The Ninja!

This is the ninja !

Many people who visit Japan are interested in " NINJA"
Maybe the first encounter of Ninja is in a movie or an animation film, isn't it?

Just a couple of years ago, the people who want to have such a special experience had to go to so-called Ninja village, for example, Iga Ninja village or Koga ninja village.
But I have good news !

You can enjoy Ninja workshop in KYOTO !
It is in the building in downtown. in Kyoto

When you enter the room, the real descendant of Iga ninja will welcome you with a smile.

 Though he is the sixth generation of Iga,  he said he was born in an ordinally family. He learned everything about Ninja from the other instructor of Ninja.

According to him, he says he is the sixth generation but he has older generation  but he could not make sure.

Please look his finger and you will see something on his finger This is for attack.
The movie usually exaggerates the action of the ninja, but basically they work for collecting the necessary information for their lords.
Almost all the weapons were used for protecting themselves when they were attacked or their secret mission was found.

These are something like spikes. You can easily imagine it is very hard to walk on them.  They are natural seeds and completely dried. I touched them and found it  very hard, Of course I don't want to walk on them

He is throwing Ninja stars

Can you find one sword different from the others?
Samurai sword is a little bent to fight in an open space to cut somebody
However, Ninja's weapons are used in various ways, making most of them. For instance, the one on the top of the shelf  is not bent. and has a square  brim.
The brim is used to step on  for climbing the wall. in addition to protecting their hand
The tip of the sword case can be taken off, and used for the breathing tube when in the water.
The string can be used for wielding to intimidating and securing the space between him and the enemy.

In this way, you can enjoy the several ways of lesson or experience there.

When we left there, answering my question, he said
The ninja worked on a family unit basis. They are something like  contract workers in this modern society 
For their contract, they showed loyalty to the lord for the future business. And all the samurai lord hired ninja to collect information and use for strategy in the war.
I have seen the scene in which a ninja jumps onto the roof or jumps off from the high wall.
The sixth generation said, in those days, people did not train themselves to jump higher or in the way ninja did. So when the people saw the ninja leaping off from the top of the wall, it looked like a superman ! It is really persuasive 

Ninja Dojo


Zen cuisine

There are some zen cuisine restaurants in Kyoto
But my recommendation is this!!

This is the entrance.

You will have zen cuisine in a private room.
The dish is served one by one.
You will have a quite atmosphere just enjoying the nice cuisine.

Please walk this path to the entrance door


This is the entrance

deep fried vegetables

This is not daikon but potato, can you see/

Please enjoy dinner while enjoying the flowers outside

This is made of sweet potato and somen noodles

All served here is made from vegetables
The soup is also taken from seaweed, Kobu.

Kanga-an( 5 min walk from the station Kuramaguchi, Karasuma line )
Reservation is required ( from 2 people )
lunch 5000 yen / person


Yes, I will go to Kyoto!! ( the CM film broadcast in Japan)

There are famous CM films for advertising Kyoto.
It really shows the beauty of the ancient city and attracts many people.
Actually the places used in the film in the year is very crowded with Japanese tourists in the year.

But I still love this film.

Now the summer version is broadcast in Tokyo and the other area.

Along the film, the narrator says as below

Attracted by the winds and the greenery,
Where should I go?
When I can't make up my mind, I always open the guide book for Autumn.
That's because the sightseeing spots for Autumn leaves are also the ones for fresh green maples.
I can say it's a clue for the  early summer trip to Kyoto
Oh, I have told you my secret tip of travel.

The places used in this film is Eikando temple, Manshuin temple, Yasaka pagoda, Shirakawa and Tofukuji Tsuten bridge.

Why don't you visit there in early summer?



If you have one more day to stay in Kyoto and are interested in seeing a scenery different from the ones in the temples in Kyoto city, why don't you visit Ohara area?  Sanzen-in, which is the most famous, welcomes your visit.

 Sanzen-in began its history as an accommodation of the monks who trained themselves in Enryakuji temple in Mt Hiei, founded by Saicho, or Dengyo Daishi.
After twist and turns, the temple moved here, Ohara area, in 1871.
In the moss-covered garden, you will find tiny stone statues with their faces showing  from the green moss. The garden was created making the most of the scenery of the mountain foot.

