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February Event Highlights 2017
See, touch and experience the Old Capital - What's on this month!
*Time, dates and information of events are subject to change.

Pick Up Event 1

Getting Rid of Misfortune & Welcoming Spring

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

February 3rd, which is one day before Risshun (the first day of spring according to the lunar calendar), is called Setsubun in Japan. It's not a national holiday, but is widely celebrated throughout the country. Mame-maki (bean throwing) ceremonies are performed on the day. Traditionally, people throw roasted soy beans throughout their home, shouting ''oni wa soto'' (demons out) and ''fuku wa uchi'' (fortune in). These beans are called fuku mame (fortune beans). It is believed that people will be healthy and happy if they eat the number of fuku mame equal to their age. Bean throwing ceremonies are held at many temples and shrines around the country. People visit to get beans and thus obtain good fortune. Visit shrines and temples near you in Kyoto on Setsubun!

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Feb. 2 & 3
Yasaka Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The ceremony starts from 13:00; Auspicious soy bean scattering, ama- sake (Japanese sweet sake) service and amulet offering; On these two days beautiful maiko from all four of Kyoto's flower towns will visit this shrine and scatter beans (dance from 13:00 & 15:00).

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Gion; Tel: 075-561-6155; www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp

Feb. 2 & 3
Suga Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

From 15:00 on the 2nd, the bean scattering ceremony will be held; A unique charm like folded paper which used to be a love letter in old times will be distributed by men wearing ancient Heian era costume (1,000 yen).

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kumano Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-771-1178.

Feb. 2-4
Yoshida Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This is the largest Setsubun festival in the city; Attending is believed to help in warding off misfortune; During the event people come to burn old amulets, papers and other personal possessions in a huge bonfire; A number of food stalls lined up along the approach to the shrine are open until very late; The Setsubun ritual is from 18:00 on the 2nd; On the 3rd, the Karo-sai festival will be held from around 23:00 and its grounds will be packed with many people!

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Kyodai Seimon-mae; Tel: 075-771-3788; www.yoshidajinja.com

Feb. 3
Rozan-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

The temple's Setsubun ritual is known as Oni Odori (demon dance). The oni demon dance: from 15:00, and bean scattering from 16:00, old amulet burning from 17:00.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Furitsu Idai Byoin-mae; Tel: 075-231-0355.

Feb. 3
Heian Jingu Shrine

Kyogen performance: 11:30-14:00; Setsubun Festival: from 13:00; Auspicious bean scattering from 15:00; Setsubun bon fire: from 16:00; Free amasake (Japanese sweet sake) service (all day).

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #5, get off at Okazaki Koen Bijutsukan Heian Jingumae; Tel: 075-761-0221; www.heianjingu.or.jp

Pick Up Event 2

Feb. 19-26
Design Week Kyoto

''Design Week'' is an event popping up in more than 100 countries and regions in the world. Actually, it is more of a concept than the actual name of an event. It focuses on communication and exchange amongst all people gathering at various venues, for example, studios, factories, galleries, cafes, and even offices, sharing common interests and a passion for design, crafts, art, fashion, food, and more.

Needless to say, Kyoto has cultivated an array of sophisticated culture in its long history over the past 1,200 years. The most important concept of the Design Week Kyoto (DWK) is to enable everyone - from people working in Kyoto to short-term foreign tourist - to cross borders and get to know each other. Furthermore, it will be a flowerbed for the base of the new culture of Kyoto to flourish in the future.

During the DWK week, a number of factories and studios will be opened to the pubic throughout the city. People can visit studios and work places which are not normally open to the general public and engage in conversation with people working there. The entire city of Kyoto will become a ''Creative Theatre'' where people can have opportunities to share the stories behind the creations.

Someone said, ''To design is to foresee the future, not a near future but the one far away. To design or create something new is to contemplate if this new design can survive and stay useful even after 1,000 years.'' There is no other city in Japan that could be a more perfect venue to illustrate this concept than Kyoto. Here, we can meet a number of examples of innovative creations which have continued to inspire and be used for generations. They still exist and are the outcomes of what people who lived many centuries ago contemplated and created.

Be open and inspired in Kyoto through sharing stories and understanding a world lying just next to you whose doors are open for the first time. Joining DWK will reveal the stories behind the creations - by who, how, where, and with what waiting to be discovered and imparted.


