KYOTO IN EARLY SPRING (ATT.JAPAN ISSUE 33)
Higashiyama Hana Toro – a place of subtle and profound beauty
Kyoto is still cold in the first few months of the year, but the plum blossoms are starting to bloom showing spring is just around the corner. In March, an event known as Higashiyama Hana Toro (Lighting and Flower Lane) is held in the Higashiyama area as 2400 lanterns line a 4.6km north to south route linking Shoren-in Temple with Kiyomizudera Temple via Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine.
The lanterns along the way illuminate a number of ancient temples, old wooden houses and stone-paved streets with ‘ikebana’ (arranged flowers) displayed at several points. In Maruyama Park, approximately 1000 bamboo lanterns will be positioned beside the river running through the park to help create an atmosphere of subtlety and depth.
Geiko and maiko in the Gion and Kamishichiken areas will ride along in a rickshaw parade for area PR purposes on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during the period of the event. The route along which to spot these links to the past runs between Gion Kobu Kaburenjo; departed at 5pm, down Shijo dori Street and then west along to the Minamiza Kabuki Theater. At the Minamiza, they will turn east to head towards Maruyama Park before ending their jaunt at Kodaiji Temple.
“First held 5 years ago, Hana Toro is now a popular event held early each spring. Flower arrangement displays by members of the Kyoto Ikebana Kyokai, including an eminent master in the art are one of the must-sees. The ikebana arrangements displayed over the last six days of the exhibition differ from those displayed for the first six to enable repeat visitors an opportunity to enjoy both experiences. In addition to ikebana, five types of lanterns can be seen with one of the more popular types the stone lanterns of Ishibe Koji (a famous stone-paved alley).”
“Although temperatures are still relatively cold with rain or snow distinct possibilities, many shops and restaurants in Higashiyama and Gion remain open into the night, so after enjoying Hana Toro, why not warm your body and soul in one or more of the said establishments?” says Ms. Koshimura of the Hana Toro office.
For the more spiritual, several illuminated temples and shrines in Higashiyama also stay open later during the period of the event.
Mar. 10th (Sat) – 21st (Wed), 2007 6pm – 9.30pm
Shoren-in Temple, Chion-in Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Kodaiji Temple, Entoku-in Temple, Hokanji Temple and Kiyomizudera Temple
For more information contact: Hana Toro Promotion Sponsors Office Tel : 075-212-8173
There are 5 kagai (a traditional entertainment area) in Kyoto and a number of maiko and geiko dance performances take place along these areas in the spring to coincide with the local cherry blossoms being at their peak. The Miyako Odori, a traditional dance performed only by the most skillful of artisans is particularly well known and much respected having been held in Gion now for more than a century.
Apr. 1-30, 2007
Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater
Tickets are sold in advance.
For more information: http://www.miyako-odori.jp