Friends of IF – Culture, TOMOKO

Tomoko lives in Kyoto that is lsited as Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto by UNESCO , here’s Tomoko tell us about her city 🙂

In Kyoto, we have a lot of foreign tourists coming from all over the world.  As in other cities in Japan, there are a lot of things to see.  Today, I advise you to visit some temples or shrines in Kyoto, especially in spring.  Some of you might hesitate to do it for some religious reasons or think that they are so sacred that you should visit there just for a prayer.  These days you can find another way of enjoying yourself there.

I will show you some examples.  First, look at picture A.  You can see this flower arrangement and illumination in Yasaka Shine(八坂神社).  In March, you can enjoy HANATORO(花灯路=flowers and illumination).  Second, look at pictures B.  These pictures are taken in TOJI temple(東寺)(located near Kyoto Station and famous for its five- storied pagoda).  Every 21st  is an event called KOBOICH or KOBOSAN(弘法市), a kind of flea market. You can enjoy shopping there, such as Japanese antiques, foods, clothes(including old and inexpensive kimonos) etc.   Just looking around is enough fun.  Third, look at pictures C.  I took these pictures in DAIKAKUJI temple when I visited there to see KADOUSAI(華道祭).  The ceremony held by the learners of flower arrangement and you can take part in tea ceremony on the Japanese-style boat in the lake SARUSAWA(猿沢池).  On it, you can enjoy seeing cherry blossoms with Japanese tea and sweet.

Traditionally, religious places are deeply related to culture.  Visiting shrines or temples is one of the ways to know Japanese culture!

Picture A

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Pictures B

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Pictures C

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京都には世界中からたくさんの旅行者がいらっしゃいます。日本の他の都市同様、たくさん見るべきものがあります。今日は京都の寺社をぜひ春に訪れていただくことを皆さんにおすすめします。宗教的な理由でためらわれる方や神聖な場所だから祈りを捧げるために訪れるべきだと思う方もいらっしゃることでしょう。最近では違った楽しみ方もあるのですよ。いくつか例をご紹介しましょう。まず1つ目。八坂神社では3月に生け花やライトアップが楽しめます。2つ目。これは東寺で撮ったものです(東寺は京都駅に近く、五重塔で有名です)。毎月21日には弘法市というフリーマーケットのような市があり、日本の骨董品や食べ物、衣類(着物など、年代物ですが手頃な値段です)などショッピングを楽しむことができます。見て回るだけでも十分楽しめます。3つ目は華道祭で訪れた大覚寺で撮りました。華道を習っている人たちによって催され、猿沢池に浮かぶ船の上でお茶会に参加できます。船の上ではお抹茶と和菓子をいただきながら桜の花見も楽しめます。

伝統的に宗教的な場所は文化と深く結びついています。寺社を訪れることで日本文化を知ることができると思います。
Tomoko , Japan

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18 thoughts on “Friends of IF – Culture, TOMOKO

  1. Thanks Tomoko for taking us in this trip to Kyoto , I’m eager to visit each place that you described , however , I felt like I was moving between them and travel with your words and photos 🙂
    I liked tea ceremony actually the whole idea about Daikakuji temple, flowers , sweets , tea in a boat and the view of Sarusawa lake … it’s like a painting that is made by a lot of love & creativity … that is so spiritual whatever our background was , the comfort , calm , deep thinking or maybe going beyond thinking and happinese any religion or ceremony can spread is what gives it a great value among people even if they were from different cultures … waiting for more from you Tomoko 🙂

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  2. Arigato Tomoko for this wonderful pictures and introduction, I would love to visit Kyoto someday, and as an atheist myself, I like to know how other religions evolved throughout time, as it is -like you said- a cultural and historical things.
    I love Cherry Blossoms, and the Japanese way of designing gardens with the lakes and small and big green trees alongside a traditional Japanese house, it is interesting to get to know other cultures and their history, I am looking forward for more information 🙂

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  3. Hello Ghaythaa! Thanks for your comment. Yes, words and photos on the Internet or in books take us to anywhere in the world in an instant and help us to be connected with each other so easily. In fact, I am writing to you, Ghaythaa, living far away from here in Kyoto! Maybe that is why Mami started this site, and I am so happy to join in. See you next time, Ghaythaa!

