For companions of participants in the Kyoto Symposium, we have prepared an attractive local tour for experiencing Japanese cultures and visiting representative tourist spots in Kyoto. You will surely find the charm of Kyoto. We are looking forward to your participation in this tour.
“Inari” is an abbreviation of “Ine ga minoru” in Japanese, which means “Grain ripens.” It is the main shrine of approximately 30,000 Inari shrines all over Japan, which are believed to have the god of huge harvest, prosperous business, and safety of family. People of all ages go to worship there. The Fushimi Inari Shrine was dedicated to the gods of rice and sake by the Hata family in the 8th century, and because of change of industrial structure, the shrine has been believed to help with producing a lot of grain but also luck in business.
In the back of the main hall of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, there are more than 10,000 vermilion torii gates lined up along the approach. These are called “Senbon (Thousand) Torii” and are representative structures of this shrine. The torii gates are donated by individuals and companies, and the name of the donor and the date of donation are written on the back of each gate. The gates are dedicated as a thank-you gift to the main shrine from admirers who believe that their wishes will come true (that is, by passing through the gates). The price for a small gate costs approximately 400,000 yen, and a large gate costs more than 1 million yen.
There are also dozens of fox statues in this shrine. The fox is believed to be a messenger of the god of grain. A key described in the fox’s mouth represents the key to the storehouse where important things are kept.
We recommend you try to do “Omokaruishi (heavy and light stone).” Please make a wish in your mind in front of the lantern and then hold up the stone. It is said that if the stone is lighter than you expected, your wish will come true, and that if it is heavier than you expected, it will be difficult to realize it.
It has been more than 1,200 years since it was built in the current location, the east of Kyoto, and was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the cultural assets of Kyoto in 1994. It has been known as a pilgrimage site called “Kannon Reijo.” The main building is supported by 13-meter pillars from the sides of a mountain, so you can look down and view Kyoto city. Further, the Otowa waterfall in this temple is known as a spiritual spot that brings you good luck in terms of career, love, and longevity. This is why many people have been visiting this temple for years.
Around the entrance of Kiyomizu Temple and outside the charged area, there are various other temple buildings, such as a vermilion three-storied pagoda, a repository for sutras, large entrance gates, and the Zuigudo Hall that is dedicated to Buddha’s mother. In the Zuigudo Hall, you can experience the pitch-black basement that symbolizes a mother’s womb (with a small amount).
An approach to Kiyomizu Temple is also famous around the temple. There are many shops and restaurants for tourists and pilgrims for centuries along the approach, and you can purchase many products from local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, and pickles to general souvenirs.
Kyo-yaki is a general term for various types of potteries prepared in Kyoto. Tea ceremony has been popular for a long time, and a tea ceremony bowl has also been produced actively. Therefore, many artisans came from all over Japan and have spent enormous effort on manufacturing and developing the pottery. In particular, Kyo-yaki made by artisans with high-quality material in Gojo-zaka is called Kiyomizu-yaki, which has established the style of Kiyomizu-yaki.
ZUIKOU is located near the Kiyomizu Temple, and it has been approximately 250 years since it was founded in 1771. More than 10,000 people visit this trail in a year to experience pottery-making.
When you tell the staff what you would like to make (e.g., dish, cup), they will clearly explain how to do it (e.g., how to mold clay by adjusting pressure and the speed of the pottery wheel) to the end, and you do not have to worry about failure.
When you participate in Zuiko-gama’s pottery classes, you will be surely moved again by the beauty of Kiyomizu-yaki pottery and its traditional techniques. You can also buy Kiyomizu-yaki pottery made by the artisan there.
In this tour, you can make your own Kyo-yaki, and it will be sent to you later.