITED ARROWS, a specialty retailer. It is an exciting and bold kimono collection for men.
Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu is inspired by the men of the Momoyam period (approximately 1568 to 1603) who loved to live a wild and flamboyant life-style. Japanese men in those days were respected as the toughest of the world. Kabukimono is expressive of that type of man who pursued an extraordinary and “cool” life style. The fashion of Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu evokes masculinity and the true “rock and roll” spirit of the time.
“If you keep on pursuing the basics, there will be a moment when you will suddenly see limitlessness revealed to you, as once Zeami (the greatest playwright of the Noh theater) said. Mastering the basics is the shortest road to freedom”
The vital life force and sexiness in Yamaguchi’s designs come from the inner depth of his creative process.
The boat ride down the Hozu-gawa River is a 16 km, 2 hour journey through the mountains in Kyoto, from Hozu-cho, Kameoka City to Arashiyama, Kyoto City.
During the time that Nagaokakyo was the capital city of Japan (784~794), Hozu-gawa River was used to transport goods downstream to the Kyoto and Oosaka areas. It was in 1606, however, that the river was formally developed and utilized as an industrial waterway, due mainly to the efforts of Suminokura Ryoukai, who used the river to transport such local products as timber, firewood and charcoal from the Tanba region to Kyoto.
This river trip is now known, even in other countries, as the best boat ride in all of Japan.
The narrow winding course of the river produces many rapids and rocks of various shapes stud the river, providing a challenge to those steering the boats. During the trip, riders can also enjoy the echo of the paddles, sounds of the bush warbler in the valley and a chorus of kajika frogs in the summer.
With such seasonal scenic wonders as cherry blossoms, rock azaleas, lush green leaves, colorful autumn leaves and snowy landscapes, the ride down the river is pleasurable all year around.
Toto-Awase is a memory game in which the players have to match two cards to create a complete fish illustration and the kanji character that represents the name of the fish. Each card also has a brief description of the fish depicted. These fish are all familiar species in Japan and their illustrations have been beautifully done with colorful paper patterns. The game was created by Toto Koubou in Tango Uocchikan Aquarium, located in Miyazu City, Kyoto.
Since its début on the market in the Spring of 2003, Toto-Awase, with its beautiful illustrations, has gained popularity. The game has the added benefit for children of teaching them the various fish species and their respective kanji characters. The total sale of Toto-Awase games has now exceeded 100,000. The game received a Good Design Award in 2005 and a Good Toy Award in 2006. Currently there are eleven different sets of the memory game according to different regions. The illustrations are elaborate collages with colorful papers of traditional patterns and the box containing the cards is decorated in vermillion and ultramarine - the quintessential colors of Japan. An English version is also made under the name “Card Game Sushi Bar” and it is popular as a souvenir for people to bring abroad.
Kaiko no Mori, located in Uzumasa, Kyoto, is officially called Konoshimanimasu-amateru-mitama Shrine. It is also affectionately known as Konoshima Shrine by the local people.
It is believed that this shrine was built in the year 604. Kaiko no Mori, which means “silkworm shrine”, was thought by Hatashi, an expatriate from the Korean Peninsula, to be the location of the deity of sericulture, or silkworm raising and also the deity of the textile industry. The shrine was burned in a number of wars and the current structure was most likely restored after the Meiji period.
In the west of the shrine is a spring-water pond called Mototadasu Pond. In the middle of this pond stands a torii called Mihashira Torii. Torii are large gates, erected at the entrance to Shinto Shrines or other sacred places. The Mihashira torii has an unusual design and it is considered one of the “Kyoto Three Torii”. It has three columns and it looks triangle-shaped from above. In the middle is a holly seat where the spirit of the deity sits. The origin of the torii is not known, but the current torii is thought to have been built in 1831.
Kaiko no Mori still has many followers especially from the silk-reeling industry. It is also worshiped as the location of the guardian deity of the town.
Matsuage Torch Lighting Ritual is a fire festival held in August in Hirogawara, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto to pray for commemoration of the souls of ancestors as well as for fire prevention and rich harvest. It originates in the tradition of bonfires offered to the deity of fire on Mt. Atago in the western part of Kyoto. Later it was introduced to the nearby villages by mountain practitioners.
In Matsuage (hurling up) ritual, 1,200 torches are set on fire one after another. The flames of the torches spreading in the darkness are overwhelming. Then at the sign of a drum and gong, men began to hurl up burning torches at mass of dry grass called “Ogasa” fixed atop the 20 m tall pole called “Torogi” made of Japanese cypress wood. As they hurl them up, they twirl them many times to give momentum and leave multiple of circular trails of fire, which is very fantastic. The climax is when Ogasa is set on fire and the Torogi is pulled down to the ground. Numerous fire sparks beautifully soar up into the dark sky.
Kyo-Gawara is a roof tile mainly used for shrines, temples and tea-ceremony houses in Kyoto. A smooth surface and distinctive gloss are the characteristics of Kyo-Gawara. The glossy surface is drawn out by polishing a raw kawara a number of times with a pallet, one by one by hand.
In old days, the products were classified into the four ranks by the finesses of polished surface; Hon-Usu, Migaki, Mizunade and Nami, each of which was used for different purposes. Hon-Usu, which had the finest surface, was used for the front side of the house, while Nami for the back side. Presently, only Migaki can be made due to the availability of the material clay.
Kyo-Gawara features the difference in the ratio of length and width from that of the products in other areas. It is also thicker than any other kawara products. This difference in dimension gives distinctive beauty to Kyo-Gawara.
At present, artistic works including Oni-Gawara and Shoki statues are being made of Kyo-Gawara material.
Japanese boxwood combs are not simply tools for the coiffure but also hair ornaments for women. Combs have an ancient history in Japan. They are depicted on ancient clay tomb figures of the Jomon Period (up to 200 B.C.), and a boxwood comb is referred to in a poem in the Manyoshu. Boxwood combs became objects of luxury; some are beautifully carved and others are decorated with Makie (gold and silver sprinkling). They have been flattered women’s beauty all through the times.
Boxwood combs attract special attention in these days as effective hair care tools, for they don’t produce static electricity, they don’t cause split ends or hair breakage, and their strokes are smooth and gentle.
In Kyoto, the production of boxwood combs started in the Heian period (794-1192). Because softness and gentleness of boxwood are ideal not only to human scalps but also to many traditional handicraft materials, boxwood combs are used as tools for producing wide variety of craft products typical to Kyoto such as Tsuzure-ori (tapestry weaving) in Nishijin and Kyo-dolls.