Day 6 Kyoto,Kyoto!

Yesterday we visited some temples near our hotel, including Kiyomizu Dera. I think it's one of the most famous temple in Kyoto and its picture is often used for postcards. It is really a nice Temple and you have a great view down on Kyoto.

Kiyomizu Dera Tempe

We got there via some beautiful streets with old buildings and many nice small shops which sell japanese pottery, sweets and things for tourists. We also saw two Ghibli Stores.
And we saw some Maiko Henshin- Girls who pay to be dressed up like a Maiko- some pretty good with nice kimono, some less good but all with very nice makeup.

In the evening we walked around Gion and Miyagawacho and saw the following Maiko and Geiko:

All in normal kimono going to ozashiki


All in full kimono makeup and wig

Yukako - on her day off

I stilldidn't dare to take a picture but enjoyed the moment as they walked by.

Evening Impression of Miyagawacho


Nara/ Osaka Castle / Kyoto

We left Nara yesterday pretty late. We walked back to the main station and had a short look at the five storied pagoda.

Pagoda in Nara
After that we took the train to Osaka where we visited the castle. To our great dissapointment it was only very interesting from the outside. On the inside there was everything new with a big exhibition explaining the history of the castle. Not uninteresting, but not what we expected.

Castle in Osaka
We took the train to Kyoto then, where we searched for our hotel which is located in the middle of Miyagawacho in an old house beside teahouses.

We saw our first Maiko already this evening. It was such an amazing moment. We moved inside the mainstreet of Miyagawacho and on our left she came up to us very slowly. I bet she saw my camera and thought I wanted to take a picture. I only greeted her in japanese and she greeted back very friendly before turning into another steet. I had weak knees and my heart was fast beating!
She was so beautiful and although I have seen thousands of pictures of them on flickr already you cannot compare it with a real meetup on the street.
I searched for her name and I think she could have been Maiko Fukumari.
Later I have seen more geiko in normal kimono among them Fumiyuu.

Poster advertising Gion Odori
We made a walk through Pontocho and a Part of Gion Kobu also. In Pontocho we saw two Maiko on a veranda entertaining guests.
Shop Entrance in Pontocho

Teahouses along the Kamogawa River

When we returned to our Ryokan we heard the Sound of a shamisen played beautifully in the house beside our Ryokan. We listened for a while and noticed that the cat of the neighbours was watching us through a small window ^v^

Neighbours cat


Meeting the Deer - in Nara

We travelled from Tokio to Nara via Kyoto yesterday. Travelling with the Shinkansen was an adventure since we didn't make a seat reservation before, so we had to search for a free seat but at the beginning of our ride we had to stand because there was none. Later we got the opportunity to sit down.

We arrived in Nara and had to search our Ryokan which was surprisingly far away from the main station. After searching for a while we found it. It was so worth the way we walked with our heavy luggage on the back.
The house where we stayed is about
100 years old and a classical japanese house.
The old lady that owned that house before was a teeceremony teacher and had her own teahouse integrated into her house. This was the part of the house were we slept. It was an amazing experience, though it got a little bit cold during the night since it was raining.

Entrance of the Backpackers Hotel Nara
Our Room  - The Room for Teeceremony

We had a great walk through Nara yesterday, visited a classical japanese garden, where there was free entry for visitors of foreign countries, and Todaiji Temple, which is the largest wooden building of the world. It's three Buddhas were really beautiful.

Japanese Garden

Small Buddha at Todaiji

The biggest of the three Buddha

And of course we meet the Deer, which are almost everywhere in Nara. They are so cute and beautiful. You can even pet them ^v^
But you have to be careful with food beside them. They are always hungry it seems and they can be a bit obtrusive sometimes.
Deer at Nara

We then visited another temple near Todaiji where you have a great view over Nara.

We had a great dinner in a local inn in Nara that evening.
Our Dinner


Day 3 / Administrative District/ Emperors Palace Garden and Aki Basho

Yesterday we woke up late, so we missed the chance to see the Rush hour in the Tokyo Subway :-(

So in the 'morning' we went to the emperors palace garden again. We only took some pictures of the outside since it was heavily raining and we didn't have very much time. I wouldn't have thought that everything is so big there. The walls were surely ten meters high.

Nijubashi and Big Gate
Afterwards we had a short walk to the administrative region and took a picture of the legislative building.

Legislative Building Tokio

Impression of a Tokio Park

Soon we took the train to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan where the Aki Basho took place.
Aki Basho is the big Sumo Tournament in Autumn which takes place in Tokyo. We had seats very far away from the middle, but could see everything. It was very interesting to see it in Real Life.