Every Day
Hozugawa Kudari River Boat Ride

The Hozugawa Kudari is a river ride that goes from Kameoka to Arashiyama, Kyoto (about 16 km in 2 hours) along a stunning river gorge of rapids with wonderful mountain views; Boats depart every hour between 10:00-14:30 (the last boat departs at 14:30); No operation on Feb. 8 due to the maintenance work.

Tickets: 4,100 yen; 2,700 yen (4-12 years old); Access: An 8-min. walk from the north exit of JR Sagano Line Kameoka Stn.; Hozugawa Yusen Association: Tel: 0771-22-5846; www.hozugawakudari.jp

Fri., Sat., Sun. until Mar. 5
Kodai-ji Temple Night Time Tea Ceremony Tour

Kodai-ji Temple was founded by Nene, the wife of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, to commemorate his spirit; Visitors can enjoy a fine bowl of green tea overlooking an excellent Japanese garden; The tour includes tea ceremony, entry to the garden and a Japanese dinner (the tour lasts about 3 hours); Reservation required.

Tickets: 6,000 yen (reservation required by the previous day); Reception: 17:00-18:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus #206, get off at Higashiyama Yasui; Tel: 075-561-9966; www.kodaiji.com

Every day until Mar. 12
Winter Festival at Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Come and experience all kinds of ninja shows and trainings, including a powerful Ninja Show with 3D projection mapping; Also, visitors have a chance to learn a Japanese sword fight from the specially trained staff and there will be a ''Shriken (throwing star) throwing highscore contest'' every day until Feb. 22; Many more fun and exciting amusement attractions are all waiting for you!

Entry: 2,200 yen (Adults); 1,300 yen (13-18); 1,100 yen (3-12); 9:30-16:30 (until 20:00 on Sat., Sun. & nat'l holidays); Access: JR Sagano Line, Uzumasa Stn. or Subway Tozai Line, Uzumasa Tenjingawa Stn.; Tel: 0570-06-4349; http://www.toei-eigamura.com/

Feb. 1 & 3
Yutate Ritual at Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine

The holy water taken from the precinct will be boiled in a big iron pot and offered to the deity; A miko, a shrine maiden, holding a bamboo shoot will scatter boiling water from the large iron pot swiftly around the area, to dispel bad spirits and pray for good health for the year.

Admission free; Ritual starts from 12:00; Take cable car from Yawata Stn., Keihan Line; Tel: 075-981-3001; www.iwashimizu.or.jp

Feb. 8
Hari Kuyo Services for Pins & Needles at Kokuzo Horin-ji Temple

This temple enshrines the deity of needle work and entertainment; On this day, professional seamstresses and housewives stick their used needles in a slab of rubbery jelly; Prayers are said at 13:00; Ama-sake (Japanese sweet sake) will be offered.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #28, get off at Arashiyama Koen; Tel: 075-862-0013; www.kokuzohourinji.com

Feb. 10-13
Hatsu Uma Daikon Radish Ceremony at Sanzen-in Temple

A boiled white radish organically grown in the Ohara area will be offered to visitors free of charge on these days; Prayers for health and good luck will be offered from 9:00.

Entry: 700 yen; Access: Kyoto Bus #17, 18, get off at Ohara; Tel: 075-744-2531; www.sanzenin.or.jp

Feb. 11
Kigen-sai Festival at Kamigamo Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In the old days, the day was called Kigen-setsu and was the first regnal year of the Emperor Kanmu; This festival is to commemorate the coronation and a children's karate performance (from around 10:15) and an ancient style soccer game (from around 11:00) will be held in the precinct.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #46, get off at Kamigamo Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Feb. 11
Rice Porridge Offering at Jonan-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

On this day, to pray for health and longevity, rice porridge with seven different kinds of Japanese spring herbs will be offered (10:00-16:00; 500 yen per bowl).

Entry to the garden: 600 yen; Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Karasuma Line, Takeda Stn. to Jonangu Higashiguchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

Feb. 11
Hoshi Matsuri Fire Ceremony

This festival is held every year on Feb. 11th at Agon Shu's main temple grounds in Yamashina; The all-day ceremonies pray both for world peace and for the peace of both the living and deceased.

