Dec 30, 2013

Osechi, the traditional new year's food

Osechi-ryori are traditional Japanese New Year's foods. The tradition started in the Heian Period.
Usually dishes are put in the boxes called 'Jubako'  which resemble the bento boxes.

The dishes that makes up 'Osechi' each have a special meaning celebrating the New Year.
For example;
'Kuromame' , black soy beans, 'Mame' (beans) means 'health', symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.
'Ebi', skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce. It symbolizes a wish for a long-life.

It might be difficult to have a chance to eat Osechi unless you are invited to the family New Year's celebration by the local people. And there is getting less and less to prepare their own Osechi at home.
Major department store provide the mail-order service of Osechi. However you need to order earlier for the famous ones, usually it will be sold out by New year.

Dec 27, 2013

New Year's Events in Kyoto

Jan. 1-3
Obuku-cha New Year's Tea Service at Rokuhara Mitsu-ji Temple

A cup of green tea made with pure water taken on New Year’s Day will be served to visitors; It is believed that drinking this tea at the beginning of the year can prevent illness throughout the year; 9:00-17:00; 300yen; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kiyomizu-michi; Tel: 075-561-6980;

Jan. 2-4
New Year Calligraphy at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

The deity of Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine is Sugawara no Michizane, an important court officer as well as a gifted poet and calligrapher in the Heian period (794-1185); From 13:00 on the 3rd, kyogen comic theatre will be performed; People also come here during this period to write the first calligraphy of the year (50yen/paper; 10:00-16:00); Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; Tel: 075-461-0005;

Jan. 3
Karuta Hajime at Yasaka Shrine

At 13:00, fourteen women dressed in Heian period court costumes play karuta (a traditional Japanese card game introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century); Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Tel: 075-561-6155;

Jan. 4
Kemari Hajime at Shimogamo Shrinee

Kemari, a kind of football game dating from the Heian period (794-1185) is played here by men in court costumes starting at 13:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo-jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0010;

Jan. 7
Nanakusa Ritual at Gokonomiya Shrine

On this day, from 9:00, people come to the shrine to offer seven kinds of edible grasses (nanakusa) to the deity; After the ritual, rice porridge made with the seven grasses will be offered to visitors; Nanakusa-gayu rice porridge: 300yen; Access: Kintetsu Momoyama Goryo-mae Stn.; Tel: 075-611-0559.

Jan. 9-12
Gafu Bonsai Exhibition at the Miyako Messe

Over 1,200 bonsai dwarf trees will be exhibited. These trees have been carefully cultivated by famous bonsai specialists; 800yen; 9:30-16:30 (until 15:00 on the last day); Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae; All Japan Bonsai Association: Tel: 072-754-0481;

Jan. 15-31
Azuki-gayu Festival at Torin-in Temple in Myoshin-ji Temple

Kyoto people believe that eating red bean rice porridge (azuki-gayu) at the beginning of the year will prevent illness. Azuki-gayu is one of the vegetarian dishes regularly eaten in Zen temples; 3,700yen (plum tea, azuki-gayu, shojin vegetarian cuisine; reservations not required); 11:00-15:00; Access: JR Hanazono Stn.; Tel: 075-463-1334.

Dec 16, 2013

New Year's Eve Event at J-Hoppers KYOTO

 Here is a plan for our New Year's Eve at J-Hoppers Kyoto !

DEC 31st

18:30   Start to cook "Toshikoshi-Soba" (We are tempted to eat black wheat noodle during the last days of the year, based on our unique customary thoughts from the ancient times that we cannot finish up the old year without eating this. )

19:15   Start to eat with watching "Kohaku-Utagassen" (An annual music show. AKB48, Perfume, kyary pamyu pamyu...will be in the show!)

21:00   Walking to Tofukuji temple to get a number ticket and then ring "Joya-no-kane". (the ringing of the temple bell one hundred and eight times at about midnight on New Year´s Eve. It is believed to remove 108 worldly desires of human beings and purify the soul for the new year.)

0:00    We will disperse there as soon as you finish ringing the bell. If you still have energy, Why don't you go to Fushimi-Inari for "Hatsumoude" (First visit of the year to a shrine.)

We hope you will have a Happy New Year!


Dec 7, 2013

Spanish Bar "Santres"

If you have a plan to visit Japan or Kyoto, no wonder you would like to experience Japanese food. But would you spare even one meal to Spanish food? If you ever stay at Kyoto Hana Hostel, there is an amazing cozy Spanish Bar "santres" close from us:) Just 10 mins walk would give you a amazing dinner or a drink! There are lots of great non-japanese food restaurants in Kyoto actually you know..