Welcome to My Kyoto Photography

A collection of photos of Kyoto, the city of a thousand temples

by Patrick Hochner

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Taking photos of an event, Gion Matsuri

Taking photos of any event in Kyoto obviously requires some planning. During almost the whole month of July, the Gion Matsuri keeps us busy with numerous events, ceremonies, and other happenings. Some of these are more interesting than others from a photographic point of view. Here is how I took a few photos of the "Naginata-hoko Chigo Shasan" ritual that took place in the Yasaka Jinja Shrine.

Boutique

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Photographer’s Guide to KYOTO

This 94-page e-book gives you the best and broadest coverage of Kyoto's most photogenic locations. The book includes a chapter on the Bucket List locations followed by chapters on different regions. The book includes over 100 photographs, maps, suggested itineraries and planning essentials, as well as photographer-specific details and insider tips on photographic challenges and opportunities at the more than 40 locations introduced.

Shrine

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Plum Blossom at Kitano Tenmangu

The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built over 1000 years ago in honor of Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and politician who represented the middle Heian period (794 AD – 1185 AD). This is the very first shrine in Japanese history where an actual person was enshrined as a deity.

Temple

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Jingo-Ji Temple in Takao

Takao is a thinly populated, mountainous area with three historic temples along its forested valley, a one-hour bus ride north of central Kyoto, and a perfect day trip outside the city. Worth a visit at any time of the year, Takao becomes most popular during the autumn leaf season, which usually peaks around mid-November.

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Heavy rain over the Hanamachi

We have just spent a couple of days with a typhoon and therefore a lot of rain. This remained me of a photo I recently captured of Maiko Kikusana protecting herself from the rain with a traditional Japanese Wagasa umbrella in one of Kyoto Hanamachi or Geisha District. 

Naginata Boko float, Gion Matsuri

The Naginata Boko float is the only one having a real child as a divine messenger (chigo) on board along with two child-ministrants. Since ancient times, this float has never drawn lots to decide its position and is always leads the procession.

Hanami Party, Maruyama Koen

In Japan, Spring is a very special time for everybody. Sure, it's first and foremost the season of Cherry Blossom. But it's much more than that. It's in April that most businesses start their fiscal year. It's in April that all schools or universities start. And of course, it's in April that the nature cycle restarts, with flowers popping out of trees everywhere.

Kaiseki Cuisine

The rice is the last dish of a Kyo Kaiseki dinner (Kyoto Haute Cuisine). As usual, it is perfect, first visually and then with its flavor and taste. A dinner at Mitsuyasu is always a wonderful discovery!

Higashi Otani Mantoe Festival

Obon (お盆) is the Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to their family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves.  During this time, the ancestor’s spirits are supposed to revisit the household altars.

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