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    • Hello Tomoko 🙂 you’re a joy to be around and thanks for your nice words , we’re so happy that we succeed in encouraging people from different cultures to share their interests , stories , thoughts and contact with others from all over the world through our site
      IFbooks is a real-world example of the harmony that could arise from two persons and from totally different cultures Mami & Ghaythaa two persons and one soul 🙂

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  4. Thanks for your comment, Katia. Each culture in each place has its wonderful features and I also want to know them. What I see or think is only one side of Japanese culture, but I hope it will be a motive for further mutual understanding among people all over the world. I am happy to hear you enjoyed my photos and got interested!

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  5. Hi Tomoko ,, I just keep getting back to picture A , it is just great 🙂

    I just like visiting temples and shrines,, these places are always close to my heart and they ‘in some how” bring peace to my mind .. maybe the beauty design or the cold air and sweet silence I always feel in such places .. I also liked Daikakuji temple ceremony 🙂

    thank you for the great trip between the lines 🙂

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    • Hi Nora. Thanks for your comment! You said these places “in somehow” bring peace to
      your mind, and I totally agree! Maybe, that is what these places are!

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  6. Hi Tomoko I’d like to thanks you for your interesting article. It’s very nice that you share with us piece of your culture. And it’s very exciting experience to hear about Kyoto culture from somebody who live there. I think you live in fascinating city full of spiritual energy.. Hmm.. Visiting temples or shrines is always interesting experience even for somebody who don’t be too religious I think.

    I love visit flea markets. Always you can find there interesting things with history, things with soul. Sometimes you can find real treasure. It was be nice to see flea market in Kyoto 🙂

    There are many, many thing from Japan which I’d like to try do: for example take part in real ceremony of tea 🙂 try dance Butoh or see art of flower arrangement.. I read somewhere about art of stone arrangement – I fascinated minimalism of this art. Watching for this is like meditation.

    Sometimes I can experience a bit Japanese culture in my city because near place where I live is a Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology http://manggha.pl/en/ in the near future I going to see “Contemporary Japanese Crafts” exhibition and I also think about taking part in sumi-e workshop…

    Echhh.. there are so many fascinating things to do, to see but also so little time for doing it..

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  7. Hi Stawek! Thanks for your comment! You taught me something Japanese, which I did not know well, like “stone arrangement”! In fact, some friends living in another country often tell me what even Japanese people do not know well, and it is so interesting. If you find something that fascinates you at Manggha Museum, would you tell me about it? I am looking forward to hearing from someone who talks about any culture in the world!

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  8. Hello, Tomoko! My name is also Tomoko same as you. Thank you for your new Kyoto I havn’t known. I want to go and enjoy illumination, tea ceremony and flea market. I’ve lived in Kyoto when I was only 4-5 years old. I went to a lot of places, e.g., temples, shrines etc. with my parents, but I don’t remember most of them. The only thing I remember is the big fired letter on the mountain at night “dai-monji yaki”. It was very impressive for even 4 years old girl. Tomoko, how do you think about “dai-monji yaki” ?

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    • Hi Tomoko 2 🙂 and welcome to IF I heard once that if two persons of the same name met together for the first time then it will be a sign of good luck 🙂 but there’s one condition that the younger person should give a symbolic present to the older one …so who’s the younger Tomoko 😉 …. after reading your comment I’m now so curious to know about these bonfires in mountain shaping letters ,please tell us more about this tradition

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    • Hello! Tomoko!! I guess you are almost as old as I am, aren’t you? Sometimes, Japanese names reflect what age we were born in. How about calling each other, like “Tomoko from Kyoto” or “Tomoko from ~”?
      Well, “dai-monji yaki”. To tell the truth, I always watch it on TV in my hometown. I saw it only once or twice, because it is difficult to see it unless we are in the higher place. At that time, I was in the building of University of Kyoto. Some people try to see it from the Kamogawa river, but it is so crowded every year. Still, it is impressive because this event is held to send the spirits of our ancestors off with fire. I like the idea that people treasure this tradition.

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  9. Pingback: Tell us the meaning of your name – IF

  10. Is that so? I’d forgotten that long time had already passed since seeing “dai-monji yaki”. When I saw it, there were no high buildings around the area and it’s no wonder Kyoto was modernized. Maybe I’m elder than “Tomoko from Kyoto”. I live in a city facing the sea and it is near to Kamakura that is also historical. But Kamakura is smaller than Kyoto and differnt a little. Because Kamakura was established by samurai.

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