On our way to the Ryogoku Kokugikan
Entrance of the Sumotori
Tomorrow following Nara.


Day 2

Yesterday we went to theTokio SkyTree, which was opened in May 2012 and is the second highest building in the world.
Until then we had only used the subway run by the JR Lines which we can use free with our Rail Pass. But for SkyTree we had to take another subway, so we had to buy a ticket at the ticket counter. There are many different lines from different companys and our first try failed. ;-) We bought at the wrong ticketcounter.
Finally we made it right and arrived the SkyTree. It's an impressing building. There were many people visiting and we hade to wait in a long row to get our tickets, but everything was well coordinated and we waited about half an hour to get our tickets. They were a bit pricey though. 2000¥ for one ticket to the first platform and if you wanted up to the top another 1000¥ per person. But I would say it was very worth the money. The panoramic view was fantastic. Unfortunately it was a bit misty so we couldn't see Mt.Fuji.

Tokio SkyTree

Later we visited the Meiji-Jingu, the Meiji Shrine which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine was destroyed 1945 and rebuilt 1958. It is frequented by many people around the new years celebrations, but as we visited late in the afternoon almost no people were there. The atmosphere was magical.

The big Tori at the entrance
Inside the Shrine

In the evening we made a short trip to the garden of the emperors palace but soon returned to Akihabara since it became dark early (18:00).

In Akihabara we went through the streets with the electronic and Manga/Anime shops. We only spent about two hours there but you could spend days just watching. We also have seen some Maids in the streets advertising for the Maid Cafes.
You could really spend a lot of money there, but I resisted ;-) Saving money for Kyoto.
Electric Town Akihabara

Some Maids advertising  for their Cafe


Traveling in Japan

So yesterday we arrived with the A 380 in Tokio at Narita Airport after a flight of eleven hours.

Taking the train toTokio Main Station was not difficult, nor finding Akihabara Station which is near our hotel. And there the problems started ;-)
We needed about two hours to find our hotel. Some really nice japanese people helped us to find it. We are still very grateful!

We went to Shibuya and Harajuku already yesterday. The impressions were overwhelming. I have never seen a Town that can be compared with Tokio.

Loud, colourful, different than anything else I have seen in my life before.

Tomorrow following Akihabara, Meiji Shrine and Tokyo Sky Tree.
Hachiko at Shibuya Station

Sundown over Shibuya

A380 from Frankfurt to Tokio


"Natsu wa Hotaru"

"Natsu wa Hotaru" Video 1/3 a video by arumukos on Flickr.

Video by arumukos- san on flickr.
The dance after which my blog is named.
It's my favourite Maiko/ geiko dance.
It is danced only during the summer months.

夏は蛍の 灯火に 
Natsu wa Hotaru no Tomoshibi ni
短き夜半を くよくよと 
Mijikaki Yowa wo Kuyo kuyo to 
泣き明かしたる ほととぎす 
Naki akashitaru Hototogisu
仰げば 顔に はらはらと 
Aogeba Kao ni Wara wara t
あれ村雨が 袖打ち振りて
Are murasame ga Sode uchifurite
Yoi yoi, yoi yoi, yoi

Meaning of the lyrics:
In summer (Natsu), under the lantern of fireflies (Hotaru), a little cuckoo (likening to Geiko) weeps all short-night. Passing shower (Murasame) on her face when she looks upward, then she waves her sleeves.
yoi yoi yoi yoi

Translation also from arumukos-san.


Kitsuke Weekend/ Kitsuke Wochenende

Saturday afternoon kitsuke by Haruyuri
Saturday afternoon kitsuke, a photo by Haruyuri on Flickr.
Über Flickr:
I met a friend this saturday in munich for a small kimono meeting and a shopping tour.

I wanted to wear a Ro kimono to match the season, but the temperatures were really low, about 14 degrees so I choose an Awase kimono with an autumn pattern instead and a haori. I never wore this kimono and haori before and thought the combination of both is impossible, but now I think it could habe been worse ;-)
Since it was rainy I wore a plastic raincoat over it to protect it.

We had lunch at kitcho restaurant near Maximilanstraße. www.kitcho.de
Food was delicious and the staff very friendly, although communication in german was quiet difficult.

I have worn my shoes for the first time - they looked almost unused, but the material was old, so during the day the condition of it became worse.

Today I met with another friend to have lunch at a japanese restaurant near my hometown. I dressed her in one of my kimono - which was unfortunately a little bit to short for her, so the ohashori became very small.
I wore the same ensemble like yesterday but made some mistakes during dressing and my ohashori became to big...

Remember last years pic?
 Kitsuke at Osaska Restaurant 2011