Admission free; 8:30-16:00; Access: Take bus at Kyoto Station, Hachijo-guchi exit, every 15 min., direct to site (about 20 min; 300 yen); Tel: 075-761-1141; www.agon.org

Feb. 12
Hatsu Uma Festival at Fushimi Inari Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This grand festival is held from 8:00; The festival is based on the legend that the shrine deity, Inari (protector of grains, especially rice, and thus wealth/business in general), descended from heaven to the top of Mt. Inari; On this day, people pray for success in business and a healthy family life.

Admission free; Access: JR Nara Line, Inari Stn. or Keihan Railways Main Line, Fushimi Inari Stn.; Tel: 075-641-7331; inari.jp

Feb. 18
Nento-sai Festival at Kamigamo Shrine

This festival is based on the recreation of an ancient ceremony that Heian-period aristocrats held to welcome spring; The ceremony starts from 14:00.

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #46, get off at Kamigamo Jinja-mae; Tel: 075-781-0011; www.kamigamojinja.jp

Feb. 18-Mar. 22
Weeping Plum Blossoms and Camellia Festival at Jonan-gu Shrine

In the shrine's vast Rakusui-en garden, more than 150 weeping plum trees create a beautiful contrast of red and white; Also 300 camellia trees will be in bloom in Feb. and Mar.

Entry: 600 yen; 9:00-16:00; Access: Kyoto City Bus Minami #1, 2, 3 from Subway Karasuma Line, Takeda Stn. to Jonangu Higashi-guchi; Tel: 075-623-0846; www.jonangu.com

Feb. 23
Godai Rikison Ninno-e at Daigo-ji Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

In this amazing competition, people compete to lift enormous mochi rice cakes; Men 150 kg, and women 90 kg- starting around noon.

Admission free; Access: A 10-min. walk from Daigo Stn. on the Subway Tozai Line; Tel: 075-571-0002; www.daigoji.or.jp

Feb. 23
Godai Rikisan at Juntei-do Hall in Sekizenin Temple

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

Sekizen-in Temple is one of the sub-temples of Shogo-in Temple; On just one day every year, Five Forceful Bodhisattvas are displayed to the public; Worship led by yamabushi (mountain hermits) held from 13:00; Free soup made from a sake lees base will be served.

Admission free; 9:00-16:30; Access: Kyoto City Bus # 206, get off at Kumano Jinjamae; 075-761-0541.

Feb. 25
Baika-sai Plum Blossom Viewing Festival at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine

© Takayoshi Horiuchi (Staff for one)

This huge outdoor tea ceremony (from 10:00-15:00), performed by the geiko and maiko, is very popular; Whipped matcha green tea and a sweet for 1,500 yen (including entry to the treasury hall); The beautiful plum garden here will also be specially open to the public from early Feb. to end of March (700 yen with tea and sweet).

Admission free; Access: Kyoto City Bus #50, get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae; Tel: 075-461-0005; www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp

Attention!! Expect major traffic congestion during the Kyoto Marathon on Feb. 19
Due to the Kyoto Marathon 2017, major traffic restrictions will be in place all over the city on Feb. 19th. Many large streets will be closed off during key stages of the race and this will severely affect travel in the city. Many key bus lines will either shut down or use alternate routes. If you are in the city that day, be sure to plan wisely!

Temple & Shrine Flea Markets

Feb. 5
To-ji Temple: This market is focused on antiques of all kinds; Usually not too crowded and great value all around; 7:00-16:00.

Feb. 8, 18, 28
Toyokuni Shrine: A very small market of local products; 10:00-15:00.

Feb. 11
Kyoto City Hall: A big public flea market; 10:00-17:00; In case of rain, it will be postponed to Feb. 26.

Feb. 15
Chion-ji Temple: Kyoto's biggest handicraft market; An absolutely amazing range of handmade things and incredible prices too!; 8:00-16:00.

Feb. 21
To-ji Temple: Also known as Kobo-san, this mega temple market offers everything and is extremely popular; Go early, especially if on a weekend or a national holiday; 8:00-16:00.

Feb. 25
Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine: Also known as Tenjin-san, this super shrine market sprawls in and around this major shrine complex; 7:00-16:30.

Feb. 25
Kyoto Okazaki Marche: Strictly selected authentic handmade goods will be sold at the open space of Tsutaya bookshop in the Okazaki area; 11:00-17:00.

Feb. 26
Kamigamo Shrine: Handicrafts, arts, food, and more; 9:00-16:00.

NOTE: Markets shut down much earlier in autumn and winter; when the days get longer and warmer, sellers tend to stay a little longer.