Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Have you heard the riverside terrace during summer in Kyoto? Even for many japanese people who do not live in Kyoto, this riverside terrace is a fascinating place and event. The riverside terrace put is place from May 1st to September 30th, so, it will soon be held in the end of this month. It has still been a little humid in japan, but I feel several signs of autumn recently, so this event season reached its final phase…If you have a chance, please visit and enjoy it!


“Kawadoko” at Kifune area in kyoto

“Noryo-yuka” are the platforms that restaurants along the Kamogawa (the Kamo River) put up in the summer, extending themselves out to the river’s edge.  Noryou means, “Enjoying the cool evening” (amazing that Japanese has a word for that) and Yuka means “Platform” or “Flooring,” or more specifically in this case, a temporary wooden terrace, a deck. People in Kyoto call them “Noryo-yuka” or simply “yuka”.

The Kamogawa separates city Kyoto from the sublime, quiet Higashiyama (East Mountains) area. Their wooden floors, connected with restaurants, are built over the Kamo River from Nijo-dori St. to Gojo-dori St. in summer (from May 1 to September 30). The custom goes back to the Edo period (1603-1867).





above photos are “Noryo-yuka”

“Kawadoko” are similar platforms along the Kifune area and Takao area, and this Kawadoko has a relatively short history compared with “Noryo-yuka”.

Formerly, Most of the restaurants in Kyoto specialized in the country dishes. However, recently, they have diversified and internationalized; Chinese, Thai and Korean cooking. Now, a lot of first-class restaurants are open, and there are restaurants that we can enter in light-heartedly, too. Incidentally, please take notice Noryo Yuka not open in the daytime except May and September.

below 4photos are “Kawadoko”





History of Noryo-yuka

The riverside of the Kamo River had been an entertainment area for people of Kyoto since Nanboku-cho period (1336-1392). Enjoying the cool breezes of the evening flourished, especially in summer, and many performances were held in the riverbed of the Kamo River where the folding benches called “Shogi” were set up from Sanjo-dori St. to Matsubara-dori St. In the 27th year of Meiji period (1894), the wooden terraces, which some east riverside restaurants had owned, were pulled down due to completing the works of a canal. And Noryo-Yuka was quite abolished for some time due to opening a municipal streetcar because the Sijo-ohashi Bridge was rebuilt across the Kamo River in the last Meiji period.


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As I mentioned about the Chrysanthemum festival, people who celebrate it pray their health and longevity. 


Before, people who lived at the Imperil Court used to put raw cottons on the chrysanthemum in this festival eve( Sep. 8th night) to expose them to the night-dew for absorbing the dew. We called the event “kisewata” in Japanese. It means a flower wears a cotton.




Next morning, people patted their faces with the wet raw cottons. It is because they believed in the paranormal power of the dew like as the elixir of like which was possessed by the chrysanthemum power…



Of course, I think most of people in Japan don’t believe in the power, but a few things still linger in the Japanese tea ceremony or the Japanese art of flower arrangement.










These are Japanese confectioneries shaped the chrysanthemum with the raw cotton, confectioneries just shaped the chrysanthemum, and the modern flower arrangement.










People might pray their health through them in the present tme…could be.

I wish your health may continue “forever!!!”


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The ninth day of the ninth month was known as the “Choyo” Festival or the Chrysanthemum Festival.

It is influenced by the Chinese idea of regarding number 9 ( Sep.9th  is two 9s. the same lucky odd numbers is “Choyo“) as lucky day, so people who celebrate the festival drink sake with chrysanthemum petals on, eat rice mixed with Japanese chestnuts, and pray their health and longevity.


In Japan, there are many traditional and historical events through year, some of them are“ The five seasonal festivals”. These festivals were originally celebrated for driving away evil spirits at the change of seasons, then they were considered as Tokugawa Shogunate’s official events around 17th century.

The five seasonal festivals: January 7th-“Rice Porridge with Seven Herbs of Spring”, March 3th-“Girls’ Festival”, May5th-“Boys’ festival”, July7th-“Star Festival”, September9th-“Chrysanthemum Festival”.



Chrysanthemums originally came from China, but chrysanthemums and cherry blossoms are both considered typical Japanese flowers. The chrysanthemums were believed to be auspicious flowers denoting longevity and eternal youth, and they were used as medicinal herbs in China.


Painters in China and Japan preferred to paint the chrysanthemum, orchid, bamboo, and ume (Japanese plum) flower, which were regarded as the four noble flowers, drawing in India ink. The chrysanthemum is also closely related to the Imperial Family. A chrysanthemum crest is used as the Imperial crest. It is an open chrysanthemum with sixteen complete radiated petals. The Imperial Court used to hold a banquet for chrysanthemum viewing on the day of the Chrysanthemum (Choyo) Festival. Today, chrysanthemum doll exhibitions and chrysanthemum flower shows take place in many places throughout Japan around September 9th.




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