In the center of the moss garden, you will find Amida-hall, in which a statue of Amitabha and its following Bodhisattvas( or Bosatsu ) of Seishi and Kanon welcome you.
Since the second son of Emperor Horikawa came to be a monk of this temple, this temple has been one of the three Monseki jiin temples in Kyoto.
( Monseki-jiin ----  a member of Imperial family became a monk of.the temple )


From Kyoto station or Demachi Yanagi station : Kyoto bus  to Ohara
10 min walk from the bus stop
700 yen


zen meditation

One of the things you may think you should experience in Japan is Zen meditation.
Then, what is zen meditation?
According to the monk in a sub-temple of Tenryuji temple, who speaks English and gives you zen meditation in English,, "In a word, Zen meditation is a matter of balance and regulation"

"We regulate the body, we regulate the breath, and we regulate the mind. When body, breath, and mind have come into a state of harmonious balance and deep inner tranquility, we naturally awaken to our pure original spirit and realize the true value of our existence"

I joined Zen meditation there.
The monk told us to set our legs crossed. When we do so, my back stands straight. When my back is straight, he told me to try to breathe out slowly counting number, one... two....three...
Then breathe in slowly controlling our breath.
Soon, I could hear birds singing, the wind blowing. I tried not to think anything, Just listening to the natural sounds

Curiously, my mind was becoming peaceful and calm.

Someone says a zen garden reflects your state of mind. Facing the garden, after closing your eyes and trying to set your mind calmly, when you opened your eyes, the garden will be felt differently.

Why don't you try it?


Bishamon-do ( my favorites)

Bishamon-do is not well-known to foreign visitors. But it's located just one station away from JR Kyoto station.
In Autumn, the maple leaves show a beautiful scenery to the visitors.

Bishamon-do is dedicated to Bishamon-ten It is also called Tamon-ten, when it is set as one of the four guardian Deities protecting in each direction.
So when it is Tamon-ten, it plays a role as a guardian and when Bishamon-ten, it is  a deity of the wealth.

And it is said that it was too rich, and the money was too much to spend, So Bishamon-ten burned the money. One day, Bishamon-ten decided to give to people to save them( according to the monk.)
That's why Bishamon-ten is called a deity of the wealth.

This is also one of the five monseki-jiins, where a member of Imperial family or of high ranked court nobles became a monk
So the main hall used to be a residence of Emperor Kosei and was moved to here.

Another must-see things here are tricky pictures  When you walk in a room there, you will find many pictures depicted on the sliding doors.

At first, the dragon on the ceiling welcomes you. Please keep your eyes on the eyes of the dragon and walk slowly, and the eyes will follow you.

Then the next room, in the pictures, two men were sitting at the table. Please walk slowly from one corner to the other keeping your eyes on the table, and the length of the table will change.
In the other room, the carp in the wooden screen watches you. Please walk slowly with your eyes kept on the eyes of the carp, and the eyes will follow you too.

The garden welcomes you quietly.

The lucky charms with a centipede is available here. Centipede is said to be a messenger of Bishamon-ten.  If you attach the cham above a door or an entrance of your house, money or wealth may come.

Many maple trees wait for your visit.

 admission : 500 yen
    the nearest station JR Yamashina
                                 Yamashina  ( subway Tozai line )


Komyo-in ( my favorites)

Even in the crowded season when Kyoto attracts many visitors, Komyo-in temple doesn't change its posture.

This is one of the sub-temples in Tofukuji temple. It is also called the moss temple in the east.
The garden was designed by Shigemori Mirei, who is one of the greatest garden designers in modern time. The characteristics of his garden is "standing rocks"

The white sand represents the ocean, standing rocks shows droplets of the waves from the ocean.

The garden's name is " Hashin-no-niwa" the literal translation of which is the garden of the mind of waves.

This garden tells you that, without worldly desires, the moon ( your mind ) will be reflected on the water surface.

There are three sets of three stones which represent each Buddha, such as Buddha Amida, Buddha of medicine, and Sakyamuni.

The garden can be viewed from the tea house and shoin room as well as the main hall.

I was was there at the high season for Autumn leaves, The main temple, Tofukuji temple, which is very famous for its bridge from which you can view a beautiful Autumn leaves covering the valley, was so crowded with visitors. but here just a little out of the main precinct, you will find  quietness and want to stay longer here.

Komyo-in temple ( sub-temple of Tofukuji temple )
nearest stastion : Tofukuji (JR ) 
                             Tofukuji or Toba kaido ( Keihan line )
                             TOfukuji ( city bus )