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.

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